MULTIPLE MANIACS (1970) – The Dungeon Review!

multiple maniacs posters

John Waters has long been one of my favourite directors and it is a crime that Multiple Maniacs is only the second review I have posted for one of his films! I love the hell out of the cast of regulars that appeared in Waters’ early films. While I enjoy all of Waters’ films they were never the same after Divine died in 1988. Sadly, David Lochary (1944 – 1977) and Cookie Mueller (1949 – 1989) also shuffled off this mortal coil far too young. All three performers are featured prominently in Waters’ Multiple Maniacs. There are a million other reasons I love Waters’ films but primarily they make me laugh my ass off! John Waters has spoken openly about his influences among them Russ Meyer, Otto Preminger, Pier Paolo Pasolini, William Castle, George and Mike Kuchar and the great Herschell Gordon Lewis (His The Gore Gore Girls inspired my moniker). Multiple Maniacs’ title is a nod to Mr. Lewis’ Two Thousand Maniacs. At one point in Multiple Maniacs Lady Divine fondles some entrails and eats some human organ meat ala Lewis’ Blood Feast. Another reason John Waters has been on my mind was his appearance in the documentary It Came From Kuchar. A highly recommended documentary you can check out here (also check out my review for Sins of The Fleshapoids and My Kind of Story’s tumbler post of Mike Kuchar screen captures). I have enjoyed the hell out of the Mike and George Kuchar films I’ve seen thus far! To be honest, John Waters is never far from my mind; I re-watch Waters’ older films regularly! I think Multiple Maniacs is a rather underappreciated gem in Waters’ resume.

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Mutliple Maniacs follows Lady Divine’s descent into a complete and utter maniacal state. We meet Lady Divine as she performs at her Cavalcade of Perversions. The final act of Lady Divine’s Cavalcade of Perversions involves throwing a net over the audience and robbing them. Lady Divine has had enough of going through the hassles of putting on the show and her performers are getting on her final nerve; particularly her lover Mr. David. She receives a call from the owner of a local bar informing her that Mr. David is in the bar with a blonde. She heads to the bar post-haste but is raped in an alley by a couple of guttersnipes. As she lay writhing on the sidewalk the infinite Prague appears to her. She takes his hand and is lead to a Catholic Church. She ponders on the stories from the bible she recalled from childhood but is distracted by a woman who gives her a “lewdly religious glare”. The woman moves about the pews until she is finally sitting next to Lady Divine. Believing the woman to be part of her enlightenment Lady Divine allows the stranger to insert her rosary beads into her most private of parts. Refreshed by the experience she takes the woman home with her. Meanwhile Mr. David and his blond await Lady Divine’s appearance.

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Multiple Maniacs is an epic story filmed in black and white with a million scenes that make me laugh myself to tears. The reactions of the horrified white bread folk that show up for Lady Divine’s Cavalcade of Perversions kill me. Likewise the comments of Lady Divine’s performers while looking through the stolen wallets; “What ugly children they have!” The first scene that pops into the mind of those who have seen Multiple Maniacs is Divine being raped by Lobstora (a giant lobster!); and there is no two ways about it, that scene is definitely a memorable one. My personal favourite segment however is the infinite Prague/Church bit, I just love me some offensive religious imagery! There are all manner of references to popular culture and headlines from the period; Cookie is screwing a member of the Weather Underground, Lady Divine has Mr. David convinced that he killed Sharon Tate, and while contemplating celebrities they would like to kill they mention Ann-Margret, Patricia Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Barbra Streisand. Have I mentioned there is gore?! I could go on and on but to summarize I freaking love Multiple Maniacs.

multiple maniacs22Mr. David playing the master of ceremonies attracting patrons to Lady Divine’s Cavalcade of Perversions. “What you will see inside of this tent will make you literally sick; we’ve got it all and we show it all.”

multiple maniacs21One of the shows “perverts”.

multiple maniacs24This guy eats his own vomit.

multiple maniacs11Appalled patrons of Lady Divine’s Cavalcade of Perversions. “She’s a dyke! Look at those tattoos!”

multiple maniacs2Lady Divine getting ready for the show. “Ricky! Ricky! Bring me something strong. Something I can get off on.”

multiple maniacs4The final act of Lady Divine’s Cavalcade of Perversions involves throwing a net over the audience and robbing them. “Quiet while I’m speaking! You will not be injured as long as everyone cooperates.”

multiple maniacs16Lady Divine’s daughter Cookie dancing topless in her bedroom.

multiple maniacs7Edith calls Lady Divine to tell her that Mr. David is in her bar with a blonde.

multiple maniacs6Mr. David and Bonnie discussing how they will deal with Lady Divine. “I love you so fucking much, I could shit!”

multiple maniacs5Lady Divine and her new friend Mink being hassled by a cop. “You’re talking to a lady! You better watch your language pig before I turn you into a piece of bacon.”

multiple maniacs3Multiple Maniacs ends with several people dead, Divine being raped by a giant lobster, the National Guard and Kate Smith singing God Bless America.

Bravo! Multiple Maniacs gets my highest of recommendations; a perfect score!!

Dungeon Rating: 5/5

Directed By: John Waters

Starring: Divine, David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce, Mink Stole, Cookie Mueller, Edith Massey, Susan Lowe, Rick Morrow, Howard Gruber, Paul Swift

10 Responses to “MULTIPLE MANIACS (1970) – The Dungeon Review!”

  1. This was so much fun. Can’t believe it took me this many years to watch this film. I was just telling a friend that it left me wanting to revisit “Female Trouble” and “Desperate Living” bad (I’m more familiar with Pink Flamingos in this early period). Though I’ve greatly enjoyed his more recent work, I do so love the early Waters gang.

    Thanks for recommending a great weekend of movies, and for sharing my post on Mike! 🙂

    • goregirl Says:

      I really love this one, Pink Flamingos and Desperate Living but I think my ultimate favourite is Female Trouble…but hell I give them all a 5/5.

      Pleased you enjoyed. I love Mike…I need to see more Mike!

  2. LOL @ ““I love you so fucking much, I could shit!”

    I need to use that line!!

  3. conradw58 Says:

    John Waters and his films are truly unique and fun. I love all the films he made with Divine, and I agree, the films that came after Divine’s death ,although very enjoyable in their own right , were not quite the same. The thing I love about Waters is he is a long time horror/science fiction/exploitation movie fan. He doesn’t take a holier than thou approach like some , and gleefully embraces the movies we enjoy so much. Awesome review as always , Gore Girl.

    • goregirl Says:

      Waters definitely walks to the beat of his own drum. I’ve read a few of Waters’ books and books about him and seen loads of interviews; he just charms the shit out of me. He is smart and funny as hell. I have The Pink Flamingos soundtrack and his Christmas album; I dig his taste in music! The Dreamlanders are all great too! I have a book written by Cookie Mueller called Ask Dr. Mueller…entertaining stuff! Actually I have a whole lot of Waters stuff kicking around this place. A Cry-Baby switch plate cover, a Divine (from Pink Flamingos) magnet. I think I like John Waters. You have impeccable taste Conrad!

      • conradw58 Says:

        Awwww , sure appreciate the kind words. I think you have exceptional taste as well so I’m in great company! I love to watch or read a John Waters interview. Also enjoyed reading about your collection of Waters related items! Very cool! : )

  4. And people think some of the Japanese films I watch are weird… Your love of John Waters is disturbing 😉

  5. […] See also Alfred Eaker‘s Multiple Maniacs review, Goregirl’s Multiple Maniacs image gallery on Tumblr, and the original (pre-Criterion release) Goregirl’s Dungeon review. […]

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