Title: Multiple Maniacs
Director: John Waters
Why the high-brow gatekeepers at Janus Films/Criterion decided to painstakingly restore John Waters' early pictures is anyone's guess. Waters’ second feature, Multiple Maniacs, is one of the most bizarre films you'll see in your lifetime. Very few people have seen it though, mainly because it received limited theatrical distribution and an incredibly quiet VHS home video distribution. Rated X upon release, this picture will make you feel really dirty.
Lady Divine (Divine) becomes enraged when her boyfriend cheats on her, and descends into a life of murder and mayhem.
Shot in low-contrast, frequently grainy black-and-white—Waters cinematic endevour...still doesn't look that great even when given a good restoration. Waters is happy with this however, as he likes that his film has a trashy look to it. Given that Waters has actually published a book titled Shock Value, you wouldn't be wrong to assume that Multiple Maniacs' attraction is purely shock value. There were many scenes where I just had to look away.
Unapologetic in it's WTF attitude in regards to what can and can't be shown onscreen, one must admire how far we've strayed from the Hays censorship code of the Golden Hollywood era. Multiple Maniacs is a film only John Waters could make. It isn't beholden to the conventional building blocks of narrative, such as character development or resolving a social problem. It doesn't have a moral compass and it can't easily be categorized and compared with other contemporary works.
If you've seen Pink Flamingos you may get a sense of Multiple Maniacs' style, but I assure you that nothing can prepare you for this film. I had a very hard time getting through it and can't really recommend it to anybody. Showing no restraint, Waters goes all out on depravity.