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USA 1972
Directed by
John Waters
108 minutes
Rated R

Reviewed by
David M Brown
4 stars

Pink Flamingos

Synopsis: Babs Johnson (Divine) is on a desperate mission to retain her title, the filthiest person alive. Aided and abetted by her hippy son, Crackers, and her egg-obsessed mother Edie (Edith Massey) she is at war with the new king and queen of the filth world, Raymond Marble (David Lochary), and his wife, Connie (Mink Stole). They are kidnapping young girls, artificially inseminating them whilst holding them hostage and selling their children to lesbian couples for a tidy profit. Babs counters this affront on her filthiness with cannibalism, incest, furniture-licking and murder then celebrates her victory with a lip-smacking snack!

Pink Flamingos gained notoriety for the film's justifiably-shocking finale where Divine, in one continuous take, licks her lips and eats freshly produced canine excretion. The scene is certainly hard to swallow but it's difficult to see why this display of faecal digestion was singled out amongst the rest of the depravity on show. What other film offers you a man with an elasticated anus, an obese egg-obsessed grandmother in a play-pen, forced artificial insemination, kidnapping, rape and sex with a crayfish this delirious catalogue of bodily abuse earned Waters the well-earned moniker, The Prince of Puke. Anyone who was introduced to his films via Cry Baby and Hairspray won't know what's hit them.

The cast of Waters regulars attack their roles, each other and the furniture with demented glee. Divine, David Lochary, Mink Stole and the bizarre Edith Massey all push the boundaries of taste to its limits but Waters injects his own inimitable style of humour into the mix. In his kitsch worldview the misfits who inhabit his films are the beautiful people we should look up to. The film became the benchmark for sleazy trash that even Waters couldn't reach again; despite trying hard with Female Trouble, Desperate Living and the scratch-and-sniff delights of Polyester.

Waters will never make another like Pink Flamingos. It's doubtful anyone will. It's amazing that a film made back in 1972 still maintains the power to disgust and appal to the extent of Pink Flamingos.




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