How best to describe how much fun John Waters’ Multiple Maniacs really is? Ultimately you’ve got to see it, to believe it. Starring the incredible Divine, David Lochary and Mink Stole, Multiple Maniacs brings together a team of crackpot characters, murder, sex and the best fifteen foot lobster to have ever graced the screen. A film that many have not seen, it was said to be lost for many years but a recent restoration has meant that audiences have been able to enjoy the obscenity all over again.
Lady Divine’s Cavalcade of Perversions is a travelling show; with gays kissing, hairy women and all kinds of drugs, they travel from town to town infiltrating the middle classes. The show is actually a cover for the fact that the group are all psychopathic maniacs, interested in making as much trouble as possible, stealing as much as they can and killing indiscriminately if they decide so. But the worst of them all is Lady Divine herself, larger than life and more depraved than anyone can think is possible – she will go out of her way to get what she wants and will destroy anyone she needs to.
When she finds out that her boyfriend, Mr David (Lochary) is cheating on her with Bonnie (Mary Vivian Pearce), Lady Divine decides that she must kill Mr David having caught him in the act – she wants the ultimate revenge. Along the way, Lady Divine has a moment of divine inspiration when visiting a Church, looking for direction. That direction comes in the form of Mink (an incredible performance from Mink Stole), a sexually promiscuous street walker who introduces Lady Divine to one of the best sexual experiences of her life (and one of the best captured on film).
One of the most fascinating things about Multiple Maniacs is the way that Waters captures Divine on screen. He clearly loves her and everything about her – the ways in which she walks, talks and desires. He takes his time to see her essence and isn’t afraid of what other filmmakers may not want to see; warts and all. The film truly gets under the skin of audiences and doesn’t let go until the ending (which itself is a truly cinematic spectacle).
It’s an experience, and cinematically an important one – we are truly lucky to have Multiple Maniacs back.