Tooling a hot apple pie is sort of icky. Using a gob of jism as hair gel is kind of nasty. Diving into a toliet bowl full of human offal and swimming around among chud and peanuts until you find your junk -- okay, that’s pretty sick. But American Pie, There’s Something About Mary and Trainspotting have nothing on the films of John Waters.
He is known both affectionately and disapprovingly as The Sultan of Sleaze, The Baron of Bad Taste, The Prince of Puke and who knows what else, but the nattily-dressed, pencil-thin mustachioed director prefers The Pope of Trash, a titled bestowed him by none other than William S. Burroughs. Over thirty-five years of filmmaking, Waters has disturbed and disgusted with his unique take on sex and suburbia. Although, he’s mellowed in recent years, Waters can still be as icky as ever -- the proof is in his hilarious new satire Cecil B. Demented’s pudding. Or for a refresher in retch, here’s Eight Really Gross Things from John Waters Oeuvre.
8. Polyester: Smell-o-vision
Hearkening back to the theatrical gimmicks of 1950’s film distributors, the ticket price to a showing of Polyester included a scratch-n-sniff Odorama card with smells coinciding with nasty moments from the film. The foulest being a queef. Um…ew.
7. Desperate Living: Buggin’ Out
In the same movie that features a dog munching down on a dork, a bevy of broads are fed live cockroaches. Nicolas Cage’s paltry bug snack in Vampire’s Kiss is so much noise compared with the smorgasbord of vermin feasted on herein.
6. Female Trouble: Transvestite makeovers
Beauty-obsessed salon owners Mary Vivian Pearce and David Lochary convince 300-pound transvestite Divine to mainline liquid mascara to enhance her natural allure. (This is just before she is horribly scarred with acid.) On paper it doesn’t sound nearly as groty as it plays out on celluloid, but it is truly rotten.
5. Mondo Trasho: Playing doctor
Mary Vivian Pearce and 300-pound transvestite Divine are kidnapped by evil scientist Dr. Coat Hanger who performs hideous medical experiments on the duo before finally amputating Pearce's feet and grafting chicken feet onto her stubs. While not nearly as heinous as 300-pound Marlon Brando in The Island of Dr. Moreau, this scene is nonetheless nauseating.
4. Desperate Living: Mighty Dog
Before Saddam Hussein’s dildo in South Park, before the gym teacher’s balls in Scary Movie, before Bruce Willis’ full-frontal jive in Color of Night, recently post-operative transsexual lesbian Susan Lowe had her brand-new penis severed with scissors and fed to a dog. Coincidentally, John Wayne and Lorena Bobbit were from the Baltimore area, but Lorena did not have a dog.
3. Pink Flamingos: The Singing A-hole
There’s plenty of things I’d prefer to avoid seeing up close -- dermatology training slides, napalm-strafing, Barbra Streisand -- but a three-minute-long extreme close-up of a man’s anus sphincter-syncing to cabaret standards is probably the top of the list. Thanks to John Waters, that image is seared indelibly in my mind’s eye, although it’s still not as icky as Ronald Reagan’s televised anal polyp surgery. Ill.
2. Hairspray: Ricki Lake
1. Pink Flamingos: Divine eats dog poop
Witnessing a 300-pound transvestite eating anything is bound to stimulate your gag reflex, but watching Divine scoop up poodle poo and gleefully gulping it down is just plain nasty. Not that coprophagy is ever yummy, but somehow Divine makes it that much yuckier.