Monday, August 8, 2016

DESPERATE LIVING (1977)

Fresh out of the sanitarium, Peggy Gravel (Mink Stole) keeps herself busy by running around wrecking her house and screaming down at the neighborhood kids with such timeless classics as "Go home to your mother! Doesn't she ever watch you? Tell her this isn't some communist day care center! Tell your mother I hate her! Tell your mother I hate you!!!" The insanity finally gets out of hand when Mink and her maid (Jean Hill) accidentally kill Mink's husband.  They go on the run and after being sexually assaulted by a cross dressing motorcycle cop (he was the highlight of the movie) they end up in Mortville, a disgusting shantytown ran by the psychotic Queen Carlotta (Edith Massey).  At the same time, Carlotta is angry at her daughter Princess Coo-Coo (Mary Vivian Pearce) for falling in love with the janitor of the local nudity colony.  Lots of other crazy shit happens including a disgusting sex change operation, backwards day, cannibalism, wrestling and midget fucking.

DESPERATE LIVING was the first feature-length film that John Waters did without Divine (due to scheduling issues) and, to me, that's just horrible.  My favorite thing about John Waters movies is the combination of Waters' skills as a filmmaker/writer and Divine's performances.  I love all of the other Dreamlanders (Mink Stole, Mary Vivian Pearce, Cookie Mueller, etc.), but Divine is my favorite and his absence here is too much for me.  David Lochary's absence hurt also.

Even without Divine and David, DESPERATE LIVING is still a fun time.  Mink Stole's performance is amazing and main reason I occasionally revisit the film.  Tons of unattractive nudity, lots of insane screaming, sleazy looking sets (except for John Waters' parents house which is beautiful), a great starting pace that runs out of steam during the last act, an infant in a refrigerator and some hilarious quotable lines.  Recommended, but not required.

If you need me, I'll be sleeping in the room next to you...nakeeeedd!