Five years after he left audiences heaving their lunch with the now cult classic, Pink Flamingos, John Waters gave trash-cinema lovers Desperate Living. This 1977 “gem” is the story of a delusional, matricidal suburban housewife (played by Waters regular Mink Stole) and her partner-in-crime—her obese, African-American maid Grizelda (Jean Hill)—who, rather than go to prison, end up exiled to Mortville—a perverse ghetto for social rejects, ruled by the evil Queen Carlotta (Edith Massey). It’s your average all-American love story … Waters-style. There’s lesbian prison sex, despite the fact that there’s no prison; cannibalism; and all manners of … well, normally I wouldn’t call fetishisms “deviancy,” but in the case of Waters’ movies, there’s no way around it.
You can thank the good folks at the Trash Film Orgy for bringing Desperate Living to the big screen as part of their annual, um, orgy of questionable taste. I shouldn’t have to warn you, but this film isn’t for the easily offended—though, for better or worse, Desperate Living is without Divine and his shit-eating antics.