BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Muliple Maniacs: Criterion Collection (1970) - Blu-ray Review

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Multiple Maniacs

“Think about the stations of the cross!  Think about the stations of the cross!”

With a tip of the hat to the splatterific offerings of Herschell Gordon Lewis and Freaks director Tod Browning, Multiple Maniacs takes aim at the Manson Family and at Catholicism as the tents of Lady Divine’s Cavalcade of Perversion open for an unsuspecting audience in the Good Ol' USA. 

"With a tip of the hat to the splatterific offerings of Herschell Gordon Lewis and Freaks director Tod Browning, Multiple Maniacs takes aim at the Manson Family and at Catholicism"


Anarchy! Glamour!  Armpit licking!  Step right this way!  This crowd of uptight do-gooders are in for quite a surprise.

It’s almost as if the carnival barking of David Lochary’s Mr. David, dressed like a demented ringleader, went unheard as they walked by.  I mean, these people were warned that “this isn’t any cheap X-rated film”, so they - like ANY audience of a John Waters film - shouldn’t be surprised by its absurd outrageousness.  

If it isn’t the Puke Eater that disgusts them, then it will be the Bicycle Seat Licker who turns their stomachs.  Either way, the lunatics on display here in Lady Divine's tent are going to offend them.  Hell, in this black-and-white tale, even YOU might get disgusted.  This 16mm independently-shot film takes its mission to enrage and inflame quite seriously. 

Filmed on the streets and churches of Baltimore, Maryland, the film never ceases to amuse me.  Because, wait for it, bored of merely robbing the audience members, when Lady Divine, played by Waters’ own muse Divine, takes the main stage on this day of this show, all bets are off.  She's had enough of being told to go away.  She pulls out a gun and starts firing into the disgusted crowd, killing one after another of their audience members, before hauling ass back to the apartment that she shares with Cookie (Cookie Mueller), her daughter.

That’s the opening message John Waters’ second feature has for its audience: your entertainment will kill you.  And, for those who clasp hard to their sense of good taste and their sensible morals, he means that the explicit content within Multiple Maniacs - which features a very public sex act with Mink (Mink Stole) as she inserts a rosary into Divine’s ass while describing (as she has an orgasm) the stations of the cross - will offend OFTEN.

Horrifying and quite comical, the madcap events in Multiple Maniacs - as Divine discovers that Mr. David is cheating on her with a bleach-blonde woman (Mary Vivian Pearce) who really wants to be in his troupe of freaks (so she shoves a dildo up his ass) - feature Divine getting raped on the street by a couple of druggies right BEFORE her sexual awakening in a church.  They are meant to shock the audience in one way or another.  Remember that opening statement of purpose?  It’s key to understanding just how far Waters is willing to go to earn his namesake of The Pope of Trash which he did with this cult classic.Multiple Maniacs

Hilariously enough, the plot gets complicated by all the cheating that happens between Mr. David and DivineDivine wants to be with Mink.  Damn all the others.  Mr. David is feeling the same way toward his new love, so they go to Divine’s apartment to kill her.  She's not there, so it is Cookie that pays the price.

What follows is a series of mishaps that end with Divine, after getting raped by a giant lobster and stabbing Mink, actually eating Mr. David’s innards with a ferocity that has to be seen to be believed.  Well, if I am being honest, that entire closing sequence MUST BE SEEN. 

God bless America and these Multiple ManiacsThe Criterion Collection presents John Waters’ second feature on blu-ray with a new 4K digital restoration, approved by John Waters himself.

5/5 stars

Multiple Maniacs

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Criterion
Available on Blu-ray
- March 21, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.66:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: LPCM Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

From Criterion: John Waters’ gloriously grotesque second feature is replete with all manner of depravity, from robbery to murder to one of cinema’s most memorably blasphemous moments. Made on a shoestring budget in Waters’ native Baltimore, with the filmmaker taking on nearly every technical task, this gleeful mockery of the peace-and-love ethos of its era features the Cavalcade of Perversion, a traveling show mounted by a troupe of misfits whose shocking proclivities are topped only by those of their leader: the glammer-than-glam, larger-than-life Divine, out for blood after discovering her lover’s affair. Starring members of Waters’ beloved regular cast, the Dreamlanders (including David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce, Mink Stole, Susan Lowe, Edith Massey, George Figgs, and Cookie Mueller), Multiple Maniacs is an anarchic masterwork from an artist who has doggedly tested the limits of good taste for decades.

Video:

The new 4K restoration, supervised by director John Waters, is a stunning upgrade to what was previously issued.  The shoot, costing about $5000, is low in contrast and grainy and the work here to restore the visual punch of the film is quite effective in bringing out the grays in the clothes and some of the fibers in Mr. David’s carnival outfit.  There is a lot of nudity and scenes to make your stomach crawl and the 1.66:1 aspect ratio doesn’t shy away from bringing those moments to you in all their cinematic glories.

Audio:

The uncompressed monaural soundtrack is decent enough to carry the soundtrack and the effects.  While the gunshots might ring hollow, the “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands” and “God Bless America” as the military shows up, sound pretty solid.  Better than remembered.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • The commentary from John Waters is exceptional.  

Special Features:

If the new 4K digital restoration, supervised by director John Waters, isn’t enough to get your attention, then maybe the NEW commentary from him will be.  Other bonus features are NEW interviews with cast and crew members such as Pat Moran, Mink Stole, Susan Lowe, George Figgs, and Vincent Peranio.  There is also a new video essay from Gary Needham and an essay written by Linda Yablonsky.

  • New audio commentary featuring Waters
  • New interviews with cast and crew members Pat Moran, Mink Stole, Susan Lowe, George Figgs, and Vincent Peranio
  • New video essay by scholar Gary Needham
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Linda Yablonsky

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  5/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 3/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

4.5/5 stars

Multiple Maniacs

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
91 mins
Director
: John Waters
Writer:
John Waters
Cast:
Divine, David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce
Genre
: Comedy | Crime | Horror
Tagline:
You won't believe this one!
Memorable Movie Quote: "She's a dyke! Look at those tattoos."
Theatrical Distributor:
Janus Films
Official Site: https://www.thehustle.movie/
Release Date:
April 10, 1970
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
March 21, 2017.
Synopsis: A traveling show mounted by a troupe of misfits whose shocking proclivities are topped only by those of their leader: the glammer-than-glam, larger-than-life Divine, out for blood after discovering her lover’s affair.

Multiple Maniacs

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