Reviews | Written by Martin Unsworth 24/07/2022

PINK FLAMINGOS (1972)

Well, it’s taken fifty years, but John Waters’ trash masterpiece is finally available to enjoy in the comfort of your own home, fully uncut. And Criterion’s Blu-ray is the perfect way to devour one of the most notorious pieces of bad taste cinema.

Divine and her family - Cotton (Mary Vivian Pearce), Crackers (Danny Mills), and mother Edie (Edith Massey) have set up home in a caravan in a remote part of Baltimore. Self-styled as the filthiest person alive, Divine has rivals - Connie and Raymond Marble (Mink Stole and David Lochary), a pair who supplement their drugs business by kidnapping women, forcing them to have babies and then selling the infants to lesbians. With those credentials, they are desperate to take the crown from Divine.

Despite all the notoriety, Pink Flamingos is a remarkable film. Made on a shoestring by outsiders, it’s become a symbol of independent cinema. The rough-and-ready feel makes the flaws all the more enduring. By no means is the film for those easily offended (there are moments that push the boundaries of even the most liberal viewer), but there’s no denying how much fun it is to spend time with Divine and the Marbles.

Criterion’s Blu-ray release presents the film looking amazing, which is impressive considering how it was shot and stored over the years. There’s also a smorgasbord of bonus features. A feature-length documentary looks at Waters’ early work and the making of Pink Flamingos in particular and is a fascinating look into the crazy world of the director and his pals. There are also some new items, including a piece in which Waters tours the locations of the film. This includes the Marbles’ house, which hasn’t changed much!

We’re probably preaching to the perverted here, but this is in the running for the release of the year for all lovers of poor taste cinema.