Multiple Maniacs Blu-ray Review
“Multiple Maniacs” is more of a curiosity for John Waters and Divine fans.
“Multiple Maniacs” begins by introducing viewers to Lady Divine’s Cavalcade of Perversion. On the surface it’s a sideshow revolving around kinky weirdos, but in reality, it’s just a scam to rip-off and even kill customers. From there on out the story focuses on two intertwined separate stories. The first involves Divine’s boyfriend (Mr. David) who has his sights set on a woman (Bonnie) who wanted to be part of Divine’s show. In order to be together the two plot to kill the possessive Divine. The other plot revolves around the murdrous Divine who learns that Mr. David is cheating on her. Divine wants to get revenge by killing Mr. David.
“Multiple Maniacs” is an early John Waters film and it certainly shows in the final product. It’s a rough indie film with bad acting, poor shots, rambling voice overs, and overlong scenes. Through all of that, however, John Waters’ original brand of oddity is still fully on display here. Waters (who is frequently known as the King of Bad Taste) is certainly an acquired taste, but he can never be knocked for not being a creative cult filmmaker. Even in a lesser film like “Multiple Maniacs,” his style, weirdness, and bizarre humor manages to shine in this oddball story about violence and spirituality. Is ‘Maniacs’ on the level of “Pink Flamingos,” “Serial Mom,” or “Cecil B. Demented”? No, but how can you not be fascinated by a movie that contains surreal moments, a truly blasphemous church scene, cannibalism, and a giant lobster? To me, it’s just fascinating to watch this in context with what Waters and Divine achieved later. You can see the raw beginnings of their talent.
In terms of the cast, many of the regulars appear in this such as Mink Stole, Edith Massey, David Lochary, and Mary Vivian Pearce. Of course, the star here is the legendary transvestite actor Divine who carries the film from start to finish.
Presentation: 1.66:1. How does it look? The 4K digital restoration of this B&W film is really sharp. Fans will undoubtedly be pleased.
Audio Track: Uncompressed Mono. How does it sound? Since the sound was of low quality to begin don’t expect this track to impress anyone.
* A booklet featuring credits and author Linda Yablonsky
* “Multiple Maniacs” trailer.
* Interviews with Pat Moran, Mink Stole, Susan Lowe, George Figgs and Vincent Peranio. A fun set of interviews in which the interviewees chat about John Waters, Baltimore, the 60’s, and more.
* “The Stations Of Filth”- A scripted video essay by film scholar Gary Needham that delves into the themes and content of “Multiple Maniacs.”
* An enjoyable solo commentary by “Multiple Maniacs” in which he discusses his work, behind-the-scenes information, locations, certain scenes, cast members, etc.
Overall Thoughts: “Multiple Maniacs” may not be one of John Waters’ finest films, but it’s nice to see Criterion releasing one of his works. Hopefully more will follow suit!
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