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Desperate Living (1977) (2010)

Liz Renay , Mink Stole , John Waters  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)

Price: $40.00 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Desperate Living (1977) + Pink Flamingos + Female Trouble
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Product Details

  • Actors: Liz Renay, Mink Stole, Susan Lowe, Edith Massey, Mary Vivian Pearce
  • Directors: John Waters
  • Format: Full Screen, Color, Closed-captioned, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: New Line Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: September 7, 2004
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002RQ3LG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,565 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Desperate Living (1977)" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PERFECTLY MONSTROUS July 29, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
When this was released, we all wondered if Waters could run without Divine, who had stage commitments at the time. Well, he sure showed us! From start to finish, the film is riveting. Mink Stole, in my opinion, turns in some of her finest work here - especially "the rant" before she's given her "fit medicine." It also introduced Jean Hill, doyenne of the sleazy greeting card, in a dramatic tour de force. The energy between the two women is undeniable. It's impossible not to love Edith Massey's purely evil Queen Carlotta and her troop of hot leather goons. Actually, there's nary a bad performance here. Bonnie (Mary Vivian) Pearce gave what seems to be her swan song as a major character here as well, making only cameos in subsequent Waters pictures, and one can only wonder why she's no longer cast in larger roles. As Princess Coo-Coo, she combines the pathos of the misplaced personage with the foot-stamping petulance of the spoiled child. Absolutely perfect. And Susan Lowe as the bipolar Mole will alternately have you laughing, crying in sympathy, cringing with fear, and retching with disgust! The gaily-painted, plywood fairytale sets, set against the bleak winter Maryland landscape (nearly all the shooting apparently was done on overcast days), adds an discomfiting edge, as does the bizarre "musical" soundtrack. All the elements mesh together perfectly to create a film that will haunt you long after you view it. A must!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DESPERATE LIVING September 23, 2010
If Female Trouble (1975) is John Waters` greatest narrative film, then Desperate Living (1977) is his inimitable descent into a surreal, kitsch abyss that few could imagine. Desperate Living is Waters' personal, alternative universe to the parallel world of Busby Berkeley. Seen today, Berkeley's films are a surreal wet dream, a perverse man's big budget fairy tales. Waters filmed his perverse anti-fairy tale on a meager budget three years after Female Troubles, although he had substantially more money here than on his previous films. Budget or no, Desperate Living is just as grandiose and epic as anything Berkeley ever produced.

Star Divine was not available due to other commitments so Waters tapped Mink Stole, who more than makes up for the loss (additionally, Waters regular David Lochary died of an overdose shortly before filming). The film opens with a bang in the form of a brilliant, in-your-face, unhinged preamble from Stole as Peggy, the most delightful sociopath to ever grace the annuls of independent cinema. Peggy discovers her filthy sodomite whelps playing doctor's office and goes berserk. To make matter worse, Peggy's bore of a husband, Bosley (George Stover) catches Grizelda, their 400 pound maid (Jean Hill), nipping at the jack so he decides to fire her. Enough is enough, so Grizelda conks Bosley over the head and then suffocates him by sitting on his face.

Grizelda tells Peggy, "I am now your sister in crime, bitch!" Peggy, avoiding the same fate as Bosley, goes along with her former maid. The coupling of Peggy and Grizelda is comically deranged, literally climaxing with Grizelda forcing Peggy to give her oral sex as she screams out, `Eat it! Eat it!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The movie that shows John Waters is the King of "trash"! November 26, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This is John's trashiest and best work. I thought it would be hard to top Pink Flamingoes, but this one does it. I love Grizelda and who can't love Edith Massey as Queen Carlotta. This movie is a must have for Waters' fans.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars JOHN WATERS BEST WORK February 26, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
If you love Mr. Waters films this is a MUST for your collection.Edith Massey is great in this movie. She plays Queen Carlotta and she is pure evil. Who would inject their own daugther with rabies? You can say all you want about actresses like, Streep,Moore,Fields,Roberts,etc. GIVE ME EDITH MASSEY over those girls anyday! EDITH MASSEY in Pretty Woman would have been great to see... REST HER SOUL!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pevertfection! August 30, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
This amazing John Waters movie dserves it's place amongst the strangest and sickest films ever made. Miss Jean Hill naked atop Mink Stole is a scene your mind will hold loooooong after the initial shock and viewing! Edith Massey is sadistically sarcastic as Queen Carlotta and winds up dinner! Repeated viewings only make it better and better! A true MUST for the JW freak in you!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
Like many of Waters' films, this one really needs to grow on you. I found it much funnier, but less shocking, than Pink Flammingos (which I also hated the first time through).
Hilariously bad acting is part of the fun (like the kid who hits the baseball through Peggy's window). The poor production values don't hurt either. And the image of Mink Stole and Jean Hill naked in bed together is forever etched in my mind!
Lots of sick sight gags and dialogue galore. A must-see for Waters fans (unless you think you're a Waters fan because you liked Hairspray).
No Divine in this one, but it still packs a trashy punch! To quote Dan Akroid: "Simply awful, couldn't be worse. Bravo!".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE ULTIMATE GROSS OUT!! September 9, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
a "fractured fairytale" if there ever was one!! this movie you MUST watch over and over!! The shock value is high - and the laughs are "Multiple"! A lot of scenes make you cringe - but - if you are A WATERS fan - and havent seen this - YOU ARE NOT A WATERS FAN!!! for the rest of you - watch it anyway - it is TRUE trash and if you get offended - you take yourself too seriuosly. Edith Massey was FAB as the queen! No Devine here - but still incredible. Mink Stole was wonderful as the high society lady - who , though a turn of events - gets to see how the po' half lives. great cast and all around funny! I have recommended this to more people than I can remember.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Being Raunchy Never Felt so good
As a big Fan of John Waters, this move may not fit the taste of most normal movie watchers.
With its dry vulgar humor this would be more of a miss than a hit to those who just... Read more
Published 3 days ago by David E
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilariously Mental
I first saw DESPERATE LIVING in 1999, having heard about it by word of mouth, and bought a VHS copy to see it for myself. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Susanne Edwards
3.0 out of 5 stars My review of "Desperate Living"
DESPERATE LIVING, John Waters' first movie without his muse Divine, is a fitfully entertaining and really bizarre affair that's hard to sit through at times, but still kind of... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Robert Hayes
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Waters masterpiece
After the formulaic, repetitive, insipid drivel that permeates mainstream movies and TV it is a refreshing and inspiring change to see a John Waters production. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A Modern Day Fairy Tail
A classic, John Waters and Walt Disney icons pf American fantasy! Too bad Waters never got the recognition Disney did. atefrs should build a theme park.
Published 4 months ago by chikenbaby
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Early John Waters
This goes right along with the other classic early John Waters films: Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, Polyester and the 1988 Hairspray. Read more
Published 9 months ago by leslie eckhardt
2.0 out of 5 stars No case
I bought it and came without a case and in was dvd only, didn't say that in description so i will never buy again.
Published 11 months ago by dawnkegler
4.0 out of 5 stars Trashy!
The fact that John Waters was even able to make such a film back in the days when you had to shoot film and the process was expensive is amazing. Read more
Published 11 months ago by theswanguy
1.0 out of 5 stars Did I miss something?
This has to be the most awful movie I have ever seen! I must be missing something, what, with all the great reviews! We did actually watch the whole thing. Waste of time and $.
Published 23 months ago by Dawn Crocker
5.0 out of 5 stars White trash bliss!
It's impossible to not love this movie. John Waters is a legend, and every movie he makes is ate up. Crude humor, raunchy, and full of hysterical trashy acting. Read more
Published on July 23, 2012 by Steve
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