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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 (56 customer reviews)

Price: $36.76 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Desperate Living (1977) + Female Trouble + Pink Flamingos
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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 (56 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002RQ3LG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #231,735 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Desperate Living (1977)" on IMDb

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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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly Sick Fairytale from the Price of Puke ! January 21, 2004
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
I guess you'd call Desperate Living the last of the earlier John Waters "gross out" cult classic films... He went a bit more mainstream after that (not to say that I don't like his new stuff... in fact, I dug Pecker and Cecil B. Demented majorly, but his newer stuff are simply "good movies", as opposed to "cult classics" by destiny.) - - The best way to describe Desperate Living (and I believe these are Waters' words paraphrased) is "a fairy tale for adults with the minds of children..." (well, moreso sick 12-14 year olds.) the story is as fun and entertaining as it is gross and disgusting... Getting to see Edith Massey in the roll of the evil queen and villian is also quite hillarious (especially if you've watched all his earlier films...) and getting to see what she does with the castle goons is even funnier... - - in my book however, the two most memorable scenes involve a cross dressing cop as well as a rather amusingly severed ding dong. Liz Renay, is also hillarious and really into her role... almost too much... in fact, its the sheer exhuberence of the actors in John Waters' films that make the films such a great watch... you can tell that he's definitely the type of guy that could sell you the Brooklyn Bridge (or atleast eat some poop off of it...) - - All in all, I'd have to say that along with Female Trouble its one of my favorite John Waters films... Whether you found Pink Flamingos funny or offensive, expect to laugh and puke at the same time... this is JW at his most sick and childishly best !
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Mortville Is The Only Place To Be
It's absurd. It's disgusting. It's disturbing as all get out. It's fantastic! Any John Waters lover will have seen this movie but you need to own it and relive the insanity over... Read more
Published 24 days ago by Jennifer L. McKenzie
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This is a movie you must own,
Published 1 month ago by Michael A. Santoro
5.0 out of 5 stars A laugh a minute
This is one of the funniest movies I've ever seen!!!
Published 1 month ago by david
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 1 month 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 2 months ago by Susanne Edwards
3.0 out of 5 stars Bizarre and interesting trash
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 3 months 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 3 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 6 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 10 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 12 months ago by dawnkegler
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