Waters, who went on to direct genuine pop-culture classics such as Hairspray and Serial Mom, made this celluloid sideshow with one aim--to make a name for himself. It worked. He does have a genuine eye for filmmaking (when the trailer burns down, you feel the white heat of Divine's pain and anger). On the other hand, you won't notice any disclaimers about stunt doubles and animals not being mistreated. There weren't, and they were. Welcome to the filthiest film in the world. --Grant Balfour
Female Trouble John Waters expands the definition of female trouble in this mutant tribute to good-girl-gone-bad drive-in melodramas. The girl is, of course, cross-dressing cult icon Divine, Waters's plus-sized muse. Divine is at her most gleefully outrageous as teenage brat Dawn Davenport, who runs away from home and into a life of wanton hedonism all because she didn't get cha-cha heels for Christmas. Almost immediately she's molested by a sleazy motorcycle thug (also played by Divine--is this Waters's idea of "love thyself"?), but she doesn't let motherhood interfere with her plans of stardom and turns herself into an unlikely fashion statement in an apocalyptic fashion show. Waters's fourth feature, a follow-up to the midnight movie hit Pink Flamingos, is just as cinematically primitive and even more gleefully vulgar, right down to the electric climax of Dawn's road to everlasting fame.
The DVD also features a commentary track by the always-entertaining John Waters. --Sean Axmaker