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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Sean Kelly

Blindspot: The Cult of 2013: Pink Flamingos

Well, the time has come for me to conclude my yearlong journey into the world of cult films.  It almost seems fitting that I would choose to end with John Waters’ 1972 transgressive black comedy Pink Flamingos, which was one of the earliest films to become a hit on the midnight movie scene, pre-dating The Rocky Horror Picture Show by three years.  As the tagline of the film states, Pink Flamingos is “an exercise in poor taste” and is definitely a film that is not for everyone.

The film stars drag queen Divine, a regular in Waters’ early films, as the head of a family, who lives in a trailer in the middle of nowhere and claim to to be the filthiest people alive.  However, this title is challenge by Raymond and Connie Marble (David Lochary and Mink Stole), a couple who operates a black market baby ring.  The Marbles begins a feud with Divine’s family, leading to them trying to outdo each other with a variety of vile and crude acts.

John Water’s directorial career is one that can be easily divided into two halves.  I’m probably more familiar with the latter half of his career, beginning with 1988’s Hairspray, in which his films are more easily consumed by a mainstream audience, despite still having some controversial content.  However, Waters is probably more infamous for his transgressive films of the 1970s and 1980s, which aimed to shock more than anything else.  The most infamous of these films is undoubtedly Pink Flamingos, which is definitely a test for how much you can stomache in a feature film.

There are some reprehensible things seen in Pink Flamingos that just can be unseen.  This includes gratuitous (and quite graphic) sex and nudity, a live chicken being killed (during a sex scene), and the consumption of dog feces.  By the end of the film, I was truly feeling sick to my stomache and wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into.

As Pink Flamingos became a cult hit by the way of midnight screenings, perhaps watching the film alone at home was the wrong way to see this film.  Perhaps, it is different experience watching Pink Flamingos with a crowd and their reactions to the stuff seen on screen.  As it stands, I’m now very hesitant to watch any more of John Waters’ early films.

Of the twelve films I watched for this year’s blindspot series, Pink Flamingos ends up being the one that I did not respond that well to.  However, it simultaneously ended up being the perfect film for me to end on.  I hope you enjoyed my year-long Cult of 2013 series and I’ll be back with a new batch of blindspot films in the new year.

2 | REALLY DISLIKED IT

Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).