John Waters’ “Celluloid Atrocity,” Back in Theaters

On Film / In Theaters — Aug 5, 2016

Today, John Waters returns to the big screen with our new restoration of his long unavailable sophomore feature, Multiple Maniacs. Shot in 1970 on a shoestring budget, this “celluloid atrocity” kicks off its national theatrical rollout with a run at New York’s IFC Center. To celebrate this occasion, we’ve gathered our favorite appreciations of the film and recent interviews with the King of Trash.

  • “A riveting orgy of bad taste and bad art, it lays waste to that which came before it and threatens to birth something apocalyptic and new,” writes Bilge Ebiri in the Village Voice.
  • Also for the Voice, Michael Musto interviews Waters, who offers some hilariously barbed praise of the restoration: “They made it look great . . . It finally looks like a bad John Cassavetes movie.”
  • “Watching vintage Waters in this age of PC cautiousness and shrill conservatism is both thrilling and disturbing,” writes David Rooney for the Hollywood Reporter. “Recent events cast a dark shadow over that kind of flippant anti-authority provocation, a reminder of a more naive time. But if you take the film’s badass lunacy seriously enough to be outraged then you’re at the wrong movie.”

  • “How did I get away with this? How did any of this happen?” asks Waters in a new interview with the Guardian. “Part of it was a time capsule. A very accurate picture of what my sense of humor, and what my friends were like at the time, which might scare some people. And in some ways, they should actually be scared of us.”
  • The New York Times discovers the origins of the director’s iconic, pencil-thin mustache: “Dismayed by his initial attempts to grow facial hair, Waters was offered a solution by the sister of Mink Stole, a childhood friend who would make legendary appearances in the director’s movies including Maniacs and Pink Flamingos (1972), that would change his life: ‘Just put a little pencil on it.’ ”
  • Vulture has published a clip from Multiple Maniacs along with an interview with Waters, who explains a controversial scene in the film: “It made perfect sense that if you’re insane, you hallucinate, you imagine things . . . it didn’t seem that surprising to me that suddenly in the middle of the movie a lobster would rape somebody.”
  • In Rolling Stone, Waters speaks on Andy Warhol, forcing Divine to eat an old cow’s heart, and his parents: “No parent would have been happy that their child made that.”
  • Waters speaks with Indiewire about his favorite filmmakers, his forays into books and TV, and his love of Janus Films: “When I was sixteen years old and saw the first Bergman movies, they were always Janus . . . They personified what an art film was to me.”
  • Listen to Waters’ interview on The Leonard Lopate Show: