Friday, June 7, 2019

The Imaginary Artsploitation Films Catalog: # 1 - Pink Flamingos (1972, Director: John Waters)

The Imaginary Artsploitation Films Catalog: # 1 - Pink Flamingos (1972, Director: John Waters)

There is no better film for my first acquisition in the Imaginary Artsploitation Films Catalog than John Waters’ Pink Flamingos. This no-budget classic has all the elements of what makes a movie an artsploitation classic.

It has Controversy: An evil couple kidnaps young women, impregnates them with the sperm of a gay butler, then sells the babies to lesbian couples, and then uses the proceeds to peddle pornography and drugs to school children. There is Edie (Edith Massey), the undies-wearing, overweight, learning-disabled gal, who lives in a playpen and longs for gifts from the Egg Man. And of course, there is Divine gobbling up the warm fresh feces from a little doggie on the streets of Baltimore.

It has Violence: There is a mock trial lorded over by the vengeful transvestite Babs Johnson (Divine), which ends in the bloody executions of Raymond (David Lochary) and Connie Marble (Mink Stole), and along the way there is castration, house-burning and furniture-licking.

There is Weird Sex: Divine blows her own son Crackers (Danny Mills)  — “Do my balls Mamma!” Crackers has sex with a woman and an unwilling chicken, and the chicken pays the ultimate price.

But most of all it has Art: The film was a bracing antidote to the na├»ve peace-and-love world of the ‘60s. It displays a different America, one of depravity and moral turpitude, and is a strangely accurate prediction of today’s current Trumpian world. The film should be screened to all high school students — hell, grade school students. 

Raymond Murray

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