Desperate Living [Import]
Everyone in Desperate Living's Mortville has some horrible secret to hide. The mentally unstable Peggy Gravel (Mink Stole, in a superb display of overacting) and her 300-pound-plus maid Grizelda must take it on the lam after Grizelda smothers Peggy's husband under her elephantine buttocks. They find themselves in Mortville, a shanty fiefdom ruled by the grotesque Queen Carlotta (the incomparable Edith Massey). The evil queen delights in tormenting her subjects, but Peggy and Grizelda soon team up with a pair of lesbian outcasts, and a rebellion is in the air. John Waters's Desperate Living takes on the air of a seedy, trash fairy tale as the humiliated residents of Mortville rise up against the queen and the cursed princess finds herself in a power struggle against her mother. Notable for the absence of Waters regular Divine, this movie pushes the rest of the cast to their over-the-top best. Fifties sex bomb Liz Renay has a great time as Muffy St. Jacques, half of the lesbian couple, and was still looking great by the '70s. The tumbledown sets of Mortville add a surreal touch to the movie, but Edith Massey steals every scene she's in as the hateful, repulsive Queen Carlotta. Note that the actors' breath is clearly visible in many scenes; it was filmed outdoors in a bitter Baltimore winter. Nasty, shabby, gross, and hilarious, this is John Waters at his best. --Jerry Renshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
On one hand you'll have people who will find Waters' early work to be too repulsive to watch and on the other extreme, you'll find others who worship his movies without any reservation and reject any critique as a sign that people just don't get it. My perspective is a little different as after watching Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, and Desperate Living, my view is that while the ideas continue to be as fresh as they were made in the mid to late 1970's, his early work is much funnier when taken in little dozes rather than full length movies. Although, many may disagree I find Desperate Living to be his early best, while Female trouble is highly overrated. Pink Flamingos falls somewhere between the two.
There are scenes in Desperate Living that had me laughing so hard that I cried. In fact, the first half hour of the film is absolutely hilarious. Every scene involving Jean Hill who plays the hilarious Grizelda Brown and/or Mink Stole who plays the crazed Peggy Gravel, is a gag waiting to happen. There is a scene that takes place after something horrible happens (like I am going to tell you what happened) when Peggy is driving away with Grizelda that is worth the price of owning this movie. Said scene has Mink Stole going off like a madwoman regarding her hatred of nature, and it never fails to surprise me how funny she is.Read more ›
Written and Directed by Waters, this stars Mink Stole as Peggy Gravel, a mentally unbalanced suburban housewife drivine to the brink of madness by her amorous children, cruel husband & their alcoholic maid Grizelda Brown (Jean Hill).
However after the chunkily built Grizelda murders Mr. Gravel by sitting on him & squashing him to death; she & Peggy go on the lam, crossing paths with a wacko cop who has a fetish for women's lingerie. He is also a chivalrous romantic who has a strange request to make of Peggy: "I'd like to stick my whole head in your mouth & let you suck out my eyeballs". Now there's a pick-up line that's guaranteed to work every time!
After escaping being assaulted by this crazed copper; Peggy & Grizelda wind up seeking refuge in a low rent village/slum called Mortville where they shack up with lesbian wrestler Mole (Susan Lowe) & her vulgar, trashy lover Muffy (Liz Renay); a disturbed individual whose leisure pursuits include driving a meat fork through her hand for fun. But alas their solitude proves to be short-lived, as the corrupt ruler of Mortville, Queen Carlotta (Edith Massey) has sent her guards out to arrest & execute all homosexuals; but they mistakenly arrest Peggy & Grizelda. Soon the repressed townspeople band together to stage a violent revolt against their revolting dictator & her submissive slave-servants.
As with all Waters early films, you will either find this to be absoutely hilarious or downright depraved. I am of the former mindset.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
It's hard for me to believe that there could be John Waters fans who know only his mainstream films. Read morePublished on Aug. 31 2001 by El Kabong
One more fithy movie from John Waters' perverted mind. It is most trashy with mediocre acting, cheep cardbord settings, most unrealistic fairytale-like story and bizarre situations... Read morePublished on June 4 2001 by Xavier Thelakkatt
Hello, movie goers! I am a HUGE fan of John's work, but Desperate Living has to be my least favourite movie he's made. Read morePublished on Dec 28 2000 by Terry E. Pelton
At the time of its release, this was easily John Waters's most technically accomplished and professional-looking film. Read morePublished on Sept. 19 2000 by Garry Messick
a "fractured fairytale" if there ever was one!! this movie you MUST watch over and over!! The shock value is high - and the laughs are "Multiple"! Read morePublished on Sept. 9 2000
This amazing John Waters movie dserves it's place amongst the strangest and sickest films ever made. Read morePublished on Aug. 30 2000 by russell Teague
Desperate Living is often an overlooked and forgotten piece of Waters' early work, mostly because of the abscence of Divine, but to me it's one of his best films which I continue... Read morePublished on July 24 2000 by JOHN SPOKUS
This film has a take no prisoners approach and stops at nothing. Just when you think John Waters cannot be more depraved, he goes one step beyond. It was AWESOME! Read morePublished on June 17 2000
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