Multiple Maniacs

With John Waters movies, you know you should expect the expect the unexpected and quite often the unimaginable. If not the depraved and  certainly bad taste. In fact, the winning combination of Waters and Divine ensures that they probably wanted to out-filth each other!

The remastered release of his cult film Multiple Maniacs, stars his muse Divine, and is a personal portrait into their relationship (if nothing else!) Written, directed, edited, shot and produced solely by Waters, ensured that the disturbing content didn’t meet any paying public’s eye until it was released in 1970. And even then it was a mission to get it to anything other than strip club theatres!

Multiple Maniacs


Setting the scene in the opener of the film, is a naked Lady Divine, bitching away at her long suffering partner, David; Before claiming the limelight and starring in the aptly named spectacle ‘The Cavalcade of Perversions’, showcasing the filthy and unimaginable. Seemingly a normal act, as a finale to every show, Divine comes in and robs the patrons at gunpoint, however after this show, she tires of just mugging them, and decides to murder them instead

Drag Queen Divine is simply divine, in adopting a bolshy over sexed, larger than life role, and you can see elements of this in her prostitute daughter’s character, Cookie- with whom she seeks refuge in the city, when she is on the run. 

Daily life continues, but revenge is on the cards when Lady D is tipped off that her boyfriend David is seeing one of the performers. Setting out with no holds barred, her colossal character is intercepted by two glue-sniffers, and she is floored and raped. Whilst contemplating these surreal events, a young boy in the shape of the Infant of Prague appears and leads her to the steps of a church. Unsure but intrigued, Lady D heads inside only to be seduced by an attractive young woman, and experiences anal sex involving a string of rosary beads. 

Multiple Maniacs_Mr_David

This new twist is a added bonus to Divine’s mission. Now declaring herself lesbian, she is adamant to get revenge on her puny boyfriend. With more twists and turns, and religious flashbacks, the two couples meet again at Cookie’s apartment, where they are intent on murder. And those who like blood and guts will not be disappointed! With an exhausting and seemingly never ending monologue, Divine is joined by a lobster, and is completely unrepentant, cackling “you’re a maniac now Divine”. 

A film which doesn’t warrant a finale, Waters makes sure Divine stretches it out as long as possible, running through the streets of  Baltimore, insane, bloody, and wearing a mink coat, trying to kill anyone she can get at to the soundtrack of “God Bless America”. 

Multiple Maniacs

For laughs, squirms and an insight to a drug addled mind, this remastered version is definitely worth a watch. Waters distributed the movie 46 years ago and now Maniacs is on general release with Janus Films and the Criterion Collection.

Book your tickets for a cinema near you. Opening this weekend. 

Sara Darling

Hello there, Thanks for reading! I am an ex fashion stylist (gave it up to follow my gypsy soul). Now writing words for mags and websites on culture, fashion, travel and wellness. As well as copywriting for numerous fashion and travel clients, I write features, interviews and reviews for clients including Schon! magazine, Riverside Journals, Style of the City magazine, Eluxe magazine, Kensington and Chelsea magazine,,,,, and more! Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @WordsByDarling @1stClassDarling