Sep 23, 2013

Female Trouble




While John Waters has made an entire career out of cinematically portraying degenerate proletarian white trash and rednecks from Baltimore City in a uniquely unflattering manner, he grew up as a bourgeois Irish Catholic in one of Baltimore County’s most bland and crime-free areas (Lutherville, Maryland) and attended prestigious private schools, thus his films are mostly from the perspective of a posh, if not particularly peculiar, poof that might not think much of the human pigs of pigtown, but he was at least able to give a sort of immortality to their ‘legacy’ of riff raff lunacy, which certainly no other filmmaker has accomplished, especially “city of neighborhoods” Hebrew Barry Levinson (Diner, Rain Man). Personally, I rather respect Waters’ contribution to cinema as an eccentric camp exploiter of one-of-a-kind Balti-morons who seems to have more ‘respect’ for perverted proles and unhinged urban hillbillies than people from his own anally retentive boobeoise background. Of course, Waters’ pre-Hairspray (1988) “Trash Trilogy” (Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, Desperate Living) is where the “Pope of Trash” made his most intemperate and callously camp-addled attacks against “Natty Boh” drinkers and crab fetishists of not so charming Charm City. With Female Trouble (1974), wacked-out Waters’ combined his propensity for cinematically pissing on proles with his infamous serial killer fetishism. Lovingly dedicated to Manson Family member Charles "Tex" Watson—an honor student and football star turned deranged psycho killer who John Waters paid a number of visits to in prison and even still sends Christmas cards to every year—Female Trouble is the discernibly debauched and aesthetically delinquent tale of a less than dainty dame named Dawn Davenport (played by Waters’ muse “Divine”) who goes from banal schoolgirl to maniac mass murderer after a tragic Christmas experience where her parents fail to give her the gift that keeps on giving: a pair cha-cha heels. Inspired by Tex’s practically practiced philosophy of “crime is beauty”—something that French queer thief Jean Genet wrote about—Female Trouble is anything but beauteous as the sort of celluloid equivalent of the aged barf of a gang-raped Baltimore beggar. With the original working title being “Rotten Mind, Rotten Face”, it should be no surprise that Female Trouble is one of the most uniquely ugly, undyingly unhinged and undignified, and aesthetically and thematically reprehensible works to be defecated out of a film director’s decidedly despoiled soul. A film that reminds you why no other filmmaker has a more fitting name than “John Waters” (aka toilet water), Female Trouble is less than fresh farcical filmic feces that could have only been directed by Baltimore’s most debauched member of the bourgeois. 



 It is the year 1960 in Baltimore and Dawn Davenport (Divine) is an aesthetically displeasing, obese juvenile delinquent who enjoys eating meatball sandwiches and wreaking havoc at her posh all-girls school, especially where lying, cheating, and fighting are concerned, though she is not particularly good at any of these things. When gutter dilettante Davenport fails to receive a pair of glorious cha-cha heels for Christmas from her uptight parents, she loses more than her cool and knocks over a Xmas tree over her mommy and makes the mistake of running away, thus ushering in her new life as a criminally-inclined whore with a bastard baby aka daughter of a rapist. While hitchhiking, Ms. Davenport is picked up by a boorish blue collar slob named Earl Peterson (also played by Divine), who viciously rapes (indeed, Divine rapes Divine!) and ultimately impregnates the enfant terrible teenage runaway. Stuck supporting a brat daughter named Taffy as a less than sexy slut single mother, Davenport takes employment as a reckless waitress, sleazy go-go dancer, hapless hooker, and petty thief with a crooked eye for aesthetics. For her more criminally-inclined jobs, Davenport has teamed up with her equally repulsive but much thinner and more 'beautiful' friends Chicklette (Susan Walsh) and Concetta (Cookie Mueller). By the year 1968, Taffy is such a little bad bitch at the age of 8-years-old, that her mother Dawn Davenport wastes no time in beating her with a TV antenna. Luckily, after Chicklette and Concetta recommend to Dawn that she get her hair done, she meets and falls in love with white trash hairstylist Gator (Michael Potter), whose conspicuously obese and crippled aunt Ida (Edith Massey) wants the hillbilly hunk to be ‘progressive’ and “turn queer” but he’s no fag (or as he states himself, “I'm straight, I mean I like a lot of queers but I don't dig their equipment”) and the two dirt bag love turds inevitably marry. Flash forward to 1974 and daughter Taffy (Mink Stole) is now a terrible teen at age 14 and she hates her stepfather Gator—a man who is more sexually attracted to the tools in his toolbox than his wife—so she lucks out when her mommy catches her hubby screwing other women and reading porn mags, so divorce proceedings are carried out. Meanwhile, Dawn seeks refuge in Lipstick Beauty Salon—the same place her ex-gator worked as the world's most redneck hairstylist—which is owned by a wacky weirdo couple, Donald (David Lochary) and Donna Dasher (Mary Vivian Pearce), who use the single mother as a rather unconventional guinea pig in an experiment to prove Jean Genet’s dictum “crime is beauty,”  thus ushering in the beginning of the end of the obese whore's life as a nobody who inevitably turns into a crazed criminal somebody.



 Dawn proudly beats her daughter with a chair for a crime-inspired photo shoot, but her less than photogenic face is truly ruined after Ida disfigures the single mother by throwing acid on her face in retribution as she blames her for Gator's decision to move to Michigan to work in the prestigious auto industry. The Dashers kidnap and put Aunt Ida in a giant birdcage and vengeful Dawn cuts off the hand of the acid-thrower after getting out of the hospital. Meanwhile, daughter Taffy finds her real father after her mother refuses to reveal who he is and after meeting daddy dearest, she ends up killing him after the pathological rapist tries to sexually pillage his own daughter. Not long afterward, Taffy becomes a Hara Krishna and frees Ida, which enrages her mother Dawn so much that she kills her own little girl, which is cheered on by the degenerate Dashers. Dawn, although disfigured and looking like she was raped by a gang of transvestite bikers, starts a naughty night club act involving jumping on a trampoline and swimming in a waterless playpen full of death fish, subsequently proudly confessing regarding her dedication to criminality, “I framed Leslie Bacon! I called the heroin hot line on Abbie Hoffman! I bought the gun that Bremer used to shoot Wallace! I had an affair with Juan Corona! I blew Richard Speck, and I'm so fuckin’ beautiful I can't stand it myself!!!,” thus demonstrating her prestige as a purveyor of bad taste.  After absurdly yelling “Who wants to be famous? Who wants to die for art?” to her adoring audience of aberrant psychopaths and jaded degenerates, Dawn shoots at the crowd and makes her escape in the woods, even living like a wild animal for a time, but is soon arrested by the cops. Ironically, during the trial, the Dashers—the people who egged on Dawn to commit the crimes, including the murder of her own daughter—are granted “total immunity” in exchange for their testimony. The Dashers also pay off Ida to lie. In the end, Dawn is found guilty and condemned to die in the electric chair, but she is rather proud of it. After starting a lesbian relationship with a fellow prisoner (played by male-to-female post-op tranny Elizabeth Coffey, who previously played the 'chick with a dick' in Pink Flamingos), Dawn proudly states being executed will be “like winning an Academy Award” and, indeed, while strapped in the electric chair, she gives an extravagant speech, concluding with the remark, “Please remember, I love every fucking one of you!,” thus rather climatically concluding a career in glamorous criminality with electricity. 



 Sparked largely by auteur John Waters’ interest in the members of the Manson family, most specifically his ‘friend’ Tex Watson, who came from a similar ‘wholesome’ background as the director yet turned into an infamous acid killer freak, Female Trouble is unadulterated celluloid bad taste from a hokey yet quasi-highbrow homo who is one of the only filmmakers able to reconcile William Castle with Federico Fellini, and Jean Genet with the Manson Family. Notably, Waters described his mainstream flick Serial Mom (1994) as “the Hollywood version” of Female Trouble. More accurately, Serial Mom is the tight-ass Towson bourgeois version of Female Trouble, thereupon making it a film closer to the director’s heart in a sense. Despite its reckless white-trash-sploitation angle, Female Trouble is certainly a work of its 'zany' zeitgeist in depicting a young girl going from being a loser schoolgirl to a mass murderer, as it takes place during the rise of counter-culture groups (Waters did not include Hare Krishnas for nothing!), a time when mainstream-brainwashed teens of the 1960s senselessly threw away their parents' traditions/religion and adopted bogus beliefs and lifestyles, which is most extremely personified in the man to whom the film is dedicated, Tex Watson, the honor student and star athlete turned mass-murdering drug dealer who threw his life away with a stoned blink of an eye. Additionally, John Waters has never lied about the fact that he, like his man muse Divine, was on a steady dose of ganja during the writing and directing of his Trash Trilogy, thus fitting in with the era the film was made. Ultimately, Female Trouble is like an unholy marriage between the naked melodramas of Rainer Werner Fassbinder with the Hebraic exploitation hate of Herschell Gordon Lewis, portraying Baltimore’s urban hillbilly population in a manner that only a warped and exceedingly effeminate yet eccentric homo could, most specifically the sort that sports a child molester-esque little Richard mustache. While my least favorite chapter of compulsively campy celluloid sleaze in the Trash Trilogy, Female Trouble is nothing short of a hysterically humorous trash masterpiece that proved that John Waters is the last iconoclastic Baltimorean since H.L. Mencken to prove that some people from Baltimore are actually conscious-minded and have scathing wit when it comes to making fun of such a uniquely cultivated, shitty city.  As someone who has had at least two relatives that where murdered in Baltimore in bizarre fashions worthy of a John Waters flick, Female Trouble is just another reason why the “Prince of Puke” is probably the only thing charming about contemporary Charm City. With eloquent quotes like, “I wouldn't suck your lousy dick if I was suffocating and there was oxygen in your balls!” in Female Trouble, Waters has singehandedly put Baltimore on the map in the cinema world and for that feat alone, he deserves a statue in one of dilapidated row-house neighborhoods in the city that are now populated by the sort of feral-like beasts that would murder the filmmaker for a nickel.



-Ty E

11 comments:

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Divine snuffed it just 5 weeks after Heather.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Its a shame that John Waters and Divine were faggots, if they`d been straight i think i would`ve actually liked and respected their movies.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I`ve seen the bit where Divine rapes Divine and he did actually look quite convincing as the heterosexual geezer, if only he could`ve been straight in real life as well instead of a dirty queer bastard.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Have you seen Divines college photo from the early 60`s ?, he certainly had the look of a pansy queer bastard, like a bit of his brain was missing, just like John Waters himself and of course Kenneth Anger. Fairys are all born inferior to everyone else.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I wonder if Divine even knew that Heather had snuffed it ?, he was probably so busy with his hideous and loathsome pansy queer bull-shit that he didn`t even notice THE most beautiful girl who ever lived. The curse of faggotry denies those afflicted so mush pleasure.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Why does having a moustache imply that someone is a molester ?, (in this "THE TIME OF SEXUAL REPRESSION"). Oh, of course, its specifically BECAUSE we`re living in "THE TIME OF SEXUAL REPRESSION", i forgot.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Ty E, did you know that John Waters has often hinted at the fact that he might have bi-sexual tendencys, although a lot of people have said that he only does that to try to apease his heterosexual fans, the bloody dirty fairy.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

That bird still had quite good tits, for an old slag.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Theres a British born scumbag actor (although hes been an Australian scumbag for the last 45 years) called John Waters (who is at least rampagingly heterosexual, thankfully), hes often said that it gets on his nerves that theres a more famous American with the same name whos a faggot, because people think that hes a fairy as well.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Just with regards to when Divine eats a dog-turd in Pink Flamingos, only a retarded faggot would do something like that, a normal heterosexual individual would not have done it.

the sneering (homo-phobic) snob said...

I dont like the word "female" because the second syllable of that word is the word "male".