Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay about the marvelous trash factor of John Waters’ Pink Flamingos.
There’s depravity…and then there’s 1972’s Pink Flamingos. Directed, written, produced, narrated, shot, and edited by counterculture icon John Waters, Pink Flamingos tells the deliciously degenerate tale of a handful of ne’er-do-wells vying for the title of “the filthiest person alive.” Abhorrent one-up-manship ensues, including (but not limited to) murder, cannibalism, gluttony, exhibitionism, [redacted], [also redacted], and [absolutely redacted].
As its tagline unabashedly boasts, Pink Flamingos is a feature-length “exercise in poor taste,” a shocking display of outrageous, grotesque, and bizarre obscenities that are sure to upset the strongest stomach. The film has been banned in multiple countries and repeatedly garners the most restrictive viewer advisory possible. (Waters once told The Washington Post that he “loved the idea of the ratings board having to sit down to watch it,” which, to be fair, is a very funny mental image).
And yet, as the video essay below explains, for all its infamously debauched displays, the film’s impact on pop culture cannot be denied. Fashioned after pre-Stonewall Underground Cinema, Pink Flamingos is an important and influential cultural object in LGBTQ spaces. And the film has been described as a vital precursor to the punk movement, precisely because, not in spite, of its messiness.
A word of caution: while the video essay below does not feature any visuals of the film’s more extreme and upsetting scenes, they are described. So be mindful of your limits (we all have them) and proceed on your own terms.
Watch “Pink Flamingos – Reflecting On Peak Trash Cinema“:
Who made this?
You Have Been Watching Films is produced by United Kingdom-based writer Oliver Bagshaw. The channel provides video essays on an assortment of films, from cult to classic strains of cinema history. You can subscribe to their YouTube channel here. And you can follow them on Twitter here.
More Videos Like This
- “I feel like I’m shoplifting!” Here’s John Waters ravaging the Criterion closet (his picks include The Blob and 8 1/2).
- Want another sample of You Have Been Watching Films? Here’s a video on why Yorgos Lanthimos‘ Dogtooth packs a satirical punch without spoon-feeding its audience.
- And another: on how Nagisa Ōshima‘s In The Realm of the Senses transcends transgression to paint a poetic portrait of intimate obsession.
- Why the short documentary Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe is more profound than its blunt title suggests.
- And here’s why Jan Švankmajer’s short film Food is a real gut-buster…in more ways than one.