Russ Meyer is one of those directors whose movies work as a window into their mind and psyche. Watching something like Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! works as a means of discovering what it is, exactly, that turns him on. And the answer is glaringly obvious after the first thirty seconds: Big tits and powerful, intimidating women.
Tura Satana stars as Varla, a bloodthirsty go-go dancer with a penchant for fast cars, with quick money on her mind. Rosie (Haji) and Billie (Lori Williams) are her partners in both dance and in crime. The three of them together form a trifecta of too-cool-for-school wickedness. They don’t care who they have to hurt or what they have to do to get what they want.
Never have I experienced such a disparity between how I feel about the works of someone as opposed to how I feel about the creator of those works. I really like John Waters as a writer, as a person and as a general personality. I do not like his movies so much. If I met him and he were to actually give a shit about my opinion, I think I would say something like, “Your contribution to film has been tremendous! I think, in all honesty, the medium and the world itself is better for their being in existence. I, however, find most of your work to be completely repulsive, amateurish and difficult to watch,” to him.
And I mean it. I think the works of John Waters were needed to shake things up. The world of filmmaking sometimes takes itself so seriously that you need a film like Pink Flamingos, whose most popular virtue is the fact that Divine, the dressed-in-drag star of the film, actually eats dog shit, to make a ton of money at the box office, somehow. People flocked to his movies to laugh, gag, feel bad about themselves while watching, and then feel good about themselves afterward for being so comparatively well-adjusted than the characters they just had to spend so much time with.
Trash has long been considered to be art, provided it’s trashy enough, so it’s not surprising that Janus Films (who are usually known for the works of Kurosawa and Bergman and all those typically “great” films we imagine) would choose John Waters’ sophomore feature, Multiple Maniacs, to be restored, remastered and shown across the country as a sort of prestige work.