• Hank Melluish

The Reel Live Boys Discuss "Female Trouble"

On Wednesday we’ll be discussing the 1974 cult film, Female Trouble. I know, I know. It’s going to be good radio. What’s lost on this generation is not only who John Waters is, but even those who know may not be aware that his films weren’t all as silly-camp as Hairspray and Cry-Baby. This one is one outrageously lurid look at society’s obsession with crime and the undue pressures the world puts on working women. Waters grabs these themes and spins with them a trashy camp parable about child abuse, murder, and fascist hairdressers. It’s a hell of a ride.

Succeeding such now-infamous classics as Multiple Maniacs and Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble is the mark of a director’s evolution. It’s steeped in poor taste, up-close male nudity and altogether revolting imagery like each of his previous works, but this is the first time that Waters is out to make a statement. Parallelling the marginalization of his queer cast-members, Waters invokes the divine inspiration of such marginalized genres as the melodrama, drive-in sleaze and the most amateur of pornos. With these, he crafts a stellar and wholly unique narrative.