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Multiple Maniacs [Blu-ray]
(John Waters, 1970)
Review by Gary Tooze
Video: Criterion Collection Spine #863
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 40,736,571,152 bytes
Feature Size: 28,446,375,936 bytes
Video Bitrate: 34.84 Mbps
Case: Transparent Blu-ray case
Release date: March 21st, March 27th, 2017
Aspect ratio: 1.66:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
English (SDH), none
• New audio commentary featuring Waters
Description: John Waters’ gloriously grotesque second feature is replete with all manner of depravity, from robbery to murder to one of cinema’s most memorably blasphemous moments. Made on a shoestring budget in Waters’ native Baltimore, with the filmmaker taking on nearly every technical task, this gleeful mockery of the peace-and-love ethos of its era features the Cavalcade of Perversion, a traveling show mounted by a troupe of misfits whose shocking proclivities are topped only by those of their leader: the glammer-than-glam, larger-than-life Divine, out for blood after discovering her lover’s affair. Starring members of Waters’ beloved regular cast, the Dreamlanders (including David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce, Mink Stole, Susan Lowe, Edith Massey, George Figgs, and Cookie Mueller), Multiple Maniacs is an anarchic masterwork from an artist who has doggedly tested the limits of good taste for decades.
Another effort from notoriously tasteless duo John Waters and Divine, Multiple Maniacs finds heavyweight transvestite Divine as the maniacal head of a group of murderous kidnappers. Bent on ridding society of it's most boring element, suburbanites, Divine and company tour under the guise of Lady Divine's Cavalcade of Perversions, a not-so-elaborate ruse to lure in the most complacent element of the population and slaughter them en masse. Mesmerized by promises of "actual queers, kissing on the lips," and other such promises of lurid thrills, the plan works like a charm until a vicious love triangle leads to a risky plot to murder ringleader Divine. Despite their past, Divine's partner David (David Lochary) and scheming newcomer Mary Mary Vivian Pierce) plot to dispose of the murderous murderess just as Divine is planning to fire David. Enraged at the sudden turn of events, Divine hits the streets in anger only to find innovative uses for a rosary before being raped by a man in a dress and a giant lobster.Excerpt from B+N located HERE
In 1970, Waters was an aggressively weird underground concern. The
recent remastering and re-release of Multiple Maniacs, his second
feature, offers an opportunity to get reacquainted – not just with the
perverse, filthy bent of Waters’s early output, but with a radical,
confrontational configuration of an American queer cinema that’s worlds
away from contemporary prestige romances such as Carol or LGBTQ problem
pictures such as Freeheld. Multiple Maniacs doesn’t court
respectability. This is a film in which a voluptuous drag queen is
anally pleasured with a rosary in a church pew, while a bloody montage
of Christ’s passion and suffering unfolds in her mind.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
John Waters' uproariously bizarre and fun Multiple Maniacs arrives on Blu-ray from Criterion is advertised as from a "New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director John Waters". It was shot in 16mm but looks beautifully rich with grain on this is dual-layered disc sporting a max'ed out bitrate. Contrast is wonderful, although scenes with an abundance of white can look blown-out. There are some irregularities that seem appropriate to the original production. Still, I was genuinely impressed with the visuals and I can't image the film, even initially, ever looking this strong. There is minor depth but no noise and this representation has consistent and finely supported grain structure. Impressive indeed.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The audio is uncompressed via a 1.0 channel mono linear PCM (24-bit) and sounds very consistent and clean. There is no credited score although music, and guitar riffs, are heard - and some will recognize Elvis Presley's Just Because and Jailhouse Rock. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A' disc.
Criterion include a new audio commentary featuring Waters, and it's a good one - well worth the time to indulge. Plus there are new interviews, running over 1/2 hour in total (filmed in Baltimore), with cast and crew members Pat Moran, Mink Stole, Susan Lowe, George Figgs, and Vincent Peranio reminiscing, what they recall of meeting Waters and the production "after all it was the 60's'. Many will appreciate the new, 11-minute, video essay by scholar Gary Needham entitled The Stations of Filth. Lastly is a, re-release, trailer and the package has a liner notes booklet with an essay by critic Linda Yablonsky.
February 16th, 2017
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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