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H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Multiple Maniacs [Blu-ray]


(John Waters, 1970)


Coming to Blu-ray in the UK by Criterion March 27th, 2017:


Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Dreamland

Video: Criterion Collection Spine #863



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:36:43.839 

Disc Size: 40,736,571,152 bytes

Feature Size: 28,446,375,936 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.84 Mbps

Chapters: 9

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
New interviews with cast and crew members Pat Moran, Mink Stole, Susan Lowe, George Figgs, and Vincent Peranio (32:26)
New video essay by scholar Gary Needham (10:40)
Trailer (1:32)
PLUS: An essay by critic Linda Yablonsky






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.



The Film:

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.

Multiple Maniacs opens with a gaggle of suburban, pearl-clutching, suffocatingly straight-types being lured into the “Cavalcade of Perversion” – a travelling sideshow of fetishism operated by Lady Divine (Divine) and her boyfriend, Mr. David (David Lochary). The image of Mr. David promoting the show as abounding with “acts that would make any decent person recoil in disgust,” works as a handy metaphor for Waters himself.

Excerpt from TheGlobeandMail located HERE


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.

















Audio :

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.


Extras :

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.




Wow - Multiple Maniacs is so bizarre you can't help but roar with laughter. It's filled with social and religious commentary, amusing circumstances (including the rape via a large lobster), cute dialogue ("I love you so fucking much, I could *shit*"), eccentric characters, murder etc.. Totally fascinating - in its creative unusual-ness. Criterion have created a wonderful keepsake package of this revolting camp-like depravity with their Blu-ray release. I recommend it to those keen on Waters' pioneering eclectic style. 

Gary Tooze

February 16th, 2017

Coming to Blu-ray in the UK by Criterion March 27th, 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.

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