Mondo Trasho (1969)

Mondo Trasho (1969)

“It isn’t easy being Divine!”

While ogling a naked hitchhiker, a beefy transvestite (Divine) accidentally runs over a young woman (Mary Vivian Pearce) who was recently accosted by a foot fetishist in the park. After Divine envisions the Virgin Mary (Margie Skidmore), she and Pearce are kidnapped and taken to a lunatic asylum, where they witness a semi-nude tapdancer (Mink Stole) performing, then escape to a clinic run by a mad scientist (David Lochary) who wants to mangle Pearce’s feet.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • John Waters Films
  • Living Nightmare
  • Mad Doctors and Scientists
  • Surrealism

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that “John Waters’s first feature-length film” “has an offensive pre-title sequence” and “if you walk out at this point, you won’t miss much.” He acknowledges there’s some “humor at the beginning when star Mary Vivian Pearce (who’s made up to look like a sluttish Jean Harlow) has her toes sucked on by a stranger in the park while she excitedly fantasizes she’s scrubbing floors and being pushed around by her stepsisters”, as well as “a couple of funny moments when Divine pushes Pearce’s unconscious body around in a wheelchair” and “a funny finale when Pearce suddenly appears on a Baltimore street by clicking her heels together and finds herself being mercilessly insulted by two women trying to guess what kind of lowlife she is.” However, as he points out, “the rest of the film will bore all but Waters’s strongest fanatics”, given that “little is funny or comprehensible”. He concedes that “it does have a fabulous old rock soundtrack… but Waters is like a nervous guy who can’t stop turning the radio dial” and “he’ll drive you crazy by switching songs every few seconds”. Peary’s assessment is pretty much spot on: while “some bits may be of interest because they would be repeated with better results in Waters’s more sophisticated films”, only his strongest fans need check out this early oddity.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Some effectively surreal and/or notable moments

Must See?
No, unless you’re a diehard Waters fan.


One thought on “Mondo Trasho (1969)

  1. Agreed – not must-see, but certain cult film lovers will probably disagree with that.

    I’ve seen this film once, and there’s one thing I clearly remember about it: I hated it. 😉 I actually remember that thought being in my head while watching it.

    The first John Waters film I saw was ‘Pink Flamingos’ so I was already familiar with his …um, approach to filmmaking. But at least ‘PF’ had …something. ‘MT’ was just plain bad (and not at all ‘fun bad’).

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