John Waters, Lady Divine and Crazy New Flick, ‘Multiple Maniacs’


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May 21, 1970, Vol. XV, No. 21

by Howard Smith

JOHN WATERS, the film-maker best known for “Mondo Trasho,” his underground satire of violent sexploitation movies, has just finished a hiply sleazy monster movie called “Multiple Maniacs.” According to Waters, “the plot is ridiculous and complicated: Lady Divine and her boyfriend Mr. David run a traveling freak show (the Cavalcade) that lures young housewives, businessmen, and suburban swingers out of their ranch homes and into a small tent to gawk at all their favorite ‘horrors’ (junkies, homosexuals, pornographers) only to be robbed and sometimes murdered by the psychotic Lady Divine and her gang of drug casualties.

“Mr. David realizes that his six-year-old romance with Lady Divine is crumbling and attempts to take up with Bonnie, a brainless chatterbox he met at the world premiere of ‘Inga.’ Lady Divine hears of their affair through the grapevine and begins to lose control; she goes to an empty church and ‘for the first time in her life tries to make some sort of spiritual contact with her maker.’ At the church she meets Mink Stole, a religious maniac, and with her help and moral support, sets out to murder the adulterous pair. After the murders are more or less a reality, Lady Divine loses her mind completely and is attacked by a 15-foot lobster (Lobstora). Dazed and crazed, she staggers into the streets causing mass panic and is finally gunned down by the National Guard in front of a crowd of thrill-seeking citizens. Other characters in “Multiple Maniacs” are Divine’s daughter Cookie, Ricky the bodyguard, Edith the barmaid, Sharon Tate, Jesus Christ, and the Infant of Prague.”

PASSAGE of the abortion reform bill may be only the first step toward women’s control of their own bodies, as some investigative members of New York Radical Feminists are beginning to find out. Although the new law stipulates no residency requirements or permission from the husband, they claim that some hospitals are quietly going ahead with such arbitrary restrictions of their own, hiding their decisions and policies behind a complicated bureaucratic maze.

Several different women’s lib groups, operating out of the Women’s Center (36 West 22nd Street), are planning neighborhood actions by local women against the hospitals that should, but don’t, serve them. This Saturday, at 11 a.m., there will be an open meeting at the Center, to pass out lists of questions that will force hospitals to give a clear-cut account of their politics.

WOMEN’S LIBBISTS have a hard time convincing people that they’re sincere; too many men like to pass them off as horny old maids or thwarted authoritarians. One of my readers, who is guilty of this frivolous view, wrote to me recently, and since he really asked for it, I am reprinting his letter, and at his request, his phone number:

“I am forming a Male Liberation group to fight Women’s Liberation and what I consider pure bullshit as to who’s really oppressed in America. I may call it MALE — Men Against Lovely Enemies. Also writing book, ‘The American Woman — the World’s Most Worthless’ (a comparative study of American females vs. Japanese and Scandinavian, as to which groups satisfy their men more).

“I’ll make the following offer to any leader of any Women’s Lib group at any time to debate publicly (including radio) on the following salient points (I’m in favor of equal pay for equal work, but demand equal responsibility regarding finances, for as in racial problems, economics, MONEY, is at the root of it all): 1) Pay your own way, when you’re single; 2) earn your own way when you’re married; 3) refuse alimony/support after you’re divorced; 4) refuse to collect from the estate after he’s dead; 5) develop big muscles for man-sized job; 6) get me pregnant.

“If the WL chicks really want true equality, I’ll be more than happy to give it to them — with none of the typical female double standard (equal privileges plus feminine privileges) that usually applies. But they’ll have to meet the above six points first — especially number six…I’ll take on all the uptight chicks — and triumph!”

If you want to take on Thomas, call him at 787-9396.

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