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John Waters’ hard-to-find trash epic Multiple Maniacs gets the Criterion treatment

Multiple Maniacs

You can see a lot of things in John Waters movies, but if you want to see Divine get raped by a giant lobster, you’ll have to do some digging. That outrageous scenario comes literally out of nowhere in the climactic scene of Multiple Maniacs, Water’s second feature film, which stars Divine as the leader of a traveling show of misfits and provocateurs called the “Cavalcade of Perversion” who becomes bored with simply shocking audiences every night and starts killing them instead. (Waters is nothing if not thematically consistent.) The film also marks the first movie appearance by Waters favorite Edith Massey, as well as a blasphemous scene involving Divine, Mink Stole, and a crucifix.

Released in 1970, despite Waters’ devoted cult following Multiple Maniacs has never been released on DVD or Blu-ray. (Its only home-video release was a VHS that came out in 1994.) That may be about to change, as IndieWire reports that the arbiters of taste over at Janus Films (home of the Criterion Collection) have deemed the film worthy of restoration, and will be showing off the newly cleaned-up (visually, not content-wise) film in a series of theatrical screenings.

First up is a screening at the Provincetown Film Festival next week, followed by a tour of U.S. theaters in August, according to a press release obtained by fan site CriterionCast.The tour will begin with an opening-night premiere at the IFC Center in New York with Waters in attendance, probably wearing a very expensive suit that looks like he found it in a dumpster. Always cheeky, Waters says of the release, “Restoration is an amazing thing. Finally, Multiple Maniacs looks like a bad John Cassavetes film! I couldn’t be more thrilled!”

No word yet on a Criterion DVD/Blu-ray release, but it’s unlikely that Janus would spend the time and money to restore the film, only to leave the potential profits from such a release on the table. In the meantime, let’s enjoy this picture of John Waters and Angela Lansbury hanging out at the Criterion offices:

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