"I think it's the future of city living."
-Person in trailer
I don't love Pink Flamingos. I respect the hell out of it, but I don't love it. Regular readers of my blog are no doubt aware of my deep and abiding affection for all things John Waters. Pink Flamingos, however—one of the films most synonymous with the king of filth—is the only picture in Mr. Waters' oeuvre I have never seen more than once. Yes, I absolutely love the demented, filthy spirit of the fucking thing, but I'm a little too weak-stomached for much of this picture. Of course, Pink Flamingos is nauseating by design. Waters meant to rile up the squares with this picture, and for that I am ever grateful.
I also respect this film for its status in the midnight movie canon. As we all know from such recent midnight movie revival hits as Troll 2 and The Room, the midnight movie is as much, if not more, about the the communal experience as it is about the movie itself. Yeah, back in the midnight movie heyday of the seventies, you may have wanted to see how shocking or absurd such and such picture was, but you also just really dug getting loaded and stoned on primo grass (my slang dictionary tells me this is modern speak for mischief) in a theater filled with rowdy freaks.
And so it's no surprise that the trailer for Pink Flamingos played up this aspect to the nth degree. As John Waters states in the trailer's intro—made, I'm pretty sure, for the nineties video release of the movie—no actual footage from Pink Flamingos was shown in this trailer. And with good reason: ain't much in this proudly filthy movie you could show in a general audience trailer. So, as I said before, why not play up the communal midnight movie experience.
Honestly, the trailer style employed by Pink Flamingos is one you've all grown accustomed to, by now. Everyday folks exit the theater showing the movie the trailer is advertising. Camera in face, the person on the street raves about the movie. With this trailer, however, we are treated to some decidedly mixed reviews. And that's the point: It's a shocking movie; that's the draw. You go to a movie such as this as a litmus test for your filth cred.
I should also point out that, unlike the standard trailer of this type, the folks interviewed for Pink Flamingos are of a decidedly mixed set—the hoitiest of the toity, art-house types, bearded hippies, suit-wearing types, gay folks, straight folks, and cowboys (well, one cowboy to be exact). This is a wide swath of the American public you're not likely to see represented in movie advertisements. Most shocking, the first person in the trailer is a middle-aged, well-to-do type who, beaming a smile, states that some of her friends thought the movie absolutely marvelous. There's no accounting for taste.