John Waters

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John Samuel Waters, Jr. (born April 22, 1946) is an American filmmaker, actor, writer, personality, visual artist and art collector, who rose to fame in the early 1970s for his transgressive cult films. He is recognizable by his pencil-thin mustache.


  • Animal rights acitivists always say to me, "How could you kill a chicken for a movie?" Well, I eat chicken and I know the chicken didn't land on my plate from a heart attack. We bought the chicken from a farmer who advertised freshly killed chicken. I think we made the chicken's life better. It got to be in a movie, it got fucked, and then right after filming the next take, the cast ate the chicken!
    • From the Pink Flamingos DVD interview
  • Wouldn't you rather your kid be a drug dealer than a drug addict?
    • From 6/28/2010 Colbert Report
  • To me, camp is two older queens talking about Rita Hayworth under a Tiffany's lampshade.
    • From Vice interview


Hag in a Black Leather Jacket (1964, 8mm) Roman Candles (1966) Eat Your Makeup (1968, 16mm)

Mondo Trasho (1969)[edit]

Divine: Oh Mary! Oh Holy Trinity! Oh God! It isn't easy being Divine! The Diane Linkletter Story (1970, 16mm)

Multiple Maniacs (1970)[edit]

Lady Divine: Oh, think of it, Mink. We can perform extreme unction nationwide - Ronald Reagan and his family, the entire Baltimore Police Department, and Barbra Streisand!

Pink Flamingos (1972)[edit]

Crackers: No one sends you a turd and expects to live!

Female Trouble (1974, 16 & 35 mm) Desperate Living (1977, 16 & 35 mm) Polyester (1981) Hairspray (1988) Cry-Baby (1990) Serial Mom (1994) Pecker (1998) Cecil B. Demented (2000) A Dirty Shame (2004)


Shock Value: A Tasteful Book About Bad Taste (1981)[edit]

  • To me, bad taste is what entertainment is all about. If someone vomits while watching one of my films, it's like getting a standing ovation. But one must remember that there is such a thing as good bad taste and bad bad taste.
  • To understand bad taste one must have very good taste.
  • I would never want to film hard-core pornography, because it always looks like open-heart surgery to me.
  • [I] pride myself on the fact that my work has no socially redeeming value.
  • "How could you think of such awful things?" liberal critics always ask. "How else could I possibly amuse myself?" I always wonder.
  • Life is nothing without a good sense of humor.
  • I'll never be able to do a sequel to Pink Flamingos because it would have to end with Divine taking a shit and the dog eating it.
  • Parents should worry if their children haven't been arrested by the time they turn sixteen. Being a juvenile delinquent is a birthright and as much a part of healthy adolescence as smoking cigarettes or getting pimples.
  • I'd never trust anyone who hadn't spent at least one night of his youth in the local jail. The more hell you raise as a teen-ager, the sweeter your memories will be.
  • I would never want to live anywhere but Baltimore... It's as if every eccentric in the South decided to move north, ran out of gas in Baltimore, and decided to stay. No one moves here.
  • I stopped taking drugs when I realized that pot smelled bad and LSD trips were becoming like TV reruns. I had had enough inner journeys — I felt I knew myself well enough, thank you.
  • All people look better under arrest.
  • Going to a sensational murder trial is the only way I can relax.
  • Cheer up. You never know — maybe something awful will happen tomorrow.

Role Models (2010)[edit]

  • If you go home with someone and they don't have books, don't fuck them.


  • Waters might, once upon a time, have been a candidate to be the American Buñuel, especially when he had the raw hatred of Divine under his command...

See also[edit]

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