Arts and Culture

A newbie's guide to John Waters movies

Half the fun of John Waters fan-dom is initiating newbies into the dark, sexually inappropriate cult of worship. The other half is watching Waters virgins become violently ill and/or mentally unhinged.

But we don't want you poor, deprived noobs going into a John Waters-fest with a completely empty toolbox, so we've prepared this guide for you. Remember that as with all new things, the glass is half-full -- in this case, full of a mixture of feces, vomit and tears.

5. Don't do your research ahead of time.

Don't Google John Waters, don't IMDB any of his films, and for the love of satan, don't ask anyone to try and describe Waters's body of work to you, even if you've been drinking. That would absolutely and completely ruin the experience of watching the films for the first time, and believe me when I clearly state that nothing you will discover on the Internet will prepare you for your first John Waters movie. Unless you grew up in Kansas or watch Brazilian porn -- and in either case, then you are already halfway to becoming a Waters fan without having seen a single movie. 4. Watch the "trashy trifecta" first.

I would highly recommend your flagship Waters movie experience to begin with watching Multiple Maniacs, Pink Flamingos and Female Trouble back-to-back, taking only necessary breaks to use the shitter, get cereal from the kitchen, and load another bowl. If you are really that pressed for time -- have to go back to work making breadsticks at Olive Garden or something -- then at the very least watch Pink Flamingos. This one is considered by some to be the peak of Waters's old-school trash films, and an excellent representation of his directorial style, and genre-specific themes. Do not, under any circumstances, watch Pecker first. Or ever, really. You can be a Waters fan without that one.

3. Do allow your initiated friends to fuck with you. Be a soft, fluffy Care Bear -- let your already-fan buddies mercilessly screw with you while you are enjoying your first taste of Waters. Let them put out cigarettes on your clothes, let them hurl open cans of pork and beans at your genitals, and allow them to streak though the house wearing nothing but your mother's enema bag. This congeniality on your part will do two things: enhance your viewing experience, and give your friends the opportunity to rifle through your mother's bathroom cabinets. 2. Choose your poison wisely.

Getting plowed during movies is a respected, time-honored tradition, but Waters movies require some forethought and special preparation beforehand in order to pay proper tribute to what will likely be a life-altering occurrence for you. You will need to buy booze, weed and a big-ass tub of Twizzlers. Confine your alcohol intake to appropriate swill, such as wine coolers, malt liquor, cheap gin and anything with "premade" and "daiquiri" on the label. Midori sours are encouraged as well. The best weed to smoke while you are watching John Waters' movies is straight sativa--you want an uplifting, energetic high--not indica, because you'll mellow too much, couch-lock, and not want to pay attention to the action on the screen. Steer clear of microbrews--you aren't watching Bruckheimer movies for shit's sake -- and no tortilla chips, because you may choke to death.

1. Lather, rinse, repeat.

You are entering a brave new world of cinema. With that comes both privilege and responsibility. The privilege comes by you having the opportunity to explore such subjects as murder, prostitution, prison, cannibalism, religion, race, fetish, exhibitionism, bestiality--or inter-species erotica, fucko--kidnapping, homosexuality, blood, guts, gore, serial killers, incest, thievery, infidelity, disfigurement, plastic surgery, capital punishment, Stockholm Syndrome, sex addiction, divorce, abortion, alcoholism, drug abuse, macramé and Johnny Depp. The responsibility you will have is to go forth and bring Waters' message of freak celebration to the world, or as his fans would say--Divine and conquer!

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Jenn Wohletz
Contact: Jenn Wohletz