Along with Pink Flamingos (1972), this is the film that gained cult director John Waters his trophy for spectacularly redefining melodrama.
It features the transvestite Divine as the larger-than-life bad girl Dawn Davenport, on a perverse quest for self-realisation, following a disastrous Christmas morning in which her parents fail to deliver the requested cha-cha heels.
The squeamish solo delivery of her baby is the first scene in what turns out to be a true mother-and-daughter-from-hell scenario, with Mink Stole in hyper tantrum mode as the insufferable brat, Taffy.
Also noteworthy is the overflowing, endearing Edith Massey in a category of acting all her own.
Waters’ disregard for the genteel is in full force throughout (and this remains the favourite of his hardcore fans). Those with a sensitive disposition be warned: this is an unhinged celebration of bad taste.
Dawn Davenport/Earl Peterson
Mary Vivian Pearce
Aunt Ida Nelson