Cover image for Filthy : the weird world of John Waters
Filthy : the weird world of John Waters
Pela, Robert L.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Los Angeles, Calif. : Alyson Books, [2002]

Physical Description:
xii, 209 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN1998.3.W38 P45 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This is both a biography and a cultural study of John Waters, the cult phenomenon behind such films as Hairspray', 'Polyester', 'Cry Baby' and Pecker'. Recollections of friends and colleagues paint a portrait of a director who is both more and less insane than his own vision, while Pela visits a Baltimore that is a surreal reflection of the director's hyperbolic fantasies, including a beyond-the-grave interview with the infamous Divine, and culminating in a book that is as remarkable, hilarious, boundary-pushing and just plain weird as Waters's own films.

Author Notes

Robert L. Pela is a contributing writer for The Advocate and Men's Fitness magazines. His theater reviews appear each week in New Times and on National Public Radio's Morning Edition. When he isn't restoring an ancestral home in Niles, Ohio, he lives in Phoenix and in Bargemon, France

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Late last year, Alyson published My Son Divine by the late drag performer's mother with ace assistance by two filmmakers who shot In Bad Taste and Divine Trash, two documentaries about Waters. This breezy guide to the life and films of the Baltimore filmmaker lacks the research and thoroughness of the earlier effort. Waters's own Shock Value (1981) is still the definitive book on his life and career. Shock covered his early short films and first five full-length features (including Pink Flamingos and Female Trouble). Since the publication of that book, Waters has made six more films (including Hairspray, Polyester and Cecil B. Demented). Instead of offering Waters fans a useful update, Pela recycles information about the earlier films. The author's interest wanes during the later films (the Johnny Depp musical Cry Baby merits a mere three pages and Serial Mom with Kathleen Turner is brushed off in three paragraphs). Equally frustrating are the chapters where Pela makes himself the focus: his disappointing visit to Baltimore; his trip to a spiritual medium to speak with the deceased Divine and his talk with scary, obsessive fans of Waters. A misplaced bluffers guide, which reads more like an appendix, interrupts the chronology midway through to wax on rats, shoplifting, vomit, fat women and other recurring imagery and motifs in John Waters films. The useful filmography (running more than 50 pages) contains fun facts (Best Moment, Low Point, Best Dialogue) and brief reviews. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
The Sky Is Fallingp. 1
One Day in Bumbergp. 10
Divine Interventionp. 18
Divining Divinep. 36
Some Sort of Discoveryp. 48
On Eating Shitp. 63
The Sickest Movie Ever Madep. 72
The Cult of Johnp. 80
Isn't There a Law or Something?p. 93
Faggots, Fat Women, and Pukep. 111
The Triumph of Henny Pennyp. 135
John Waters Filmographyp. 151