John Waters was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1946. For those of you
who don't know, Maryland can be a pretty strange place to grow up. Luckily
for John, 1960's Baltimore had a few saving graces. Here he would meet
the men and women willing to work in front of and behind the camera
on his self-written, self-produced and independently financed movies.
Waters went from a local boy
making cheap, underground movies to a local man making counter-culture
Hollywood comedies. But don't be fooled by the veneer - all of his films
were shot on location in Baltimore and with very modest budgets. The
star power of his post-Hairspray films demonstrate his influence and
Waters writes all his own films, and elements of filth and
debauchery exist in all his screenplays. Also present in many of his films is the duality of sincerity
and squashed innocence of late 50's and early 60's Americana: sweet
mothers who make breakfast for a family of four versus cheap girls who
have babies in the backs of cars.
John is also an accomplished writer, photographer and visual artist. He has published
multiple volumes of his journalistic exploits, screenplay collections,
Of course, he is most well known for breaking boundaries of acceptable
filmmaking. Drugs, queers, abortion, religion - nothing is sacred in
his field of vision. When asked about it, he says "secretly I think
that all my films are politically correct, though they appear not to
be. That's because they're made with a sense of joy." And perhaps
that is why so many people from all around the world take such joy in
If you'd like to get an idea of Mr. Water's influences, check out these other directors:
D. Wood, Jr
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Herschell Gordon Lewis
Or read Stephen Holden's review of the documentary Divine
Trash for a glimpse into his past.
Another major influence on Mr. Waters... The Wizard of Oz.
"When they throw the water on the witch, she says, 'Who would have thought a good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness'. That line inspired my life. I sometimes say it to myself before I go to sleep, like a prayer.
You can read more about John Waters thoughts on The Wizard of Oz in The Film That Changed My Life: 30 Directors on Their Epiphanies in the Dark by Robert K. Elder.
DreamlandNews © 2016 Jeff
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