Saliva Films, 1977, 90 minutes
Starring Mink Stole, Susan Lowe, Edith Massey, Liz Renay, Mary Vivian Pearce, Jean Hill
Desperate Living feels like a fairy tale, a psychotic episode, and a lesbian love story. The story centers around insane housewife Peggy Gravel (Mink Stole) and her obese maid Grizelda (Jean Hill). After murdering Peggy's husband in a fit of rage, the two women seek refuge in the mysterious town of Mortville, a village full of criminals who've fled the straight world.
They take up residence together in a back-woods shack owned by butch dyke Mole McHenry (Susan Lowe) and her glamourous lover Muffy St. Jacques (played by burlesque legend and gun moll Liz Renay). But Mortville is ruled by the cruel and self-serving Queen Carlotta (Edith Massey), who humiliates and tortures her citizens. Peggy, being insane and all, eventually usurps Carlotta's benevolent daughter, Princess Coo-Coo (Mary Vivian Pearce), helping the Queen with her plot to poison Mortville's populace. Revolution ensues, but not until after Mole wins the lottery and gets a penis implant!
Notably absent from Desperate Living is Divine, who was doing stage work at the time, and Dreamland legend David Lochary who passed away in '77 accidentally. In their stead, we get the screen debut of Jean Hill, who would go on to appear in several other John Waters movies.
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