Underground Film Journal

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Watch Now: 1984 Interview With John Waters

By Mike Everleth ⋅ September 3, 2012

Cult filmmaking icon John Waters is interviewed on a Provincetown public access TV show way back in 1984. Taped before Waters hit mainstream success with Hairspray, the most fascinating aspect of this casual chat is his discussion of the never-made Pink Flamingos II and another unrealized project called Hatchet-Face.

This video was brought to our attention by Robert Maier, a longtime collaborator on Waters’ early films that Maier documented in his must-read book Low Budget Hell. Over on his blog, Maier shares some of the backstory of where Waters was in his career during this interview, which was basically nowhere.

Waters also discusses in some detail his absence from filmmaking between Polyester and Hairspray in his book Trash Trio, which includes the full script for the never produced Pink Flamingos II. Left to raise money for the film on his own, Waters could never find the right investor for the large budget — $600,000 — he needed to fulfill his vision. The film, called Flamingos Forever in Trash Trio, is basically a rehash of the original with Divine competing for the “filthiest person alive” title with a pair of necrophiliac, child-kidnapping funeral home directors.

Smartly, Waters would change directions completely and eventually write and direct the PG-rated Hairspray, leaving his “underground filmmaker” tag behind and adopting a more amped-up, media-friendly public persona.

(On a trivia note, Waters fans will notice that the Hatchet-Face idea he discusses would eventually become one of the characters in Cry-Baby, played by actress Kim McGuire.)

Part Two of the above interview is embedded below:

John Waters circa 1984 on public access tv