I'm currently having one of them inner conflicts with myself. Now, it's not exactly your classic battle between good and evil. It mostly has to do with how much I should share about my Mondo Trasho experience. On the one hand, I want to dive straight into the fishnet pantyhose that contain Mary Vivian Pearce's legs and feet, and swoosh around in them until I hit her overly buttered crumpet with a resounding thud. On the other–hand, that is–I would like to come across as somewhat normal for a change. You see, my imaginary psychiatrist has been telling me over the past couple of years to tone down the weirdness–embrace my inner square, if you will. Well, it's obvious that I haven't been listening to their advice, as my behaviour has only gotten stranger over the past couple of years. Hey, would you excuse me for a second? Yeah, I've gotta go do something... All right, now that that's taken care of, let's get down to brass fishnets, I mean, brass tacks. Oh, you wanna know what I did while I was away? Why aren't we nosy today. Well, if you must know, I just murdered my imaginary psychiatrist with a pair of scissors (for added drama, they were rustier than Jenna Elfman's unoiled foreskin). Don't worry, though, like I said, my shrink is imaginary; in other words, they didn't feel a thing. What can I say? I was getting tired of the way they kept making me feel guilty about my aesthetic point of view, so I eliminated them. Anyway, you heard right earlier when I uttered two of the sweetest words in the English language, "fishnet pantyhose." Just think, the tightly woven, diamond-shaped material is not only clinging against Mary Vivian Pearce's legs and feet, it's pressing against her consecrated lady parts right as we speak. Okay, maybe not "as we speak," as the movie was made some forty plus years ago. However, since time is irrelevant, her fishnet pantyhose, as far I'm concerned, will always be pushing firmly against her labia. Either way, my corporeal essence already feels like it has spent an eternity living inside her net of leggy desire.
In case you haven't figured it out yet, the first ten minutes of John Waters's feature length debut are as perfect as anything that has ever been created in the history of human existence.
High praise. But can you think of anything that can top the sight of Mary Vivian Pearce waiting for a bus in Baltimore while wearing fishnet pantyhose? You can't, can you? And you wanna know why? Because there is nothing that can top the sight of Mary Vivian Pearce waiting for a bus in Baltimore while wearing fishnet pantyhose. Add a foot fetishist, or was he a shoe fetishist? Add a properly motivated foot/shoe fetishist, a nondescript park bench, and the world's most seductively implemented leg cross to the mix, and we're talking titillation served up on a salty cracker.
Forgive me in advance if I fail to touch on any of the scenes that don't involve Mary Vivian Pearce sitting crossed-legged on a park bench. Though, you can't really blame me. I mean, nothing else tops the sight of the underrated Dreamlander wandering, or, in most cases, being dragged unconscious around Baltimore. Oh, and the less that is said about the film's opening scene, the better. If you must know, a man dressed as a medieval executioner clumsily hacks at chickens with an axe while "Jack The Ripper" by Link Wray and His Ray Men plays on the soundtrack.
Leaving her house wearing a pair of strappy heels, white satin short shorts, a black and white cowboy shirt (tucked in, clean and neat), and, of course, a not yet stained pair of fishnet pantyhose, Mary Vivian Pearce walks over to the bus stop. Exuding an electrifying brand of feminine energy, Mary Vivian, who's credited as "The Bombshell," lights a cigarette and straightens out the seams on the back of her fishnet pantyhose as she waits.
This, I thought to myself as she stood there waiting for her bus to arrive, should have been the whole movie. In fact, the marquee should have simply read: Mary Vivian Pearce Waits for a Bus, starring Mary Vivian Pearce. Seriously, what else could you possibly want in a movie? It's got drama (is her bus ever going to come?), it's got action (did I mention that she straightens out the seams on her fishnet pantyhose?), it's got fashion (I love tucked in cowboy shirts), it's sexy (hello? Mary Vivian Pearce is wearing hot pants in the middle of the day), it's got everything.
Unfortunately, that movie quickly ends when her bus finally decides to show up. But get this, an even better movie is about to start. As she is riding along, reading her book–which I'm sure was a real page turner–I kept thinking about the weather. Of course, I don't mean the weather outside. No, dummy, I'm talking about the weather inside Mary Vivian Pearce, 'cause damn, she looked hot. Later on, as she's walking through the park, you can't help but notice that someone or something is lurking in the trees. While their identity is shrouded in mystery, I can already tell that the person hiding in the woods represents off-kilter heterosexuality in its purest, most honest form.
Taking a break on a park bench, Mary Vivian Pearce rests her right leg on top of her left leg to form a cross-shaped mass of legginess, and begins to feed the insects that have started to congregate on the ground near her feet. After she's finished feeding the bugs, she starts to feed herself candy, when, all of a sudden, the Shrimper strikes! The what? The Shrimper (John Leisenring), a highly motivated foot and shoe fetishist. Grabbing her right foot–which makes sense, as it's the appendage doing the majority of the dangling, and, as most people know, a dangling appendage is a delicious appendage–the Shrimper begins to lavish her foot with a justifiably egregious amount of tongue-based praise. Recoiling in horror almost immediately, Mary Vivian Pearce quickly sizes up her new-found foot admirer and decides to let him have it.
Spooked by a judgmental passerby in pigtails pushing a baby carriage (licking a stranger's foot in public is perverted, yet squeezing an eight pound baby out of your vagina is considered normal?!?), Mary Vivian Pearce and the Shrimper relocate to a more secluded area to restart their foot and mouth affair in private. Lying down on a patch of leaves, the Shrimper gets reacquainted with the delicate contours of Mary Vivian Pearce's exquisite feet. As he's laying waste to her toes with a steady bombardment of gentle kisses and subtle caresses, Miss MVP imagines herself as Cinderella, which is a folk tale about a princely shoe fetishist who gets off on putting designer slippers on shrewish women with mannish feet.
Removing the leaves from her hair after the Shrimper is done with her feet (he just wanders off without saying a word), Mary Vivian Pearce staggers from the scene. Dazed and confused (the shrimper's saliva has no doubt started to congeal around her ankles), she wanders onto the road where she hit by a car being driven by none other than Divine (who was distracted by a naked man hitchhiking). Bloodied and badly injured, the blonde bombshell lies motionless in a ditch. What's this? The fabulous Divine is helping her? I'm sorry, but I'm just not used to the sight of Divine helping other people. At any rate, sporting a belly revealing, gold lame toreador outfit, Divine drags the wounded dame into the back seat of her convertible.
Get used to the sight of Divine carrying Mary's sexy body from place to place, because for the next forty minutes or so, that pretty much describes Mondo Trasho in one of them nutshell thingies.
I know what you're thinking: Where the hell is Mink Stole?!? I won't lie, spending time with Mary Vivian Pearce and her fishnet pantyhose-adorned legs and feet has been a real treat. However, as most people know, I'm a Mink Stole man. So where is she? Well, don't fret Mink fans. She plays three characters in the Mondo Trasho universe. Her first appearance occurs when Divine is trying to find some new duds for Miss Pearce to wear. Playing a homeless woman with dainty wrists, Mink Stole lies unconscious in an alleyway while Divine steals her shoes (I loved the way her body twitches ever so slightly as each shoe is forcibly removed from her feet).
Her second character is a fugitive mental patient who inadvertently gets Divine and Mary Vivian Pearce sent to an insane asylum. If you thought Mary Vivian Pearce looked yummy in fishnet pantyhose, you should see Mink Stole's topless, pantyhose-friendly, flapper-inspired loony bin dance number, it will melt your dog's face. The third Mink character is a gossipy woman who makes fun of Miss MVP and her mutant feet while waiting for a bus with another woman.
Mutant feet?!? Don't ask. You can ask me if I cried when Divine removes Mary Vivian Pearce's fishnet pantyhose in a laundromat. Well, did you? Yeah, I did. It was hard for me to watch Divine forcibly yank them off her lithe frame with little to no regard for how it might affect the deviants wallowing in the audience. The thought that there's virtually nothing pressing snugly against her uncrumpled clit caused me to curl up in a ball and start rocking back and forth like a lunatic who drools a lot. It didn't help matters that I began to mumble the fishnet pantyhose credo: "constriction mixed with ventilation" over and over again in the wonkiest German accent this side of Kaiserslautern as I swayed. The same thing would have happened to me had Susan Berman been forced to remove her fishnet pantyhose in Smithereens, a film that was way more punchy when it came to depicting a pair of fishnet pantyhose under duress in an urban environment.
While dragging you know who's lifeless corpse across Charm City, Divine is periodically visited by The Virgin Mary (Margie Skidmore). Appearing to Divine whenever she's in trouble, the virginal robe enthusiast helps Divine get out of a few jams here and there. These particular scenes are the noteworthy in that they're the only one's that feature audible dialogue. Yep, I'm afraid the film, for the most part, is dialogue-free. Which is weird, since John Waters' movies are usually famous for their outrageous dialogue (you'll have to wait until the end of the film to hear anything that matches the verbal wit of his later films).
The film's story is mostly told via John Waters' record collection. For example, when Mary Vivian Pearce is sitting on the park bench with her legs crossed, "Sitting in the Park" by Billy Stewart can be heard on the soundtrack, and when Divine and Mary Vivian bust out of the mental hospital, we hear "Riot in Cell Block #9" by The Robins. But make no mistake, this is a John Waters film that is shot in black and white and features very little dialogue. And if those things don't sound appealing to you, than I suggest you steer clear of this film, even if you're a fan of Desperate Living and Female Trouble. However, if you're a John Waters completist or happen to have a healthy obsession with women's feet, especially when they're encased in nylons, than by all means, check this flick out.
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