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Desperate Living (1977) - movie overview

Desperate Living (1977)

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Plot Description
Shooting Locations

DVD Release Date
• R1: Sep 7, 2004

Budget $65,000

MPAA Rating

Running Time
1 hour, 30 minutes

Country USA

Studio New Line Cinema

More info on

Other Titles
• Desperate Living
• Mortville (1977)

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Genre: Crime, Comedy, Cult Classic, Campy, Gay/Lesbian, Black Comedy, Exploitation, Satire, Racy, Mental Illness

Tagline: It isn't very pretty.....

Plot: Peggy Gravel (Mink Stole) is a frazzled housewife who has just been released from a mental hospital. Arriving at her suburban Baltimore home in a delicate state, she quickly decides that her husband is trying to kill her...and coerces her rotund maid, Grizelda (Jean Hill), to suffocate him with her ample bottom. In order to escape imprisonment, the unlikely duo seeks refuge in Mortville, a oddball shantytown populated by criminals and social outcasts. To the citizens’ dismay, however, vicious Queen Carlotta (Edith Massey) rules the kingdom with an iron fist. With assistance from a cranky pre-op transsexual (Susan Lowe) and her sexpot lover (Liz Renay), Peggy and Grizelda attempt to navigate their strange new lives.

An antifascist fairy tale obviously influenced by THE WIZARD OF OZ, DESPERATE LIVING creates a true feeling of oppression, amid the expected gross-outs and comedic absurdities. Production designer Vincent Peranio creates an entire village on a shoestring budget, lending the film the effectively disorienting effect of a surrealistic school play. For those who like their comic boundaries dark and stretched to the limit, filmmaker John Waters once again provides sights simply not seen anywhere else.

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 Directed by
John Waters
Serial Mom, Cecil B. DeMented, Pecker
 Written by
John Waters
Hairspray, Serial Mom, Cecil B. DeMented
Liz Renay
Mark of the Astro-Zombies, The Corpse Grinders 2, Blackenstein
Mink Stole
Lost Highway, Serial Mom, Cecil B. DeMented
Susan Lowe
Female Trouble, Multiple Maniacs, Mondo Trasho
Edith Massey
Pink Flamingos, Polyester, Female Trouble
Mary Vivian Pearce
Pink Flamingos, Polyester, Female Trouble
Jean Hill
Polyester, In Bad Taste, All the Dirt on 'A Dirty Shame'
Brook Yeaton
It Came from Baltimore, Ice
 Music By

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Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)
Female Trouble (1974)
Nowhere (1997)
Private Parts (1972)
Dark Backward, The (1991)
Big Empty, The (2003)

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