The film(s) that Doesn’t Exist is an original idea conceived by DMovies’ editor Victor Fraga. The films were imagined by John Bleasdale. The artwork [posters] by Nick Ikin. The image above is a courtesy of the Marianne Boesky Gallery.
You can purchase the print edition of Doesn’t Exist’s tribute to John Waters, including an exclusive interview with John himself, and materials never before published by clicking here.
John Waters has been called many things. The Anal Anarchist, the Ayatollah of Crud, the Beast of Baltimore, the sickest man in America, Pencil Moustache of the Year [1971-2022], the Pope of Trash! The last moniker was disposed upon him by no less a figure than William S. Burroughs. Ever since his emergence in sixties Baltimore as an under-the-underground filmmaker, Waters has been deliciously poking a dirty stick into the eye of good taste for decades. From the black and white short Hag in a Black Leather Jacket (1964) to his final A Dirty Shame (2004), Waters and his Dreamlanders troop of actors and a loyal crew of collaborators have inflicted a shocking, hilarious and filthy campaign of subversion and perversion in the world of film. Like every great director, he had his muse in the voluptuous drag queen Divine and together they even managed to squeeze into the mainstream with their hit musical Hairspray (1988), staying only long enough to leave a stain.
And then the films just stop. Who knows why? And Divine [alas] had died back in 1988, three weeks after hitting the big time with Hairspray. Sure, we got a pretty good stand up special with This Filthy World and bibliophile Waters has written some good books, especially ‘Carsick’ which saw our intrepid director hitchhiking across the USA.
Fortunately, if John Waters has taught us one thing, it’s that it’s better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission. So, we’ve taken the liberty of presenting 10 pitches for possible John Waters films, all bearing in mind that although the filmmaker wrote the scripts for all of his films, the same does not happen here, as these are imaginary pieces, with no involvement from the filmmaker. These imaginary films are listed in alphabetical order.
1. American Basements:
As Michelle Obama almost said: “When they go high, we go low”. Specifically, out the back, down the stairs and into the basement. Taking his inspiration from Ulrich Seidl’s documentary, Waters dives into the subterranean rooms to rummage in the architectural subconscious of middle America. The dens where all manner of perversion and weird behaviour can be found: from kinky sex freaks to hoarders of used toilet paper; White Supremacists preparing for Helter Skelter to teenagers playing something sick called Dungeons and Dragons. Although inspired by Seidl, Waters adds Werner Herzog narration in which the Bavarian filmmaker comments blithely on the sordid and remarkable events enfolding, drawing out of them a commentary of the vast cold indifference of the universe and the brief flickering nothingness of our own tawdry existence. To be released on Christmas Day.
John Waters once described Joseph Losey’s Boom! (1968) as “beyond bad. It’s the other side of camp. It’s beautiful, atrocious, and it’s perfect”. Starring Elizabeth Taylor as a dying rich woman and Richard Burton as a kind of angel of death and based on a play by Tennessee Williams, the film really ought to be good, but it is not. Rather than being an attempt to improve the original [which he obviously believes would be impossible], Waters’ remake is inspired by Gus Van Sant’s shot-by-shot exact reproduction of Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960). Lindsay Lohan will take on the role of Flora ‘Sissy’ Goforth, while the Burton part of Chris Flanders, nicknamed Il Angelo Dellamorte goes to Alec Baldwin. Noel Coward’s Witch will be played by James Corden.
Everybody has been making Pandemic films. Excruciatingly boring video diaries mixed with pat observations and stuff cadged from the 24 hour news services, or TikTok. On the plus side you do get to see into everybody’s homes so it is with John Waters’ new documentary which sees him getting organised for the next pandemic. Using the services of the Queer Eye Fab Five, Waters seeks to transform his environment and his life and proof it against the calamities that are undoubtedly around the corner. Antoni Porowski, Tan France, Karamo Brown, Bobby Berk and Jonathan Van Ness however find that the tables are soon turned when a large mousetrap kind of cage drops on them on entering Waters’ Baltimore dwelling. Here, they will be trapped for 120 days while they are taught how to really look after your hair, skin, wellness, home, and fashion. Waters will also use the opportunity to ‘craft a narrative’ for Karamo, which will once and for all reveal the gaping vacuum that lies at the centre of everyone’s lives and how everything is meaningless and nobody truly loves anybody.
4. Dog Shit Scene Take 15:
James Franco actually originated this production in the tradition of his films ‘Interior Leather Bar’ and ‘The Disaster Artist’, but for some reason his star has fallen of late. Who knows why? So with the financing and script in place who better than John Waters to come in and pick up the reins? He might want to jiggle the script somewhat but there is plenty of potential here. Essentially Hollywood loves nothing more than retelling its own origin story – we’ve had films about the making of anything from Psycho to Mary Poppins (Robert Stevenson, 1964), so why not a film about the making of Pink Flamingos (Waters, 1972), centred on the canine poop snack which made Divine redefine the words ‘doggy bag’. Jonah Hill will play Divine in a role that will transform his image from that of the friendly innocuous schlub to the raging and inspirational queen.
5. The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers:
Comic books! That’s what the kids want. The Marvel and DC comic book universes might not have enough coprophagia for you and you don’t want the easy patriotism of Captain America or the Late Capitalist fantasies of Iron Man franchise. Even the fake bullshit irony of Deadpool (Tim Miller, 2016) is lame, one reference to ‘pegging’ does not a subversive make. So why not take as inspiration another kind of comic book: the underground comic book genius of Gilbert Shelton. His creation slouched onto the scene in 1968 aptly enough and features the three musketeers of dope smoking: Freewheelin’ Franklin Freek, Phineas T. Phreak, the intellectual and idealist of the group and Fat Freddy Freekowtski. The street smart Franklin will be played by Jonah Hill; Mark Ruffalo will play the intellectual of the group Phineas and Fat Freddy will be played by Seth Rogen who has also written the script following extensive research. Fat Freddy’s Cat will be animatronic rather than CGI. And remember: “Dope will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no dope.”
6. Ilsa She Wolf of the SS: The Musical:
Cate Blanchett is Ilsa Koch, the most infamous and controversial dominatrix of National Socialism in this remake of the 1975 classic of Nazisploitation. Koch runs a concentration camp where every day is passed in sadistic torture and every night she picks a victim from the prisoners to try to fulfil her insatiable sexual appetite. She meets her match when she meets Wolfe [Bradley Cooper], an Aryan ideal of physical beauty and sexual prowess and stamina. Finally fulfilled, she lets down her guard and falls in love. Unbeknownst to her though, Wolfe is a partisan plotting a rebellion from within the camp as Allied forces approach from the West. Songs by Tim Rice and Elton John include the hits: Saturday Night’s All Reich, I Guess That’s Why They Call Them the Jews and I’m Still Sieg Heiling.
What more fitting tribute could there be to the diva of disgust than a biopic written and directed by her friend and collaborator John Waters? Harris Glenn Milstead was a shy unassuming boy, who grew up to be the most famous drag queen in the US. The film – in true biopic style – would open with his death of heart failure in a hotel room in Los Angeles and feature a series of flashbacks charting his double life. Hairdresser by day; underground film star by night: always keeping his theatrical career a secret from his conservative parents. And then his career as part of the disco scene. Of course, casting would require someone of phenomenal acting skill and appeal to the LGBTQ community. The choice is obvious: Kevin James not only physically resembles Divine, but with his boundary breaking comedy ‘I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry’, considered by many to be THE queer comedy of the 2007s.
8. Pink Flamingos 2:
At some point everyone has to do a sequel. And ‘Hairspray’ has already become a Broadway musical and then a film based on it. So we need to go back to basics and where more suitable than one of John’s own most infamous films? In the original of course it was Divine who went head to head against a pair of baby farmers to claim the title of “Filthiest Person in the World”. The sequel will be conceptually the same though with different characters. Now Elon Musk [Benedict Cumberbatch] will compete with Jeff Bezos [Kevin Spacey]. As one calls someone organising the rescue of children a Paedo and smokes dope with Joe Rogan while the other forces his employees to piss in bottles while stepping over dead people at work. In the final scene, they both head up into space in penis shaped rockets and trapped in orbit are forced to each other, starting with their toes and fingers and working their way inwards.
9. Trump in Moscow:
Originally, Trump in Moscow was a project being written and produced by Adam McKay, in the tradition of his subtle political satires ‘The Big Short’, ‘Vice’ and ‘Don’t Look Up’. But McKay withdrew from the project following an argument with star and producing partner Will Ferrell who was insisting the film be good. Ferrell is uncanny in the role of the Orange One and here reenacts one of the most infamous episodes in Donald Trump’s pre-Presidential career. The year is 2013 and Trump is in Moscow to celebrate the Miss Universe beauty pageant. He’s also there to cultivate a relationship with Vladimir Putin [Steve Carell] in the hope of building Trump Tower Moscow. But in the Carlton Ritz hotel suite where Trump is staying – the same used by his arch enemy Barack Obama [Jeffrey Wright] – The Apprentice star is letting his imagination run wild with a series of high-class call girls and room service supplying the Perrier and the rubber sheets.
This rags to rags story will see Zoë Kravitz star as Valeria Solanas, the author of the SCUM manifesto: SCUM standing for the Society for Cutting Up Men. In this Oscar-bait biopic, we follow how Valeria comes from humble beginnings to fall in with the 1960s glamour crowd hanging out at Andy Warhol’s Factory. Warhol – played by Eddie Redmayne – loses the script of her play Up Your Ass and Solanas turns up to the Factory with a gun and holds Warhol and art critic Mario Amaya [Stanley Tucci] hostage. This is where Waters Tarantinos the facts. Instead of shooting them [non-fatally] and then turning herself into the police, she forces Warhol and Mario to enact Up Your Ass, a play which Warhol had told his fellow underground cine freaks was so pornographic he had assumed it was an attempt to entrap him by law enforcement. The resulting post-modern mishmash breaks down the walls between art and artifice, cinema and pornography, good taste and fun times.
This articles and its contents (words/text) are pieces of fiction as imagined by John Bleasdale. The posters and their contents (image/illustrations/graphics are pieces of fiction imagined by Nick Ikin.
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