If you’re hankering for a heavy dose of sleaze, you need look no further than John Waters’ 1970 sophomore feature, Multiple Maniacs, which joined our collection this week and is now streaming on the Criterion Channel. Made in Waters’ beloved hometown of Baltimore when he was only twenty-four, this low-budget shocker tears through the sanctimoniousness of suburban America with a ferocity that few of the director’s contemporaries have mustered. In the NSFW excerpt below, the Pope of Trash can be heard at his wisecracking best on the audio commentary, guiding viewers through a scene in which his larger-than-life muse Divine lounges naked at the Cavalcade of Perversion, a traveling tent show introduced at the film’s opening. Watch the clip for Waters’ insights into the influence of foreign cinema on his work, the ironic humor that kept his films from being embraced by grindhouse audiences, and Divine’s emulation of Elizabeth Taylor.
“Sherlock!” Mrs. Hudson called from downstairs. “It’s
Sherlock hurried down the stairs as quickly as he could.
“Ah, (y/n). Finally. John and Mary are preparing dinner upstairs and I’ll be
heading out for a bit.”
“Sherlock!” You said, exasperated. “You promised you’d stay.
Even if you had a case. It’s Christmas for Christ’s sake.”
“I hate Christmas.” He said with a sneer. “It brings about
carolers and holiday cheer.”
“Oh, Sherlock. Promise me you’ll still come home for dinner
“Food is for the weak and I told everyone not to get me
anything. I also did not get anything for anyone else…” He said trailing off.
“Fine. I promise I’ll be home for dinner and presents.” He
said rolling his eyes. “Even if I don’t eat and I don’t have presents.”
“Good boy.” You said smiling brightly. You bounced into the
building away from the cold, chilling air of London. Sherlock moved past you
and into the freezing air.
“I’m not a boy (y/n). I’m a man. A very smart one at that.” He
said quickly, as if in a rush, which to be honest he probably was. He then
briskly walked away. Mrs. Hudson gave you a sad smile.
“Sorry about him dear. That’s Sherlock though. Always
dashing about. Anyhow, might you come up for a spot of tea? John and Mary’s
food smells so delicious.”
You smiled kindly at her, “Of course, Mrs. Hudson. Thank
“Mrs. Hudson!” Sherlock’s loud voice rang from downstairs.
“I’m back for Christmas dinner.” He said in a disgusted tone you could tell he
wasn’t really trying to hide. He walked upstairs quickly, taking the steps two
at a time. He walked past you hastily, using his coat to conceal something that
he was carrying. “Mrs. Hudson, John, (y/n) don’t wait up. I’ll be in my room
wrapping things up. I’ll be back in a wink.” He said winking at you. You
blushed profusely. Trying to cover it up, you said, “Shall we start eating?”
“Of course.” John said with a happy smile.
“Mary, the pie looks delicious.” You said to her.
“Oh, I didn’t make it. John did. He’s a great baker.” She
said bragging slightly about her wonderful husband.
“Well then John, it looks simply divine.” You said excited
to dig in to the wonderful looking food.
Time Skip – After Dinner
“Oh, the meal was so scrumptious.” Mrs. Hudson commented, a
little bit sleepy from the meal.
“It was.” You said, a
bit sleepy yourself. “It was too bad Sherlock didn’t eat anything.” You said
clearing the last of the plates from the table. As if on cue Sherlock emerged
from his room.
“Time for presents.” He said lazily, as if bored with the
whole affair and idea of Christmas. Little did you know, inside he was having a
silent panic attack. He secretly slipped something under the tree.
“Ok.” You said giddily, smiling like a child. “I’m excited
to see what you got me Mr. Holmes.” You said nudging him in the side.
“Nothing.” He responded. “I told you earlier that I didn’t
get anyone anything.”
You looked down, slightly saddened by this sentence. Your
Christmas cheer was being ruined by Sherlock.
“You know you don’t have to be such a spoilsport.”
“I actually do.”
“The idea of buying people presents gives some people
anxiety. Anxiety about not getting the right thing. In fact, it is
scientifically proven that people have more stress around the holidays.” He
said with a completely straight face.
“Really Sherlock? You don’t buy people presents because
you’re afraid you’ll get the wrong thing?”
“That is what I said, yes.” He said rolling his eyes.
“Sherlock… We’re your friends. We’ll be happy with anything
you give us.”
“Really?” He said raising an eyebrow. “Last Christmas John
said he loved my gift. He lied. I read his body language. He was not at all
pleased with my gift. I was given a mental talent for reading people and it is
a blessing and a curse. Let me ask you something, (y/n). Do you sometimes wish
I were a normal person? That I’m unable to read people like a book?”
Without missing a heartbeat, you answered his question
honestly, “No. You are perfect. If you weren’t the way you were you would never
have met me. You never would have been ‘The Great Sherlock Holmes’, and I never
would have come to you with my case.”
He clasped his hands together, thinking deeply. “Hmm… You’re
“As I always am.” You said.
“Not always.” He corrected quickly.
You laughed. John and Mary came out of the kitchen. “What’s
so funny?” John asked.
“Nothing, nothing.” You said. “Let’s go. I can’t possibly
wait any longer. I can feel the presents calling to me.”
“Presents don’t talk.” Sherlock mentioned quietly.
“They do in my mind palace.” You said, teasing him.
He sighed tiredly, “Let’s just get on with the presents.”
John cleared his throat. “Ok then. Let’s see, first
present.” He picked up a box with green wrapping. He said out loud, “For Mary
and John, from (y/n).” You smiled as they unwrapped it together. They pulled
out a small onesie.
“It’s for the baby.” You said smiling brightly. “Do you guys
Mary turned to you. “Oh, (y/n). We love it!” She came over
to hug you.
John said, “Thank you (y/n). It’s a wonderful gift.”
You picked the next box. “For Sherlock, from John and Mary.”
You smiled at the couple as you unwrapped the present for Sherlock. You pulled
out a hat. You laughed. Sherlock rolled his eyes and looked at the hat in
disgust. You smiled at Mary, “Thanks guys.” You looked at John and mouthed,
“I’ll make him wear it.” The next present was for Mrs. Hudson, from John and
Mary. It was a nice pink shawl. John and Mary had given you a nice coat that
matched Sherlock’s. The presents from John and Mary were all wonderful. Next,
it was your turn to give everyone presents. You had already given John and Mary
their present so you gave Mrs. Hudson hers. Sher pulled out a blouse, a skirt,
and a pair of heels all matching the same royal blue color. “Thank you, dear.” She
said smiling at you.
“Of course, Mrs. Hudson.” You said, matching her smile. Then
you handed Sherlock his present. He opened it and was surprised to see a brand
new blue scarf.
“Thank you very much, (y/n).” He said looking over at you.
You smiled at him, “Anything for you, Sherlock.”
Mrs. Hudson seemed to be ready to bounce out of her seat.
Sher quickly handed everyone their presents. Your gift was a nice jumper. “Mrs.
Hudson, did you knit this all by yourself?” You inquired.
“Yes I did.” She said quite proudly. Sherlock’s was a fancy
“Mrs. Hudson, where did you get this?” He asked.
“Oh, it was from a real fancy shop. I know you have a lot of
suits, but this one just seemed to pop to me. It would look perfect on you. I
mean you have all black suits; you never wear blue. I thought it would look
real nice on you.”
“Thank you. I like it.” He said cautiously, as if his words
might offend her. Everyone looked around. There were no more presents to be
opened. Everyone looked expectantly at Sherlock. They didn’t seem surprised,
however. They soon all packed up and left, save for Mrs. Hudson, who had gone
upstairs. You started to clean up the trash on the ground from the presents.
Sherlock watched you carefully, studying you. You had finished clearing all of
the wrapping paper from around the tree when a little twinkle from under the
tree caught your eye. You reached a hand under the tree and felt a box. You
pulled it out. It was a small box covered with shiny silver wrapping paper.
Carefully you turned it over, ‘To my dear (y/n), from your Sherlock,’ it said
in fancy writing on the wrapping paper. You turned to Sherlock and he gave you
a smile. “I didn’t want you to open it in front of everyone.” He said smirking
at your surprised face.
“Here, I thought you were a pompous jackass who was too good
to get anyone anything.” You commented, joking lightly. Sherlock only rolled
“Open it.” He said. “Before I change my mind and return it.”
“Now I know what you meant when you said you were in your
room, ‘wrapping things up’. You meant it literally, that you actually were
‘wrapping something up’. Gosh, you are clever.”
“I know.” He said, sarcastically. “Now open it.”
You excitedly ripped off the wrapping paper. Inside was a
black square velvet box. You gasped in surprise. It was from Tiffany’s. You
traced your fingers along the velvet on the outside of the box. “What is it?”
You asked Sherlock, looking over at him. He only smiled mysteriously.
“Open it and see.”
You opened the box to see the diamond necklace you had been
drooling over for a long time every time you passed the window of Tiffany’s.
“Sherlock! You didn’t have to get me this.”
“I actually did. Did you think I wouldn’t notice how every
day when we walked past the store you looked longingly and lovingly at this
necklace. I read John, I can read you too.”
“Sherlock! This is just too much. I-I” You were at a loss
for words. You looked down at the box and noticed there was another, much
smaller, box inside. You picked it up. “Sherlock… What’s this?”
He stayed silent. So you took the box carefully in your
hands and opened it up. Inside was a beautiful diamond ring. You gasped. “Oh
my. Oh my gosh.” You looked up at Sherlock. He smiled mysteriously.
“I see no need to get on one knee and all so I’ll just say
it. Will you (y/n) (y/l/n) the most beautiful and clever and kind and funny
person I have ever met and also my favorite human being in this entire wretched
world, agree to be my wife?”
“Yes, Sherlock. Yes of course I’ll be your wife.” You stood
up to hug him and as you hugged you noticed a small green plant hanging on top
of Sherlock’s head. You smiled. As you pulled apart from the hug you pecked
Sherlock on the lips.
“What was that for?” He questioned.
“Tradition.” You responded with a smirk.
“I hate tradition.”
“Is there anything you don’t hate?”
“I don’t hate you.”
You smiled softly. “Hey, don’t get soft on me now Mr.