Those of you who bought all three John Waters collection DVDs (that means Hairspray / Pecker, Polyester / Desperate Living, and Pink Flamingos / Female Trouble) are in for a little holiday treat. New Line is making available to anyone with all the proofs of purchase for those sets a neat-o John Waters bonus disc. Since this is basically an entire disc of extras, we'll break it down into pieces:Navigation:
The navigation is kind of a mess. I wouldn't usually bother mentioning this but it makes it a bit tough to find the content. Hunting around can be fun (especially when you don't know what you're going to find) but looking for something in particular can be a drag. The disc is organized along a timeline stretching from Waters' birth to the present ("This DVD is produced" is the last entry). Lots of important dates, both in Waters life and in general, are marked off and video and audio clips can be found in the camera and microphone icons, respectively. Still, a menu somewhere with every clip compiled in one place would have been a good addition.
My next favorite item is a short interview with Waters conducted by WJZ's Denise Koch, a strange, shrill newscaster who stands out among the weirdo crowd of Baltimore anchors. Her stoned affect always makes watching the nightly news an adventure and her funny 80's tour of Waters' apartment is perfect.
Also of local interest is what Waters calls the 25 cent tour of Baltimore, a quick drive through some of the city's more decrepit areas. Waters laments the closing of the Wigwam Room, which he says was a velvet rope VIP room for bums.
There are a few interviews with Waters from Boston and San Fransisco tv which are nice for completists, but not essential. Similarly, a recent 20 minute interview from the Sundance Channel is included.Also included is a huge selection of recent interviews with Waters regulars on topics ranging from deceased friends to wild adventures. These are hit and miss as some of these characters are truly too wacked out to tell a coherent story: Several minutes into a ramble about the late Cookie Mueller, Susan Lowe (Mole from Desperate Living mentions that the two were once kidnapped by hootch swilling hillbillies. Say what? Behind the scenes footage from several films is included. The footage from Pink Flamingos should look familiar to those who've seen Steve Yeager's Divine Trash, but it is still a great addition.
The big dissapointment here is that none of Waters early films, like Eat Your Makeup, Roman Candles, or The Diane Linkletter Story are included. The scope does seem a bit narrow, but overall this is still an extremely entertaining disc and an amazing supplement to the other John Waters Collection discs.
Trailers for each of the films in the John Waters Collection are included, although they are also on the individual discs too. Additional publicity materials for some of the films are also included.
"Two notes: (1) John wishes to keep his short films to himself these days and (2) having also done Criterion's POLYESTER and all of John's laser discs and DVDs since and knowing full well what of Waters archive is out there, these materials ARE the masters and most of them are deteriorating 3/4's and VHS dubs."
Mark is right. The content here is indispensible and, my wishlist aside, more than anyone could ask for. It's a shame that Waters isn't interested in releasing the shorts right now (Diane Linkletter has what might be David Lochary's funniest performance) but you can't argue with director's intent. The technical limitations of the material, however, are worth pointing out. Regardless, it's archived now on DVD and won't degrade any further. Thanks Mark!
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