Mondo Trasho: John Waters Debut

“Mondo Trasho,” the first feature directed by Waters, was mostly a silent comedy, in black-and-white, costing only $2,000. For long stretches of time, not much happens in this rough and amateurish film in which the “plot” is propelled by old rock songs.

In its amusing moments, “Mondo Trasho” tells the story of a woman (Mary Vivian Pearce) who has a very bad day. First, she is accosted in the park by a foot-fetishist who sucks her toes. Running away, she is hit by a driver (played by Divine), who loses control of the wheel while staring at a naked man hitchhiking by the roadside. Divine takes Pearce along with her, making her over with shoplifted clothes.

Later on, both women are kidnapped by a mad doctor (David Lochary), who amputates Pearce’s feet, replacing them with those of a chicken. She eventually gets her feet back, and even gains magical powers that let her click her heels, just like Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz.” Divine, however, meets her doom in a muddy pigsty. Pearce materializes in downtown Baltimore, where elderly women with beehive hairdos curse her until she clicks her heels again and disappears.