A Damn Dirty Shame

What do a water bottle put in an inappropriate place, an absurdly large pair of breasts and David Hasselhoff all have in common? They’re all key elements of writer-director John Waters’ new NC-17 rated romp “A Dirty Shame” (City Lights Pictures).

A fever is consuming the tranquil Harford Road area of Baltimore, MD, causing sex addicts to emerge everywhere its citizens turn. Sylvia Stickles (Tracey Ullman) is appalled by the sudden shift towards sexual hedonism until she is hit in the head by a passing truck; the benevolent Ray Ray (Johnny Knoxville), the addict’s sexual savior, who witnessed the accident, bestows upon Ullman an insatiable desire for oral pleasure. Ullman finds herself among the messianic sex addicts (who include Selma Blair as Caprice, Sylvia’s mega-mammary daughter), who pit themselves against the conservative neuters (including Chris Isaak as Sylvia’s husband Vaughn) in a fantastic, body-fluid-spattered journey. Their destination is the perfect sex act, one that would release all the dangerous tension the world has pent up in a fabulous globe-wide orgasm.

Why, pray tell, would Waters craft such a spectacle? Is it an attempt to reinvigorate a bored and repressed America? A shot in the numb crotches of neuters everywhere? In a recent Hatchet interview with Waters, he explained his motivations for crafting this sordid tale.

“I’m not bored in America by anything. I’m interested in so much that’s going on right now,” he said. “The reason my movies always seem to have some kind of anarchy in them because I think anarchy is exciting and fun. All the cute kids now are anarchists. I just wanted to go to the conventions and demonstrations because everyone on the streets was so cute.”

He continued, “In the sixties I used to go to riots like you guys would go to a rave. We’d get high, get laid, set some fires and have a fun weekend. I was against the war, too, but I’d go to demonstrations for a lot of reasons. ‘Let’s all go to New Haven this week!’ Then you’d set fires and the Black Panthers would speak and the police would throw tear gas at you, they’d give you a place to stay at Yale in the dorms and you’d hitchhike back. It was fun! It was like a rave.”

“Today kids really can’t sexually experiment like when I was young because there’s so many diseases. So I thought, ‘Maybe we do have to think up a new sex act.’ Imagine if someone really did! It would be a big story. A brand new one that no one had ever heard of that really worked for everybody. A universal new sex act that you couldn’t get diseases from, you couldn’t get pregnant, would be safe. The Pope would go out of business. It would be a really radical new thing. So I’m just being an optimist. You never know.”

“A Dirty Shame” hits theaters on Sept. 17.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.