Defined by dictionary.com:
1. An affectation or appreciation of manners and tastes commonly thought to be artificial, vulgar, or banal.
2. Banality, vulgarity, or artificiality when deliberately affected or when appreciated for its humor.
John Waters is the King of Camp. Campy comedy is rarely even seen anymore outside of his films, and John himself has toned it down a bit in recent years. You have to go back to 1970 to see one of his stars being raped by a 15 foot lobster. (That was in Multiple Maniacs. If you are not familiar with camp, do not start your journey with this film or you’ll end up screaming in a padded cell.)
I know that this is because it is an under appreciated form of humor. I think that this has a lot to do with audiences being too stupid to get the joke. Shame on you, John, for not just “going there” anyway even if it means only a small audience can follow.
Mainstream is not all it’s cracked up to be. Audiences loved Home Alone, one of the blandest, most inane pieces of doggie doo ever to be put on film. Glorified mediocrity. No, I’m not linking to it. You know the movie. If you want it, find it yourself. (Yes, I’m quite bitter about the whole Home Alone thing. Mostly, because I heard so much hype and, therefore, wrongly assumed there had to be something funny about it.)
But, although John doesn’t do as many scenes as he used to that will actually make you throw up, don’t think for a minute that he has sacrificed his artistic integrity. No, Little Crissy’s sugar coma in Pecker proves that he has indeed kept his sense of the blatantly obscene in recent years. Although, I must admit that Cecil B. Demented, his most recent film, disappointed me greatly. I think it was fluff compared to his other work.
But, my point here is that you should see John’s films. All of them – except Cecil B. Demented. Just make sure you start with something more recent and work your way back. Polyester is the best John Waters film ever. It’s available in “Odorama” on DVD. Apparently, you have to buy the two dvd set to get the “Odorama” card. (It’s a card you are supposed to scratch and sniff at key points in the film. Not surprisingly, all the smells are bad ones amazingly reproduced for your non-enjoyment.)
See Toxic Avenger too. It’s not John Waters, but it’s pretty damn funny.