“We got it all, and we show it all!” shouts the Cavalcade of Perversion ringmaster Mr. David (David Lochary) to a crowd of curious carnival goers in director John Waters’ 1970 underground feature Multiple Maniacs. Inside the Cavalcade’s tent is an array of performers in various states of undress, engaged in activities that are viewed as obscene or perverse by the conservative suburban audience. Though Waters has utilized shock and showmanship to market his films, the scene acknowledges an uncomfortable truth about the American entertainment industry. American filmmakers lure moviegoers by appealing to their visceral rather than their intellectual sensibilities. They offer movies with familiar, traditional plot structures and cartoonishly simplistic characters, enhanced by gratuitous violence, exaggerated drama, and uncontextualized nudity. 🪐
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