Mondo Trasho (1969) - Rotten Tomatoes

Mondo Trasho (1969)

Mondo Trasho




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

The first feature film directed by self-proclaimed "Prince of Puke" John Waters, this black-and-white, mostly silent comedy cost just 2000 dollars. Mondo Trasho looks its budget, but has some amusing moments as it 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. When she runs away, she is hit by a car. The driver, played by 300-lb. transvestite Divine, lost control of the wheel while staring at a naked man (Mark Isherwood) hitch-hiking by the roadside. Divine takes Pearce along with her, shoplifting some clothes to dress her victim. Unfortunately, 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, gaining magical powers that let her click her heels like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz to escape her situation. Divine is not so lucky, however, and meets her doom in a muddy pigsty. Pearce materializes in downtown Baltimore, where elderly local women with beehive hairdos curse at her until she clicks her heels again and disappears. There isn't much here for casual viewers, as only die-hard Waters fans are likely to countenance the long stretches in which virtually nothing happens. A few laughs are to be had, but not enough to sustain interest, as Waters did not really hit his stride until Multiple Maniacs the following year. At its best, this very rough amateur film suggests interesting ways to tell a story without dialogue, as Waters uses evocative old trash-rock songs to advance the plot. At its worse, it's a bore, of interest to devotees and completists only.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Comedy, Special Interest, Cult Movies
Directed By:
Written By: John Waters
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 15, 1989


Chris Atkinson
as Attendant
as Portly bombshell
John Leisenring
as Foot fetishist
David Lochary
as Dr. Coathanger
Mary Vivian Pearce
as Fashion fanatic
Mink Stole
as Institution inmate
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Mondo Trasho

Critic Reviews for Mondo Trasho

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (2)

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A dry run for Waters' later outlaw-salvos, a bit of utterly ballsy dissonance, to be seen, heard, felt, suffered through

Full Review… | March 13, 2010

memorable only as the first serious outing of one of America's most provocative, fiery, satirical, and ultimately hilarious filmmakers

Full Review… | February 27, 2001
Q Network Film Desk

Viewer discretion is advised

Full Review… | February 13, 2001

July 2, 2005

Audience Reviews for Mondo Trasho


My least favourite of the John Waters' films, amateurish and only bits were funny. I found it quite disturbing to be honest

Sylvester Kuo
Sylvester Kuo

Super Reviewer


Funny piece of crap. Divine is, as usual, great. I specially loved the Virgin Mary apparitions. The film goes nowhere and that's just good enough for me.

John Waters first full length feature, and known to his fans as "the gutter film" (although all of his early works fit that description) because it was in fact filmed in gutters, laundromats, seedy back alleys and various other desolate areas in Baltimore. The story follows a fashion fanatic and her dead hit and run victim through bizarre, perverse, and filthy scenarios including a meeting with a foot fetishist who gives her a "shrimp job" (toe sucking), nude hitchhikers, a laundromat miracle, a mental institution inhabited by topless dancers, and a doctor named Dr. Coat Hanger who performs weird chicken foot grafting operations. Very odd indeed, but classic John Waters in it's execution. The only downfall is the running time. Since the movie has no real dialogue, instead old 50's rock records play over the entire film, it lags in some places. I think the film would have worked better if the length was cut in half. But with that being said it's still a fun watch and a must see for hardcore John Waters fans.

Philip LoPresti

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