Polyester

1981

Polyester

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

89%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 19

81%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,755
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Polyester Photos

Movie Info

After making a name for himself with such underground gross-out epics as Pink Flamingos and Desperate Living, director John Waters made a bid for somewhat wider acceptance with this black comedy, which is sedate only by the standards of his previous work. Francine Fishpaw (Divine) is a housewife whose life has become a living hell. Her husband Elmer (David Samson) runs a porno theater (currently showing the classic My Burning Bush) and is having an affair with secretary Sandra (Mink Stole), a vision of sleaze in Bo Derek-style cornrow braids who informs Elmer, "Children would only get in the way of our erotic lifestyle!" Francine has two teenage children, Dexter (Ken King), who likes to sniff glue and stomp on women's feet, and Lulu (Mary Garlington), a brazen slut who hangs out with overage juvenile delinquent Bobo (Stiv Bators) and gleefully anticipates her next abortion. Francine's best friend, Cuddles (Edith Massey), is a slightly insane heiress who is somehow convinced she's a debutante. Francine's life has become so miserable that her dog commits suicide rather than witness it, but a light appears on the horizon -- Todd Tomorrow (Tab Hunter), the handsome and dashing owner of a local drive-in specializing in art films (their current bill is a Margurerite Duras triple feature), with whom Dawn enters into a torrid affair. Subversive on all fronts, Polyester was originally shown in "Odorama" (patrons were given a card with ten scratch-and-sniff patches, to be smelled at key points in the action) and featured a romantic theme song sung by that new hitmaking duo, Deborah Harry and Bill Murray.

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Cast

Divine
as Francine Fishpaw
Tab Hunter
as Todd Tomorrow
Edith Massey
as Cuddles Kovinsky
Mink Stole
as Sandra Sullivan
David Samson
as Elmer Fishpaw
Joniruth White
as LaRue, Mother
Mary Garlington
as Lulu Fishpaw
Ken King
as Dexter Fishpaw
Hans Kramm
as Chauffeur
Rick Breitenfeld
as Dr. Quackenshaw
Michael Watson
as Freddy Ashton
Jean Hill
as Gospel Bus Hijacker
Jim Hill
as Picket Reporter
John Brothers
as TV News Announcer
Cookie Mueller
as Betty Lalinski
Susan Lowe
as Mall Victim
Tom Diventi
as Bo-Bo's Friend
George Hulse
as School Principal
Tony Parkham
as Teenage Witness
Alberto Panella
as Pizza Man 2
George Figgs
as Abortion Picket
Frank Tamburo
as Pizza Man 3
Brook Yeaton
as Porno Picket
Nancy Morgan
as Alcoholic Leader
John Allen
as Porno Picket
Tommy Allen
as Porno Picket
Keats Smith
as Boutique Saleslady
Gordon Kamka
as Detective A
David Klein
as Detective B
Steve Yeager
as Press B
Mary Egoff
as Press C
Chuck Yeaton
as Hospital Reporter
George Udell
as Jewish Man
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News & Interviews for Polyester

Critic Reviews for Polyester

All Critics (19)

Audience Reviews for Polyester

  • Apr 28, 2015
    Like a Fassbinder or Douglas Sirk movie made by John Waters, it is a mess with all his trademark filth, irritating overacting and ridiculous lack of structure and focus, and I guess it would be only amusing and worth seeing in the cinema for the Odorama scratch-and-sniff gimmick.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Feb 21, 2010
    POLYESTER (1981) Written & Directed by John Waters. Filmed in 'Odourama' (I still have my original "scratch-&-sniff" card!!). This was one of Waters' first tentative forays into mainstream cinema. It was still too bizarre for commercial success (despite the innovative gimmick of being "filmed in Odourama!"), but remains one of the better of his 'old-school' films. Starring the irrepressible Divine as poor Francine Fishpaw, a housewife driven to drink by the atrocious behaviour of her dysfunctional family,& a host of other Waters regulars (including Mink Stole & the ever-delightful Edith Massey), it is a another treat for all Waters fans. ****4 & a half out of 5 stars****
    mirabella 1 Super Reviewer
  • Feb 09, 2010
    Classic John Waters. Bad in all the right ways.
    Robert F Super Reviewer
  • Dec 05, 2008
    I wish I could meet the characters of this movie in real life. A slutty sister, a brother with a foot stomping fetish, a self serving dad who owns a porno theater, and a 300 pound, alcoholic "mother" that just wants a normal family.
    Shane D Super Reviewer

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