SERIAL MOM FEATURE
good mother. But on talk shows now, I dysfunction is fame. They go on talk shows and Th B f , say things it would take me a year to tell a e o A, psychiatrist. 1 always wonder if, afterwards, they’re famous in their street. “Hi. I saw you on
Oprah talking about being abused — can I have your autograph?”. Being famous and being
notorious are exactly the same in America.’ Especially if the figure of notoriety is that modern media phenomenon. the serial killer. Beverly’s bloodthirsty behaviour doesn’t go unnoticed for long, and when she’s caught, it soon becomes clear that. in the America of the 905, she’s more in need of an agent than an attorney. The ﬁnal section of the movie is a hilarious take on the media circus that surrounds ‘true crime’ in the States, with Beverly defending herself in an extended courtroom scene that will have legal eagles across the land hanging up their wigs. Family members and victims’ relatives conspire for the best TV deals. the actress lined up to play Beverly sits with bated breath in court, and a new American heroine finds her fifteen minutes of fame. With all their dubious glamour and questionable attraction, the spin-off industries that circle around the modern murderer ‘I never used to ask were an obvious target for a . filmmaker with an eye for the
for mm“! '9 tackin absurd.
Hollywood until It was ‘Today, in America, if you
possible that I would commit a crime, you get a lot of attention,’ Waters elaborates.
9.“ It' The d'ﬂerence ‘The police in thejail might ask
'5 that my 399 "ms for your autograph. Then an
HOIIVWOOU now.’ agent will come and try to buy
,_ the rights to your story and. two " weeks later, it’s on TV on ' Saturday night. and the whole
family gathers around to watch this week’s crime. Criminals are almost our new movie stars in America, because movie stars these days don’t dress like movie stars, they don’t want to look like movie stars, so we have to pick up something bigger. And we also want fear, we want to be afraid, to read about worse things that happened to someone else beside us. _ People some days think, “Well. I had a bad day, Fanllyvaluoszm Houston and Kattllooul’umorgo to I didn’t get a raise 3‘ W0rk~ my Wife was extreme: to omnaham hm. unfaithful to me, but at least I didn’t get eaten by Jeffrey Dahmer”.‘ C] Serial Mom opens in Scotland on Friday 10 June (Friday I 7 at the Edinburgh Cameo).
are outside the norm, who believe in what they’re doing. In all my films, you can tell the good people and the bad people, because the good people take what society believes is a disadvantage, turn it into a style, and win. Even if it’s a serial killer.’
Which is why for years Waters got away with pushing the boundaries of offensiveness to their limits. Obesity, deviant sexuality and social inadequacy may well have been staples of the Waters cinematic diet, but no matter how grotesque the late Divine was made to look, no matter how disgustingly tasteless the on-screen antics became, the director never consciously humiliated his characters. They are used for humorous ends. yes, but rather than looking down on them, Waters places them on a pedestal and shows a unique blend of awe and understanding over their abnormalities. There’s a warm heart beating somewhere in this cesspool, a tenderness towards eccentricity that is defiantly out of step with the rest of America and its ‘freak show’ mentality.
‘This isn’t a dysfunctional family at all,’ , ., .. . Waters says of the Sutphins. ‘I think that she’s a John my. on m. m,
. . to throek’n'roll crooning of mm new to cry lulu.
The List 3—l6 June [994 7