Finally, we have the long-awaited details about the re-release of Multiple Maniacs, filmmaker John Waters’ 1970 “celluloid atrocity” starring Divine and a giant lobster let loose in the streets of Baltimore. 

Janus Films and the Criterion Collection announced Wednesday that the black and white film, Waters’ second feature has been restored and will have a theatrical release nationwide, starting with a 10 p.m. preview screening at the Provincetown International Film Festival on June 17.

After that, there will be a “theatrical premiere” at the IFC Center in New York City on August 5, with Waters present, followed by a  “national roll-out” in August. The film will carry the tagline: “Restored! Reviled! Revolting!”

“John Waters’s gloriously grotesque and extremely hard to see second feature comes to theaters at long last, replete with all manner of depravity, from robbery to murder to one of cinema’s most memorably blasphemous moments,” says the announcement from Criterion and Janus:

Made on a shoestring budget in Baltimore, with Waters taking on nearly every technical task, this gleeful mockery of the peace-and-love ethos of its era features the ‘Cavalcade of Perversion,’ a traveling show put on by a troupe of misfits whose shocking proclivities are topped only by those of their leader: the glammer-than-glam, larger-than-life Divine…

Starring Waters’s beloved regular cast the Dreamlanders, (including Divine, David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce, Mink Stole, Edith Massey and Cookie Mueller), Multiple Maniacs is an anarchist masterwork from an artist who has doggedly tested the limits of taste for decades.

“Restoration is an amazing thing,” the announcement quotes Waters as saying. “Finally, Multiple Maniacs looks like a bad John Cassavetes film! I couldn’t be more thrilled!”

Waters hinted at the release during a radio interview last week with Tom Hall on WYPR.  The  announcement about the June 17 release was picked up by a number of websites that follow news about movies, Waters and Divine.

“Maniacs has rarely been seen in the many decades since it first raised eyebrows and pushed the envelope in a way that has become the filmmaker’s trademark,” said “Restored! Reviled! Revolting! John Waters’ long out of release Multiple Maniacs is even better than amyl nitrate,” gushed

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Ed Gunts

Ed Gunts is a local freelance writer and the former architecture critic for The Baltimore Sun.