CINEMA: Sultan of Shock

Somehow the world has become just like a John Waters movie

Really now, America, your fondness for intimate atrocity is getting out of hand. Aren't there fewer cases of serial killers in the U.S. than there are books, movies and TV shows about them? It's sick but true: a statistically minute aristocracy of psychotics has commandeered pop culture.

John Waters understands. For a quarter-century, the 47-year-old filmmaker has been America's pre-eminent satirist of domestic depravity. He is also an elegant comic essayist, who puckishly wrote in 1985 that killing a celebrity is "the only sure-fire route to overnight front-page fame." And he is a connoisseur of the judicially sensational, attending many a...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!