A Baltimore sandwich shop employee becomes an overnight sensation when photographs he’s taken of his weird family become the latest rage in the art world. The young man is called “Pecker” because he pecks at his food like a bird. —IMDb
Growing up in Baltimore in the 1950s, John Waters was not like other children; he was obsessed by violence and gore, both real and on the screen. With his weird counter-culture friends as his cast, he began making silent 8mm and 16mm films in the mid-‘60s; he screened these in rented Baltimore church halls to underground audiences drawn by word of mouth and street leafleting campaigns. As his filmmaking grew more polished and his subject matter more shocking, his audiences grew bigger, and his write-ups in the Baltimore papers more outraged. By the early 1970s he was making features, which he managed to get shown in midnight screenings in art cinemas by sheer perseverance. Success came when Pink Flamingos (1972) – a deliberate exercise in ultra-bad taste – took off in 1973, helped no doubt by lead actor Divine’s infamous dog-crap eating scene.
Waters continued to make low-budget shocking movies with his Dreamland repertory company until Hollywood crossover success came with Hairspray… read more
Easily the weakest Waters flick next to "A Dirty Shame." The story is vacant of humor and wit, unlike "Cry-Baby" and "Serial Mom," there's no true moral (if there is it's probably buried beyond recognition), and the "Pecker" character is overall just unappealing.
This film is generally interpreted as a pedestrian but earnest (read 'soft') satire of the pretensions of the art scene. I find it more interesting to view as a mockery of the crux of the 'dark side of fame' narrative: the cliché that success turns starry-eyed innocents into monsters. ('Don't become an asshole, Pecker. I beg of you, do not become an asshole') Flawed, but deserving of a less patronising reputation.