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Polyester Details


After making a name for himself with such underground gross-out epics as and , 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. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

  • Release date:May 29, 1981


as Francine Fishpaw
Tab Hunter
as Todd Tomorrow
Edith Massey
as Cuddles
Mink Stole
as Sandra
David Samson
as Elmer Fishpaw
Mary Garlington
as Lulu Fishpaw
Hans Kramm
as Chauffeur
Stiv Bators
as Bo-Bo Belsinger
John Allen
as Porno Picket
Steve Yeager
as Press B
Derek Neal
as Pimp
George Figgs
as Abortion Picket
Nancy Morgan
as Alcoholic Leader
Michael Watson
as Freddy Ashton
Susan Lowe
as Mall Victim
Rick Breitenfeld
as Dr. Quackenshaw
Mary Vivian Pearce
as Nun A
Brook Yeaton
as Porno Picket
Frank Tamburo
as Pizza Man 3
Cookie Mueller
as Betty Lalinski
Jean Hill
as Gospel Bus Hijacker


John Waters
John Waters
Robert Maier
John Waters
Screen Story
John Waters
David Insley
Chris Stein
Composer (Music Score)
Chris Stein
Michael Kamen
Michael Kamen
Composer (Music Score)
Deborah Harry
Charles Roggero
Vincent Peranio
Production Designer
Sara Risher
Associate Producer
Robert Shaye
Executive Producer
Vincent Peranio
Set Designer
Van Smith
Costume Designer
Robert Maier
Production Manager