John Waters runs deep

By OWEN GLIEBERMAN  |  June 21, 2006

Waters is currently counting off the days til the Larry Layton trial. Layton, you’ll recall, was one of Jim Jones’s wackier sidekicks at the People’s Temple of Guyana. Waters’s large, serpentine eyes light up at the merest mention of Jonestown. (“It’s the best thing that’s happened since Mason”). He was so excited about the Guyana massacre that he obtained the tapes (through a New York Times “special offer”) of Jim Jones’s suicidal sermons. “It was like ordering Roy Orbison’s Greatest Hits,” says Waters with a giggle. “Now, if I’m having a party, and I want my guests to leave, I put them on. It works better than yelling ‘Fire!’, I’ll tell ya. Either that or Nico. You put on either one, it gets the same reaction.” When the exploitation flick Guyana, Cult of the Damned opened last year, Waters was on hand “every night” and was even asked on the local news for comment. “But the guy who owned the theater upstaged me,” says Waters. “He said, ‘A lot of relatives of the victims are here, so I think we’ll do pretty well.’”

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