Highway of Heartache

Highway of Heartache

Highway of Heartache is a 1994 feature film that was billed as the first Canadian country-western drag queen musical. Written and directed by Gregory Wild, the film follows the misadventures of Wynona-Sue Turnpike (Barbara Chamberlin, who also write the film’s score) on a raucous and unlikely road to Nashville superstardom. Backed up by a pair of transvestite guardian angels (played by The Big Wigs), Wynona-Sue faces a variety of indignities including an abusive husband, the threat of life imprisonment and venereal disease. The film’s humor ranged from gross-out to surreal (the heroine’s gynecologist was an Elvis Presley imitator), and the entire film was shot on Day-Glo sets designed and built by Wild.

Highway of Heartache was made in 1994 and had its theatrical premiere in New York in August 1996. Critical reaction was mixed: Stephen Holden in the New York Times complained of a “gratingly hysterical pitch [that] makes a John Waters romp look like a Merchant-Ivory reverie…what began as a screaming Day-Glo comedy turns into a sensory endurance test.” However, Ken Eisner of Variety dubbed it “the weirdest feature yet to come out of Canada” and “consistently funny” and Sandra Brennan in All Movie Guide stated the “weird and funny Canadian film has all the makings of a cult classic.”

Highway of Heartache was released on VHS video in 1999 , but to date it has not been released on DVD. This is the only feature film credited to Gregory Wild as a director and writer.

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