Reviewed by Syxx
Starring Mike Lackey, Bill Chepil, Vic Noto, Tony Darrow
Directed by J. Michael Muro
Distributed by Synapse Films
Ever drink so much that you had bodily fluids pouring out every which way the next morning? Any particular brand of booze leave you shitting out your insides? If not, then consider yourself lucky; it is not the most pleasant feeling. Some folks thought they had it bad after ten shots of whiskey, five Manhattans and two margaritas; but all that mixed together is nowhere near as painful or fatal as one swig of Viper.
Street Trash has remained out of this reviewer’s consciousness for nearly 20 years. The movie was lost in the back of my mind, joining the trivial knowledge like Dolly Parton’s bra size, names of one-night stands, and where I got that tattoo on my ass from. It’s a good thing Synapse Films came around with a new DVD release to breathe new life into Street Trash.
Writer Roy Frumkes and director J. Michael Muro made an amazing team for such a strange movie that started life out as a short student film involving bums and a case of body dissolving liquor. One can tell that something special was at hand just by watching the original short film. It had low budget gore that was not only colorful but also stomach churning. But how could such a concept work as a feature length film?
Street Trash is a pretty simple story. Ed, the owner of a liquor store in New York, finds an old box of Viper in the store’s basement. Since it is old, cheap liquor, Ed puts it up for sale at $1 per bottle. It sure doesn’t take long for a bottle or two to be purchased or stolen by the winos and dregs that hang around the area.
Viper does have a nasty bite. Its poison goes to work instantly even with a small sip. The victim’s body starts to dissolve into a colorful rainbow of slimy goop that can also harm anyone that gets splashed with the drippy remains. To keep things fresh, Viper’s venom doesn’t have the exact same effect on everyone. One dirty old man goes down the toilet, leaving a pair of feet and a hand grasping the flusher. A fat vagrant explodes, a winette’s tits melt, and Ed is turned into a slime midget.
Muro’s picture sure hides its low budget crutch well when it comes to the gore. The easiest thing to spot during most of the death scenes is a lack of blood. The Viper deaths replace blood with a rainbow of fluids that would make members of a Gay Pride Parade sodomize each other with joy. Perhaps we are so over-saturated with the red stuff that it comes as a relief when you see a street person boil down into something that resembles a bag of Laffy Taffy that’s been left out in the sun too long. Don’t take this the wrong way; there is plenty of blood and one of the best mechanical decapitated heads to come out of the 1980s. The damn thing even smiles when it gets a chance to look up a skirt. It’s no pussy eating Dr. Hill head from Re-Animator, but it still makes me smile.
Street Trash isn’t all violence against the homeless. Bill the cop and king bum Bronson (Vic Noto) go at it in a junkyard in a rather vicious fight. Man-nipples get sucked, Nam vets have hostile flashbacks, and a corpse gets fucked by the dearly departed R. L. Ryan. There’s also violence against drunken whores and humorous use of a severed penis. The ridiculousness just doesn’t end in the movie.
The movie is in your face most of the time with political incorrectness, but there’s rarely, if ever, a moment where this reviewer had to say, “OK, that’s enough. I get it already.” Even the long scene where the bums play keep-away with a disembodied piece of man meat remains funny all the way through. The movie never really seems to try to make a point about anything, which may be the reason it is easy to watch like when a moment of racial tension dissolves into silliness as a street person puts a bag over his head and walks through a glass window with a chicken stuffed in his pants. One may not come away with any sort of revelation when the film closes, but it is a fun ride regardless. Some may come away from it with more questions about characters and scenes, and they may be answered on Disc Two, which will be talked about later.
Director Muro also handled the Steadicam photography for the film that made many shots look so amazing. Street Trash keeps an almost big budget feature look about itself thanks to the colorful imagery and camera work. This movie makes it hard to believe that there are so many horrible low budget films on the market nowadays, but to be fair Frumkes and Muro admit that they were lucky to have much more prep time than most other independent projects.
According to Mr. Frumkes the original cut of the film ran at near 3 hours. So, it would seem that you can make a feature length film out of derelicts and killer booze! Street Trash was trimmed down to a more acceptable length at the cost of a few tentacles of the plot. Though the film lost a psychic, secret dad, and dance scene, it gained an entertaining ending between James Lorinz and Tony Darrow that made up for it.
The extras really sell this double dip. Disc Two comes packed with the original short film version of Street Trash, still gallery, and teaser trailer, but the most important extra is Meltdown Memoirs. This two-hour (with a three-minute intermission) look back at the cast, crew, and production of Street Trash is recommended to be viewed before anyone even dives into the actual feature. The featurette fills the viewer with so much information that it can change the way the film is observed. There’s just so much detail in every minute that it begs to ask why so many other DVD releases come so bare. I could go on and on about what is on this disc, but all you need to know is that it is worth every damn penny. There was so much more to this film than “Hey, let’s make an exploitation movie!” The crew were so proud of what they made, and it showed at the premiere when they arrived not in limos but in garbage trucks!
Street Trash is the feature that every Troma entry has wanted to be after the first Toxic Avenger film and shows us the right way to double dip. This adventures in bum land has tits, rape, death, violence, and a long scene involving a flying penis … and it is capable of doing all this mayhem without forcing itself on you like the drunk fat girl at a party.
Two audio commentaries featuring Producer Roy Frumkes and Director James Muro
The Meltdown Memoirs – A new two-hour documentary (watch this first!)
Original theatrical trailer
Behind-the-scenes still gallery
The long-lost, never-before-seen Street Trash promotional teaser
Street Trash – The original 16mm short film that inspired the movie
4 1/2 out of 5