Street Trash

In the sea of 80's humor gore it's rare to find a film as watch-able as Street Trash. At 102 minutes, many would expect a grueling exercise in viewing, but a multifaceted plot filled with outrageous characters makes this movie go by in a giggly flash. Mobsters, bums, winos, Vietnam vets, and hard ass street cops collide to paint a poignant portrait of mid 80s lower Manhattan. Human trash piled on every street corner just waiting to be taken advantage of, or to take advantage. That's exactly what happens when local liquor store owner Ed goes rooting in the basement for anything he can sell to make a buck. After smashing through a wall he finds a case of Tenafly Viper, a vintage liqueur 40 years expired. Always an entrepreneur, Ed dusts it off and starts selling the stuff a dollar a bottle, and the local wino population can't get enough. The only problem is, after one drink the Viper melts your whole body from the inside out.

So the premise is set, and the opening sequence sets it's hooks right in when the first bums gets his bottle, plops down on a toilet in an abandoned building and takes a sip. Hyper-color puss oozes out of every pore until the poor guy is nothing but a face floating in a toilet full of his own melted body. Now things start to get complicated. Fred and Kevin are two teenaged runaways who live in a pile of tires inside a junkyard that is curiously occupied by an entire gang of bums and drunks. Their self appointed leader is Bronson, an insane Vietnam vet with a half dead girlfriend. The owner of the junkyard, Frank, wants nothing more than to fuck his secretary Wendy, but she's too busy playing mom to young Kevin. When piles of melted person start turning up, barrel chested Bill is brought in by the local PD to find some answers. Things take an even uglier turn when Fred finds a puking beauty in an alley and brings her back to the pile of tires for a little fun. Turns out she's the girlfriend of a local mob boss, and now he wants revenge.

Convoluted, maybe, but the cast of outrageous characters turns in an above average performance for this grade of film. What really makes Street Trash rise to the top are the special effects. Every time someone cracks open a fresh bottle of Viper, we're treated to an absolutely disgusting neon cavalcade of goo and slime, gurgled screams of terror and pain. The "horror" is so outrageous it's not even remotely realistic, more or less scary, but that's what gives this film it's appeal. Every situation and every character is so over the top it's hilarious. An almost unsettling rape scene turns into a grave of severed penis keep-away. Bronson's character is fleshed out with Vietnam flashbacks. The Mafia leader ultimately turns his rage onto a wise-cracking doorman with plenty of "New York attitude". Street Trash might be better categorized as a comedy with goreish overtones.

This 2 disc set comes loaded with special features: the original 16mm film that inspired the feature; a 2 hour documentary, The Meltdown Memoirs, about the history and making of the film; audio commentaries by the director and producer; and plenty more. Another notable feature is the crystal clear transfer. The movie is spotless and the color is vivid. Street Trash definitely surpasses any reputation it has built and stands alongside Basket Case as a hilarious, gory portrait of New York's gritty underside.

posted by Mike at 5:26 PM