STREET TRASH (1987)
Directed by James M. Muro
Available on Amazon Instant Video
The owner of a local liquor store finds an old box containing Viper, a drink that was taken off the shelves a decade previously. Keen to get rid of the old booze, he prices each bottle as a 1 dollar special in his store. The local hobos lap up the cheap deal but there’s a very good reason why Viper was banned all those years ago, as the customers soon find out…
80’s sleazy shock horror comedy STREET TRASH is a warped tale of neon-coloured, face melting goodness wrapped up in a story of war between the homeless living in the local junkyard. For years I’ve been eager to see this cult horror with its gloriously gooey visuals but now having seen it, I’m sorely disappointed. I was expecting a film full of melting skulls, exploding carcasses and brightly-coloured green, purple, red and yellow puss dribbling from the corroding bodies of the Viper’s victims and whilst my appetite for this acquired taste was satiated, Viper plays a minor role to that of the war between the homeless and the struggles of lead character Fred who’s just trying to get by through stealing. The latter plot is as dull as dishwater with very little of the narrative making much sense on-screen. Even the bullish Vietnam veteran Bronson, who’s penchant for throwing helpless car drivers through their own windshields, isn’t much of a draw. His character, the hulking villain of the junkyard, feels shoehorned into the film as does the whole homeless society who’s only interesting purpose of the film is to become victims of the toxic Viper drink.
I wanted more from this movie, particularly in terms of Viper and its horrific yet visually impressive effects. The few scenes that we are treated to are as thrilling as you would expect from this low-budget horror, with the impressive practical FX and set pieces the highlight of the movie and the sole reason you’ll want to watch it. Away from the melting goodness, a game of “catch the severed penis” between the homeless junkyard crew and a homeless guy stuffing chicken down his pants during a shoplifting spree at the local supermarket will no doubt raise a laugh. However, for the remainder of the running time, there’s not much else to keep the viewer entertained when there’s nobody suffering the ill effects of Viper. Even the side plot threads of the overweight junkyard owner’s lust for his secretary or the Italian mobster’s fury at the gang rape and death of his woman, aren’t enough to bulk out the film.
Street Trash has its legions of fans but unfortunately, I cannot count myself as one of them. Whilst I admire the dark comedy and of course, the amazing visuals, I found the movie overall a bit of a bore. Maybe I was expecting too much from this B-movie, but if they had ditched the psychotic Bronson angle and persued Viper as a way of cleaning the streets of homeless people, then I think it would have made a much more impressive piece of entertainment, low budget or not.