Monday, March 5, 2007

Street Trash (1987)

Street Trash is a wonderfully offensive, trashy and gooey film that features people who melt into Technicolor puddles, a penis pick-up football game, bum fights, necrophilia, tons of great comedy and violence. It’s a hard-knock life…

A liquor store owner finds a case of old hooch in his basement. He decides to sell it for $1 a pop, the perfect price for the large homeless community that lives on skid row. Unfortunately, anyone who drinks the stuff immediately starts melting into blues, purples, greens, yellows and reds and their remains end up looking like crayons that were left too long in the sun. There are also several sub-plots involving two homeless brothers and the junk yard where they live, a girl who tries to help them out, a cop’s involvement in the suspicious death of a mob boss’ girlfriend and a particularly crazy and violent Vietnam vet who rules over the homeless class by sheer brutality.

I absolutely loved this movie! Its offensive comedy along with the great gore scenes won me over, even if it did feature some questionable acting and paper-thin plot. It is just a fun, entertaining ride through the mean streets of the ‘80s. It reminded me a lot of something Troma might make today, because no big budget film could get away with Street Trash’s decidedly un-PC viewpoints. Everyone is ragged on, from cops to the homeless and everyone in between.

One part that I did not enjoy was the portrayal of women in the film. Sure, pretty much everyone was portrayed in a bad light, but to me the women got the worst of it. First there’s the Vietnam vet’s companion, who is pretty much his slave and gets slapped around a whole lot. Then there is the mob boss’ girlfriend, who is drunk and gets taken to the junkyard to be raped, beaten and killed, only to be raped again. The only redeeming female character was perhaps the girl who works at the junk yard and tries to help the two homeless brothers. The exploitation of women in B-movies is nothing new, but it still rubs me the wrong way no matter how good the rest of the film is. Still, this was my only major complaint with the film.

The melting scenes are classic and the special effects are spectacular, especially considering the film’s low-budget. Two memorable scenes include one man who slowly melts into a toilet and another man who swells and then explodes in a shower of flesh and blood. Street Trash definitely delivers the goods in the “Ewwwww!” department.

For those interested, the social commentary of the film is also something to look into. The 1980’s were a prosperous time, but not for everyone. Government cutbacks on welfare and social programs left many people out in the street. This film reflects this and in turn shows us how bad it was for people who were forced to live on the street.

Street Trash is an amazing, one-of-a-kind gem of a film in the horror genre. It has many classic scenes and memorable lines that you’ll be repeating days (and most likely years) after viewing it. This B-movie may not be for anyone, but its cult status is cemented in cinematic history.

Available on Amazon!

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