Director: James M Munro
Starring: Mike Lackey, Bill Chepil, Vic Noto, Mark Sfreeazza, Nicole potter, Jane Arakawa, Pat Ryan, Bernard Perlman, RL Ryan, USA. 1h 31m
Cinema can be used for many things, most films are there to purely allow it’s viewers to switch off and eat some popcorn, highlight a great night out, others are more contemporary and are tool used to expand esoteric ideas and philosophy, then there’s street trash an almost plot less movie with lots of slimy stuff oozing out of low lives in New York while they do stuff but it’s delivered in such a unique way that it’s gained a solid cult following and is a guilty pleasure for many.
James M Munro initially crafted a short movie with the same title back in 1984 and expanded the abstract story into a full feature length however there’s hardly any addition to the plot. The gooey film is still just about a group of winos drinking contaminated booze and slightly borders on the sub comic in Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing called Nukeface Papers where the destitutes begin to drink toxic waste and get up to crazy shenanigans.
Opening with a scene filmed from a golf cart it’s a fluid sequence of high action as a homeless guy sprints around trying to get funds for his next drink diving in and out of peoples homes and the same garbage truck used to deliver the crew on set, the character known as ??? () crops up from time to time as a pseudo narrator to the going on in skid row, the love and romance, friendships and a lose power struggles within the homeless community who are unaware that a local store owner is now selling them a dodgy batch of booze. Originally labelled as Thunderbird it arrives on screen as Tenafly Viper and the discounted booze fly’s off the shelves and starts to erode it’s drinkers in a Technicolor gross fashion the lashings of extreme gore were dreamt up by FX artist Jennifer Aspinal and really highlight the film with bold creativity.
When people aren’t being melted in toilets, blown up by farts or are dripping around the city in a vile acid the are stealing from stores and fighting to keep their bottom bitch barefoot and knickerless, most of the trash hang out in a scrap yard where Bronson (Vic Noto) stomps around shouting orders and threatening anyone who looks at him the wrong way, the real live vet plays a Nam vet and the film leaks back into vivid and disturbing war flashback, and this is where the second layer of disturbing cinema takes place, somehow J M Munro managed to make necrophilia, castration and (off screen) gang raps seem humorous and entertaining with it’s sly unapologetic brilliance.
If the effects and acting weren’t so brilliant then this could easily be mistaken for a Troma movie, and it even featured a regular Troma actor, R. L. Ryan however it seem to ass a bit more flare and style to the psychotropic off key ideas and I feel was a gateway for a lot of the gory body horror b movies such as the Australian classic Body Melt (1993) and in fact these two movies would probably make a decent duo for an off the wall movie night. There’s a strange quality about Street Trash in that it doesn’t have a direct narrative but you have to keep watching just to see what’s going to happen next and it never fails to give you something new and more gross than the scene before.
To give you an idea of how crazy the film can be, Vic Noto was cast a day before principle photography and said “I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, nor did I ever understand who Bronson was, I worked on each scene by scene not knowing what the movie was about and I didn’t read the script until three months after I was wrapped, and I still don’t know who Bronson was”.
Somewhere between the oozing cast, violent conduct and the 128 audible “Fuck”’s throughout the movie with little to nothing going on, it’s somehow so damn watchable, maybe not for your Gran but if strange is your game then this has to be embraced.
Related: Body Melt (1993), Brain Damage (1988), The Stuff (1985), Basket Case (1982),
Lists: Vile for Vile Sake, Disturbing Cinema,
Vs: Body Melt Vs Street Trash who’s the grossest?