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VINE VOICEon October 29, 2005
The ultra-low-budget exploitation flick STREET TRASH (1987) certainly lives up to its name in more ways than one. Not only is it rather trashy when it comes to generally poor or histrionic acting, bawdy humor, gore, and several lingering flashes of T&A, but it is also one of the few films set in New York City's skid row that was actually filmed almost entirely in authentic skid-row venues.

The centerpiece of the paper-thin plot is a case of decades-old hooch called Tenafly Viper, discovered in the miasmic basement of a skid-row liquor store by the store's proprietor. The unscrupulous vendor decides to exploit his seemingly serendipitous find and pad his pocket by selling the stuff to local winos for a buck per bottle. But unbeknownst to him and his unwary customers, the stuff has gone sour and has transmuted into a volatile toxin that literally melts those who consume it into a pile of day-glo goo.

Though STREET TRASH is blatantly and disgustingly lowbrow, it is nonetheless wildly entertaining and, from a technical standpoint, very well made. The make-up FX are skillfully and artistically executed, and never have latex appliances looked so simultaneously gross and hilarious. The action does lag in a few spots, but most of the time there is a constant flow of either gore, skin, or bawdy gags. Also, in contrast to many near-zero-budget exploitation films, the cinematography is fabulous--director Jim Muro shot the entire film using a rented steadicam, and he was so skilled at it that he went on to become one of Hollywood's greatest steadicam operators, working on such films as TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY (1991), TITANIC (1997), AND RED DRAGON (2002)--and the editing is near perfect, making STREET TRASH look like a more mainstream, bigger-budget film.

While the acting skills of many of the principals leave a lot to be desired, STREET TRASH does feature a few thespians worth noting. Genre fans will recognize James Lorinz from his role as the mad scientist in the exploitation satire FRANKENHOOKER. In an earlier role here, Lorinz plays a lippy doorman in the employ of a mob boss, and he steals the show in nearly every scene in which he appears. Actor Tony Darrow portrays the aforementioned mob boss, and Darrow parlayed his debut role here into a career of playing similar types in more mainstream gangster flicks, including critically acclaimed films like GOODFELLAS (1990), BULLETS OVER BROADWAY (1994), AND MIGHTY APHRODITE (1995).

The DVD release of STREET TRASH from Synapse is a no-frills disc, but its definitely worth the price of admission. It offers a digital transfer of the film--which has been nicely restored and is completely uncut--in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 (enhanced for 16x9 TVs), and the stereo soundtrack is also nice and clear.

Sick? Yes. Foul? For sure. Gross? Often. But its also a lot of fun. STREET TRASH is definitely not for everybody, but for those who enjoy exploitation horror flicks from the 1970s and 1980s, STREET TRASH is definitely one of the best. And the DVD from Synapse will make a fine addition to the collections of those who enjoy such films.
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on August 24, 2005
No offense, but if you are a horror fan your DVD collection in incomplete without this film. You want Gore? Street trash has it. You want cheese? Street Trash has that too. This ultra-low budget film is limited only by the acting, but oh well man...small price to pay for this bloodbath. Hope the x-tras are worth it, but even so this lil' forgotten gem is getting the uncut treatment it has deserved. Plus the whole "Penis Football" scene mentioned makes it worth the price. Plus, if you get the DVD it comes with two free Tenafly Viper stickers based on the vicious liquor that melts everyone in the movie! Too cool! They are in the shape of liquor bottle stickers so you can put them on one after you drink it all while watching this movie. Instant movie memorabilia! Not going to give away the "juicy" details...sorry. Buy it on a whim...its a winner. Gore fans rejoice. Nuff said.
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on January 19, 2007
"Street trash makes Herschell Gordon Lewis look like Mary Poppins," - Wes Craven

"Loathsome, foul and degrading, Street Trash is a real treat for anyone who thinks they've seen it all." - George Romero

"Yeah, that's the bits I like." - Den Dennis (The Comic Strip Presents...More Bad News - 1988)

Produced and written by Roy Frumkes (The Substitute), and directed by J. Michael Muro, who since done stedicam work on such films as Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), True Lies (1994), L.A. Confidential (1997), and Titanic (1997) to name a few, Street Trash (1987) features Mike Lackey, Marc Sferrazza, Jane Arakawa, Bill Chepil, Pat Ryan (The Toxic Avenger, Class of Nuke 'Em High), Vic Noto (Innocent Blood), and Tony Darrow (Goodfellas, Analyze This, "The Sopranos").

The story basically involves the activities of two inner city homeless brothers named Freddy (Lackey) and Kevin (Sferrazza), who live in an auto scrap yard occupying a dwelling consisting of old tires. Thrown into the mix early on is the appearance of some funky looking booze called Tenafly Viper, which was found in the cellar of a liquor store by the store's proprietor. Subsequently he decides to pawn it off on his clientele, most all of whom are shiftless, degenerate dirtbags, for a buck a bottle (needless to say they snap it up). Turns out the stuff is rotgut, literally (unbeknownst to the liquor store owner), so much so it causes the individual ingesting the crud to melt from the inside out. Along with the exploding bums Freddy and Kevin also have to contend with Bronson (Noto), a large, sadistic, psychotic Vietnam veteran who rules the scrap yard with an iron fist and a dagger made of from a human femur bone (think a low grade Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypse Now). Things get especially hairy when a local mobster (Darrow) finds out his girlfriend's been murdered (among other things) by the skid row denizens populating the junk yard, and a renegade cop with a serious grudge named Bill (Chepil) starts rousting everyone for kicks.

I guess the first thing one should know about this film is that there really isn't much of a story, which, in most cases, would probably be a disadvantage, but not so here (for those of us who tend to dwell in the cinematic sludge this is fairly common occurrence). Probably the best thing you can do is sit back and let the experience envelope you in its grimy, odious, putrid fetidity, which comes off as a sort of sewage laden mix between the films of John Waters and Herschell Gordon Lewis. I did learn a number of things from this movie, including the following...

1. One can actually make a home out of discarded tires.
2. If you wear baggy enough pants to the grocery store, you can steal enough food to feed at least three people.
3. I wouldn't eat anything that came out of a homeless man's pants.
4. You can thin out homemade hooch by urinating in it.
5. An alley is a great place to pick up broads, especially if you're a greasy bum (and the broad is wasted out of her gourd).
6. Your puke breath must be really bad when a bum won't even kiss you.
7. Frank, the morbidly obese owner and operator of the scrap yard, isn't adverse to a little necrophilia.
8. The homeless don't particularly covet showers.
9. A severed ding a ling a can be used in lieu of a football in a pick up game.
10. You never defile Bronson in front of the men.

If you like your movies messy, in a visceral sense, then you've come to the right place as this spectacularly over the top nugget of gooey nastiness is right at home next to Peter Jackson's Dead Alive (1992). I'm unsure the deal with the Viper booze, but its effects are instantaneous and highly satisfying. There's some seriously nasty melt action here, perhaps my favorite being the early scene with guy sitting on the toilet, taking a slug, and then reduced to a slimy, festering pile floating in the bowl. Along with the gratuitously goopy goodness there's also a whole lot of comedy, a few fights (the most memorable being Bill the cop going toe to toe with Bronson), some female nekkidness, a severed male member, and whole lot more. The acting was pretty rank but it didn't take away from anything for me, especially given the entertaining dialog throughout. The two best lines (at least of the ones I could post here), in my opinion, are the one I used for the title of my review and the following, occurring after one of Freddy's acquaintances, after shoving copious amounts of food down his pants, is busted by a manager in a grocery store ...

Store manager: I'd like to know what you're doing with all that chicken in your pants.

As I said, there's a decent amount of comedy here, the funniest part for me, beside the flying woody sequence, was when Freddy picked up the drunk broad in the alley, after she just finished puking. As he was dragging her back to his Goodyear abode, she kept trying to kiss him and he kept try to avoid it, given her puke breath and all. To sum things up this is a completely vile and disgusting affair, one definitely worth the time if you have the stomach.

This new 2 DVD set released in 2006, entitled 'The Meltdown Edition', includes an anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) transfer, audio in a newly remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 and the original 2.0 mono, two audio commentaries featuring producer Roy Frumkes and director James Muro, a two hour documentary entitled The Meltdown Memoirs, which details the history and the making of the film, the original 16mm short film that inspired the movie, a Street Trash promotional teaser, a behind the scenes still gallery, liner notes, and the original theatrical trailer. The interesting thing is, while the 2006 DVD release contains a ton more stuff than the original 2005 DVD release, the newer version is missing one really cool element...with the original DVD release there was included two printed label stickers so you could create your own bottle of Tenafly Viper.

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on December 20, 2015
When I heard that this ultra bizarre piece of cinematic history was getting the deluxe Blu Ray treatment, I knew I had to get a copy. The movie itself focuses on a group of vagrants living in a junk yard under the control of a homicidal hobo. Things get complicated when said vagrants begin melting due to consumption of a certain type of rot gut liquor sold by the local store owner. As the situation unravels a NY cop and a mob boss become involved and further complicate matters. The real star of this movie, however, are the neon gore effects which look fantastic in the new transfer. The fact that the Blu Ray itself is packed with extras makes it a must buy for fans of this movie or obscure underground cinema in general.
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on August 21, 2005
This is one of the coolest cult flicks I have ever seen I rented it at my neighborhood video store and loved it and now I can finally own it on dvd. It has it all from melting after drinking a liquor know as Tenafly Viper to a penis being cut off through a fence to the scene at the end where the guy gets blwon off by an welding tank oh yeah I can't wait.
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on July 19, 2004
From beginning to end this movie had Troma written all over it- the melting, the bad acting, the music, the penis football game; it was perfect! I have seen alot of crazy movies in my time but this was highly original and well worth the watch. It starts out with a good foot chase scene and then gets to the first melt victim, the following half hour or so was a little slow but the last half hour more than made up for ANY shortcomings. I found myself at the end wishing for just one more melt scene and when it didn't happen I just watched the movie again ( I'm a glutton for punishment!). The last song was horribly done by the lone mobster in the movie, but was a great finishing touch to this cult classic. I LOVED IT !!!!!!
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on June 7, 2014
I discovered this gem at a Blockbuster Video around 1993 in Florida.Since I only checked the horror section and have seen most,I grabbed this one.I watched it that night and couldn`t stop laughing.The sick sense of humor was right on par with me and the Bronson character having Nam flashbacks reminded me of old friends that were in that war.Lot of that stuff was right on target.Most of the bums have perfect teeth(only noticeable flaw).The special effects were fun and colorful.And each actor played their rolls to the hilt.I have been through many releases and versions through the years and now I can finally stop.This edition is as complete as you are gonna get.I got to thank Roy Frumkes via computer years ago for making a very cool and funny movie.The worst version I have seen of this movie was from a Japanese vhs tape.All nudity is blurred out.Even down to the naked girl collage in the tire hut!!Oh well,if you don`t have this movie and have a warped mind like myself,you better grab this version.Synapse doesn`t disappoint with their releases.
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on March 29, 2015
Much has been said about Street Trash. I am by no means a movie critic, but I have watched enough films, both good and bad, high and low, to know what's good and what's not. Yes, the humor and yuks are lowbrow at times, but also clever and satirical. The cinematography is top notch, thanks in part to the awesome steadycam work of Jim Muro.

I feel like this movie was ahead of it's time even though watching it now, it's clearly a period piece of the Troma generation. If you like messy gore, silly humor, running gags and can appreciate the finer points of a low budget film, you will undoubedtly enjoy this movie. Don't drink the Tenafly Viper!
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on June 27, 2014
A New York liquor store owner finds an old, old case of cheap wine called Viper while cleaning out the cellar stock room and decides to sell them for $1 a bottle. The the locals (mostly bums/homeless and transients) who buy them start melting in Technicolor! The young runaways who live under a large pile of old tires in an auto graveyard are at odds with the sociopathic Vietnam vet led group of crazy street people who live nearby. The local detective desperately wants to get something on the crazy vet who supposedly has a human femur bone for a knife. A mob boss restaurant owner is having girlfriend and employee problems, (James Lorinz plays a doorman with some great on liners) Oh, and did I mention people keep melting and exploding! The acting is mostly atrocious and the special effects are unique and cheesy to say the least but the crazy story and twisted characters make this a dark comedy of unparalleled proportions! This movie is not for the squeamish, prudish or weak of heart! I laughed my a$$ off and I don't even drink wine!
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on May 12, 2015
Street trash is one of those movies that you won't see making much of an impact, but you'll end up being pleasantly surprised. Its everything that made the 80's a great decade for horror. Though it mixes satire and dark comedy pretty well. It has pretty cool effects and a very colorful cast of characters to keep you interested. And the bonus features on this synapse release are well worth the money. The making of doc is pretty extensive.
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