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28.1.13

WRITTEN REVIEW: Street Trash

By CORY CARR
Well, that very special time of year is upon us again. The McRib has made a return to a McDonald’s near you, and I am reviewing yet another 80's Goo Movie, Street Trash from 1987.

This years McRib experience got pushed back a few months due to this summers drought. I can’t imagine what that would have to do with a reconstituted meat like substance that is grown “within some secret underground McDonalds bunker, in chemical holding tanks”. But with my crazy conspiracy theories aside, there is some truth to the old adage, “There’s very little meat in these gym mats.”

While researching the McRib for this fantastical review, I came upon some startling, while simultaneously, unsurprising information. One of the many chemical preservatives used in the McRib can also be found in yoga mats. Yep, read it for yourself. I believe my work here is done, now onto Street Trash.


I don't think a McRib is supposed to come to life and try to kill me. Such is the unpredictable nature of the McRib.

This film is made up of a kaleidoscope of colorful characters, loosely centered around a hard-boiled police officer investigating a series of deaths. Some are caused by “Tenafly Viper”, a newly discovered hooch that, unbeknownst to it’s liquor store dealer, turns all who drink it into melted crayons. What do I mean by that? Well, Tenafly Viper reacts badly once it reaches the squishy pink insides of the bums who drink it, causing them to break down on a molecular level. Colorful goop oozes out of their various orifices and before long, they are nothing more than a puddle of blue, red, yellow and/or green muck.


Dripping from the face and hands while sinking deeper into the toilet. This is what I look like after eating the McRib.

The other deaths are the handy work of Bronson. Bronson [Vic Noto] is a homeless veteran who has gone all “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. He lives in a junkyard in lower Manhattan, where most of this film takes place, and is the king of trash mountain; the leader of the hobos. Bronson attained this prestigious position through sheer tyranny. The other hobos are so terrified of Bronson‘s rage, brought on by NAM flashbacks, that they pretty much do whatever he demands. Who wouldn’t be afraid of a two hundred and fifty pound psycho with a hunting knife carved from a human femur?

While the investigation floats along in the background of the film, the real entertainment begins as we spend a day in the life of a bum. Freddy, a career bum, and his younger brother Kevin, also a bum, live in Bronson’s junkyard along with an entire community of homeless, mentally deranged, degenerates. Freddy’s daily ambitions are to get loaded, panhandle enough to fill his belly, and if all goes right, get some tail. Sure, he’s young and able bodied, but why clean himself up and get a job when he can just beg, steal and lay about? A hobo’s life for me I always say. In fact, among this particular group of income deficient individuals, the idea of one of their own getting themselves cleaned up is a fate measured worse than death. How can a wino bum and his misfortune be taken seriously if they smell of Irish Spring?


Freddy [Mike Lackey] and Kevin [Mark Sferrazza] have been homeless ever since their father, who was a veteran of the Vietnam War, kicked the bucket. While Freddy is content running from liquor store owners, rival bums and greasy mobsters in order to get by, his brother is interested in a more traditional lifestyle. He’s been spending all his free time with a young woman who works as a receptionist in the office at the junkyard. The dame has been filling his simple head full of ideas about domesticated family life. When he confronts Freddy about his sudden lifestyle desires, the two brothers don’t see eye to eye.

Meanwhile, “Bill the Cop” [Bill Chepil] has been looking into yet another death. This time a young, middle class women, has been found inside the walls of the junkyard. She, drunk out of her mind, followed Freddy back to his car tire igloo of an apartment for a little late night nookie. Once Freddy gets his rocks off, he does what any self-respecting young bum would do, he get the fuck outta there! Leaving the poor gal behind, still wanting, he finds a nice spot to curl up and sleep it off while the woman’s cries for desire draw in the hoard of deranged, zombie like junkyard dwellers. The next morning her dead naked body is found ass up on the river shoreline that boarders the yard.

“Bill the Cop” has had enough. He couldn’t prove that Bronson was responsible for the other deaths, but this time he isn’t going to let bureaucratic red tape like a warrant, or evidence, or probable cause get in his way. Bill scales the junkyard fence and starts to stealthily root around the stacks of old automobiles. The Bronson hunt is on. Soon the two meat heads encounter each other and the battle begins. No greater war has been waged since the 1988, Piper-David back alley feud of They Live. . . Well okay, it isn’t quite that spectacular and in short, Bronson wins. He gets the drop in Bill by stabbing him in the back with his bone blade, then strangles him to death. I’m happy to see that Bronson hasn’t lost his touch. Choking out entire platoons of Vietnamese guerrilla fighters is one thing, but “Bill the Cop”? I tip my hat to you sir.

While “the War to Settle the Score” was waging in the junkyard, Freddy makes an attempt to drown his woes in a bottle of Tenafly Viper, when he makes the shocking discovery that the stuff has been melting his homeless compatriots. Freddy witnesses this first hand as he presses the bottle of Viper to his lips and is interrupted by a loud gurgling sound, accompanied by moans. Near by, one of the nameless rabble has also managed to get his mitts on a bottle of the rotgut liquor, and as a result has blown up like a balloon. Ready to pop, the man jiggles and bounces around in agony before, you guessed it, he explodes in a spectacular rainbow of gooey wet Viper death. Now hip to what Viper can do, Freddy makes a bee-line back to the junkyard to warn the others.


Things come to a head when Bronson’s main squeeze sips down some of the vile Viper and her tits begin to squirt and melt away. Bronson, now shocked and confused by this colorful turn of events, loses his damn mind. . . again, and tares ass through the junkyard; killing everyone he comes in contact with.

During his murderous rampage, Bronson encounters young Kevin about to cash-in his V-Card to Wendy [Jane Arakawa], his love interest. The two try to lose Bronson as they lead him through the maze that is the junkyard office and storage area. Freddy, just arriving, makes an attempt to save his brother, and distracts Bronson by splashing his bottle of Viper onto his face, melting half of it off immediately. Now Bronson means business. With Freddy in Bronson’s grasp, quick thinking Kevin hammers off the valve of an air tank, launching it through the air like a rocket. In one of the best special effects of the film and one of the more interesting beheading I’ve seen in a movie, the tank rips through Bronson, leaving a ten inch hole in between his shoulders and sends his head flying through the air in a spectacularly gruesome sight.


There are many scenes that I found very entertaining or down right hilarious, but I omitted them from this synopsis because they didn’t add anything to the main story and it was pretty hard to shoe horn them in. Ya know, stuff like bums who steal from the corner grocery store by jamming frozen chicken breasts down their pants, then calling the other patrons of the store stuff like, “old honky bitch”. But don’t worry I’ll talk about more of that stuff later.

THE VERDICT
The tag line for this film could easily be “Street Trash; the movie that Troma never made“, because while watching it I couldn’t help but feel as thou I was watching a Troma movie. It’s dark and raunchy sense of humor, and morbidly lighthearted and gross death scenes are things that I’ve grown accustomed to through my many stays in Tromaville. It lacks some of Troma’s intensity, but otherwise is mistakable for Troma.

The plot of this film is constructed rather loosely. It often takes little detours from the main story and spends time with some of it’s wacky characters and their daily adventures. But that isn’t a negative as much as it may sound. In fact I really like this and think it offers up some of the best parts of the movie, second only to the grossly colorful death scenes.

One of the more memorable scenes that I omitted from, but mentioned in my synopsis was the scene in which Burt [Clarenze Jarmon], a homeless vet and friend of Freddy, steals from a grocery store. As he stuffs package after package of chicken into his pants, he is ratted out by one of the other customers. When the manager confronts him, Burt explains that he wasn’t stealing, he already paid for the chicken and presents a receipt. What Burt didn’t realize was that his receipt was for dog food and the manager calls bullshit. Burt flips his shit and proceeds to knock over customers and displays alike as he makes his way to the from of the store, letting out a slue of ridiculous slurs. He slips a paper grocery bag over his head and says, "Now watch this!", as he walks head first through the store's enormous front window, leaving a trail of raw chicken streaming from his pant legs. I think this is my favorite part of the whole movie because, while it's totally nuts, I could see this happening on a bad day in some seedy part of town.


Another great scene is one that involved Bronson forcefully removing the member of one of his junkyard underlings. This results in a game of penis keep-away in which the bums are hurling this poor man’s penis through the air to one another, like a child’s hat on a elementary school playground. All while it is being chased helplessly by the man it belongs to. This movie is a class act, all the way.


Sometimes I pondered to myself whether or not what I was watching had deeper subtext. “Is this movie trying to say something?”. When Viper finds it’s way into the junkyard, one by one the bums fall victim to it. The fact that it is cheap and redally available makes the bums prime customers for such a deadly tonic. I couldn’t help but draw a similarity between Viper and the Crack Cocaine epidemic that infiltrated urban society in the 80’s and 90’s. Isn’t that what this film is referring to? Well, what about alcoholism among American’s poverty stricken? Surely it’s commenting on how unfair our veterans have been treated over the years, right? . . . Right?? What about sexism at the workplace?

And the answer is, “Nah!”. It’s just pants on head crazy fun.

I loved all the jokes that were racist, sexist, politically incorrect, that poked fun at the handicapped, veterans, the homeless and were generally tasteless. Not only because I’m a terrible human being but because they play on, and parody, stereotypes that people believe about the homeless and veterans. It was like laughing at jokes about jokes.

I can’t put into words all the things that I feel about this film. I laughed, I cried, I got an erection. Check it out!

Also, one last thing, Street Trash started out as a short film which you can see HERE.

STREET TRASH

★ ★ ★

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