Fans of Troma films are a different breed entirely. These folks are willing to overlook the little things (like acting, editing, dubbing, and a quality story) and embrace the more subtle nuances of cinema, like how wet a fart sounds, why that girl pees standing up, or how much blood can be squeezed out of one human body. I’ve never been a big fan of these films, but, from what I’ve seen, Street Trash is a film that would be right up a Troma fans urine-soaked little alley. This is a stomach churning, laugh-out-loud funny, and enormously silly little picture that plays like the bastard step-cousin of The Toxic Avenger; a gross-out picture with an extra dollop of nasty.
Set in a city where the homeless run wild, assaulting passers-by and shaking each other down for money and booze, the world of Street Trash is a hopeless wasteland of trash-filled streets, condemned buildings, and salvage yard cities ruled by a sociopathic Vietnam vet named Bronson. While the weaker willed bums cater to Bronson’s every whim, homeless brothers Freddy (Lackey) and Kevin (Sferrazza) still have enough wits about them to steer clear of the derelict dictator, and make do on their own. Still, it’s a rough game, and Freddy finds himself running afoul of Bronson when he steals some of the shakedown money from another bum, and decides he needs to drown his sorrows with a bottle of cheap hooch from the local liquor store. Meanwhile, the owner of the store has recently unearthed a case of sixty year old wine called Tenafly Viper that he figures will sell like hotcakes to the locals, especially at a buck a bottle, completely unaware that this particular brand of “rotgut” lives up to its name in spectacularly gory fashion.
There’s literally so much going on in Street Trash that I found it darned near impossible to follow. Then again, maybe I wasn’t supposed to be able to follow it at all, as the film seems to simply serve as an excuse to tie one over-the-top sequence to the next. From the colorful and gruesome meltdowns of the Tenafly Viper victims to a surreal game of keep away that involves a man’s recently severed penis, Street Trash is easily amongst the vilest and most depraved films I have ever witnessed. It’s also quite a hoot, and amazingly well put together. While I made comparisons to the Troma titles of the late 80’s, Street Trash is a far more accomplished looking film, with great camera work and spectacularly disgusting special effects. While the acting is purely amateur hour, this isn’t exactly a Merchant/Ivory production, and director James Muro wisely focuses on the sight gags and “action”.
Synapse has been touting this release for as long as this site has been online, but, for some reason, it’s been held up until now. I seem to remember there being mention of a spectacular 2-disc set of this movie being worked on at the time, but perhaps the same red tape that tied up the release led to the film finally coming to DVD in a fairly light on the extras edition. The transfer is absolutely gorgeous, without a hint of artifacts, and proves that, once again, Synapse is amongst the best in this department. However, in terms of extras, there’s only an original trailer, some liner notes, and a pair of Tenafly Viper stickers (so you can presumably make your own death juice). It’s rare that this company release a film with so little by way of supplemental stuff, so one has to assume that Synapse had bigger and better things in mind for this release, and was somehow prevented from pursuing them.
Still, I know that this is a film that has been eagerly anticipated, and fans will not be disappointed when they see just how amazing the transfer is. If you’re a fan of the Troma stuff, Peter Jackson’s early offerings, or just plain curious as to how far a movie can push beyond the boundaries of good taste, Street Trash is certainly a film for you.
Note: Several months after this review was originally published, Synapse released the Street Trash: Meltdown Edition, a two-disc collector's set featuring an obscene amount of extra material.