Reviewed by Patrick Cooper
Prolific Steadicam operator James Muro has only directed one feature film (so far) in his career, but hot damn is it a doozy. I speak of Street Trash, the slimy shocker that has been barraging viewers’ eyeballs since 1987. It’s recently arrived on Blu-ray in a “Special Meltdown Edition” courtesy of Synapse Films and technicolor melting lowlifes have never looked better!
The smart-mouthed owner of a liquor store is rummaging around his basement one day when he comes across a dusty case of bottles labeled “Tenefly Viper.” He puts them on sale for $1 each to give the local riff-raff something cheap to drink – presumably so they’ll get the hell out of his store faster. A regular wino named Fred (Mike Lackey) is the first to buy, but a fellow bum he pissed off earlier intercepts his bottle. Good thing too, because once the guy takes a small sip of the Viper, he bubbles and melts in the most glorious toilet scene in cinema history.
The rest of the film pits Fred and his brother up against the local vagrant population, led by demented Vietnam veteran Bronson, the king of the hobos. He’s got a makeshift throne in the auto wreckage yard and everything. As more bums continue to melt under the toxic hooch, Bronson becomes more enraged, the Mafia starts asking questions, and the cops have no clue what’s going on.
Based around the simple premise of melting bums with tainted liquor, Street Trash weaves together a bloody rainbow of depravity, comedy, and some genuinely great filmmaking that’s artfully photographed. The film achieves an almost epic scope with the filthiest cast of characters ever.
There’s so much to love in this film. I really dig the beginning of the film, which is a lot like the beginning of Disney’s Aladdin. Actually, Aladdin came out five years after Street Trash, so Disney has some explaining to do. Fred goes into the liquor store and steals a bottle of Viper. Then as the opening credits do their thing, he runs through the most derelict sections of lower Manhattan, which back then looked like a warzone. He steals money out of another bum’s hands, causes a car accident, and dodges pissed off civilians. It’s such a kick ass opening and sets the stage for the heaps of beautiful lewdness to come. By heaps I mean castration, penis toss, necrophilia, and blatant chicken theft.
Released during the glory days of ’80s VHS, Street Trash is available now on Blu-ray and it’s a major upgrade from the 2005 Synapse DVD release. 15 years later and this film will still shock the hell out of an audience.
Street Trash is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen in 1080p HD. My god, the colors pop on this disc like never before. It’s truly fucking gorgeous. The clarity and contrast are sharp as hell and the colors during the melting scenes will kick you in the eyes. The audio is presented in both mono and a brand new 5.1 mix. The new 5.1 mix sounded okay, but a little clunky in parts.
Audio Commentary with Writer/Producer Roy Frumkes: this track provides heaps of information and amazing on-set stories. Like the one about the pig’s head floating ashore or a cameraman almost getting crushed when filming inside a garbage truck. This is a really engaging track and definitely worth a listen.
Audio Commentary with Director James Muro: this track is more focused on the technical aspects of the shoot than Frumkes’ track, but there are some great stories too. You might as well check this track out of you’re making a day of Street Trash already.
The Meltdown Memoirs: this full-length making of documentary could be packaged and sold on its own – it’s that good. It’s as comprehensive as can be with pretty much every cast and crewmember still alive taking part. There are loads of behind the scenes footage, storyboards, and photos as well as a smorgasbord of bizarre and hilarious anecdotes. And alternate takes of melting boobs.
Jane Arakawa Interview: Jane isn’t in The Meltdown Memoirs, so it’s great they tracked her down for this interview. She discusses the shoot and her life with Rolling Stones legendary backup singer Bernard Fowler.
The Original Street Trash 16mm Short: this is a fun watch after viewing the full-length. Features Mike Lackey and more bubbling bums!
Deleted Scenes/Outtakes: nothing too fantastic here, but fuck it, you’ve watched four hours of bonus footage already…
Promotional Teaser: features original footage not seen in the feature that they used to raise cash.
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