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This Movie Stinks… Of Beauty: Street Trash

November 2, 2008

STREET TRASH (1987)
d. Jim Muro

You gotta love those trashy independent horror films from the 80s — The Toxic Avenger, Re-Animator, and Street Trash (among many more). Films such as these pushed the envelope of taste and humour as they stretched the boundaries of what was allowable on-screen — insane gore effects despite the low budgets, and, more often than not, full frontal nekkid chicks (and a couple of penis shots for fair balance).

You Know It's the 80s When It's Neon-Colored

You Know It’s the 80s When It’s Neon-Colored

This cult movie, long consigned to the back wall of video stores, finally made its DVD debut a couple of years back in a souped up two-disc “meltdown” edition released by Synapse Films. It tells the story of a community of bums living out of a automobile wrecking yard in Flatbush, Brooklyn, and what happens when a 60 year-old hooch, Viper, hits that community and starts melting bums from the inside out.

This low-budget schlock-fest pulls no punches as homeless people either dissolve into puddles of neon-colored goo or explode in a fury of guts and blood, and yet it maintains a fun spirit, serving up the hyucks as well as the yucks. I mean, when the junkyard bums start playing monkey-in-the-middle with a man’s severed penis, you kinda have to laugh; it’s all very broad slapstick humour, but usually for gory horror films like this it works.

Watching this movie made me nostalgic for that brand of movie that Troma specializes in still, and the gore is so over-the-top fake that it is more charming than disgusting and made me appreciate more the pre-CGI gore days.

The performances for a script that serves up such outrageous set-pieces are entirely fitting and quite engaging. Everyone gets a good line in, from the overweight junkyard foreman to the smart-aleck doorman (who gets the bulk of the best lines). The subplot romance between the foreman’s assistant and a teen runaway goes nowhere, but you’re not really watching this movie for its relationship story.

And pretty much all across the board, all the characters have quite the personality. From the junkyard king, Bronson, who carves knives out of femur bones while occasionally flashing back to Vietnam, to the lead bum, Freddie, who still looks like a hippie shambling from the law and the other bums who have it out for him.

And for a movie that allows a beheaded character’s last POV be an upskirt of the leading lady as she jumps over him, you can’t take it too seriously. If you love your horror trashy and your humour raunchy, then sit down with some good buds and some suds and enjoy those gross-outs.

**1/2 stars for the nostalgia and the crazy things that you don’t see in horror movies nowadays.

Next up, Saw IV finally arrived in the mail. And after that, the Terry Gilliam helmed The Brothers Grimm.

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