Street Trash (1987)

Rating:

USA. 1987.

Crew

Director – Jim Muro, Screenplay/Producer – Roy Frumkes, Photography – David Sperling, Music – Rick Ulfik, Special Effects – Matt Vogel, Makeup Effects – Jennifer Aspinall & Mike Lackey, Production Design – Bob Marlucci. Production Company – Chaos Productions

Cast

Mike Lackey (Fred), Vic Noto (Bronson), Bill Chepil (Bill James), Mark Sferrazza (Kevin), Jane Arakawa (Wendy), R.L. Ryan (Frank Schnizer), Tony Darrow (Nick Duran), James Lorinz (Doorman), Clarenze Jarmon (Burt), M. D’Jango Krunch (Ed), Bernard Perlman (Wizzy), Nicole Potter (Sarah)


Plot

A group of bums that live in a junkyard start drinking an alcohol called Viper, which the local liquor store is selling at knockdown prices. However, Viper has the unfortunate side effect of causing them melt down into putrescent goo.


Making a low-budget film of perverse ferocity or outright dementia has been the means whereby a number of genre directors have gained the attention needed to get a foothold in the film industry – George Romero, Tobe Hooper, Sam Raimi, Peter Jackson all did. This was Jim Muro’s attempt – although it is unlikely that Street Trash will ever be looked back on as another Night of the Living Dead (1968), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), The Evil Dead (1981), Re-Animator (1985) or Bad Taste (1988).

The abovementioned films succeeded through their unrelenting or blackly funny assault on one’s sensibilities. The only assault on one’s sensibilities that Street Trash achieves is one of gratuitous unpleasantry – every second word in the film is ‘fuck’, and everywhere else director Jim Muro serves up rapes, corpse fuckings, urinatings on dead bodies and an incredibly moronic sequence involving a chase for a severed penis. Far being it from one wanting to seem a prude but never has their seemed so little point to a film. Never has there been a film so unable to locate its celebration of bad taste within the context of a narrative. The entire selling point of the film is its meltdowns, yet they are wholly extraneous to the plot. In fact, there is almost no discernible plot to the film whatsoever.

Street Trash is not a film without its minor merits – the camerawork is surprisingly slick and Jennifer Aspinall’s psychedelic meltdown effects are accomplished and inventive – far better than many in some high-budget productions. There is also a witty cameo from James Lorinz of Frankenhooker (1990) as a busboy who starts insulting his Mafia boss before finding he is unable get into a witness protection program.

Street Trash is the only film that director Jim Muro has ever made. Subsequently Muro has gone on to become a Steadicam operator within the Hollywood mainstream on top-drawer films like The Abyss (1989), Dances with Wolves (1990), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), The Doors (1991), True Lies (1994), Strange Days (1995), Titanic (1997), The Fast and the Furious (2001) and the X-Men sequels. Producer Roy Frumkes went onto write the scripts for the Dutch horror film The Johnsons (1992) and the action film The Substitute (1996), while he has also directed/produced Document of the Dead (1989), a documentary about George Romero. Frumkes also subsequently made a documentary The Meltdown Memoirs (2006) about the making of Street Trash.



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