Street Trash (1987) ****

Street Trash (1987) is a film I have a long history with, dating back to frequent viewings on VHS with my friends in high school. It holds the distinction of being in my Top 100 Films, if only because it's so blatant in its offensiveness, but also because it delivers—gooey, slimy, splattery, neon gore in buckets, that is.

There's a loose plot involving decades-old booze called Tenafly Viper, which causes those unfortunate enough to drink it to ooze, bubble and drip to their death (why this happens is never explained, but hey, we need an excuse to melt some people here!). On top of that, a sociopathic Vietnam vet named Bronson who rules the roost at a junkyard has some major PTSD and proves a threat to just about everyone. Everything else is just sort of stitched together but that's part of the charm.

Yes, the film's characters are unapologetically mean, racist, homophobic and misogynistic, but it also paints a picture of the homeless, cops, prostitutes, and liquor store owners in New York that, while clearly over the top in their comedic portrayals, also feels genuine for the time. In particular, our "villain" Bronson and his 'nam flashbacks provide a level of disturbing realism amidst all the chaos. I'm not sure that it redeems the film in any way but it does feature a multi-cultural cast and everyone (sort of) gets equally shitty treatment.

It must also be mentioned that this film looks fantastic, as if it was made with a much bigger budget. That's thanks to director James M. Muro. While this is his sole directing credit, he went on to become one of the most sought-after camera operators (in particular Steadicam) for both b-movies and huge Hollywood films (seriously, take a look at his credits).

If you want Trash, then look no further. For here you'll find it, in the form of a subversive, sometimes silly, sometimes groan-inducing, hilarious, quotable, cult classic. If you're seeking political correctness, then take a different Street.

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