Street Trash (1987)

This splatter cult flick is a must see if you enjoy out of the box horror and imaginative deaths. This film began as a short piece for director J. Michael Muro as a thesis for film school, but was actually rejected by his professors. With vivid scenes, sleazy storylines and plenty of dark comedy, Street Trash is a one of a kind film.

This film is about a 60-year-old case of Viper wine sold to (or stolen by) the large homeless community that reside at a junkyard in Brooklyn, New York. The Viper however, causes the drinker to explode, or in some cases, melt, and here begins the birth of the subgenre of ‘melt-horror’. What’s great about this is that Muro decided to go with neon and pastel colours rather than the traditional blood and gore seen in most horrors. This adds an amusing touch to the bloodshed witnessed as well as being rather pleasing to watch.

There is a story to this film, focusing on two homeless brothers and a crazy Vietnam War Veteran who sets up a kingdom in the junkyard, being hunted by a useless cop. The film does grind to a halt here, with uninteresting dialogue and to be honest rather boring conversations, but things speed up quite quickly when someone drinks some Viper or if anything sleazy happens. And this is one thing this film does not lack, sleaze.

With a plot offensive as this, Street Trash would fall on its face if it were made in our modern day. Existing happily as a cult classic, we witness racism, sexism and scenes of necrophilia. The death by gang rape scene is the most brutal and disturbing thing in this film, and probably the scariest. The rest of the offences are heavily diluted with comic overtones and vibrant guts. It’s a wonder this film was even passed for release in the US at the time.

And what’s really great about this film is ability to make you laugh, the funniest moment would have to be when the homeless men play piggy in the middle with one guys dismembered member. It’s a lot of black comedy, which some people won’t like, but for me it’s just great. Another thing about this film is that it can produce some moments of wide-eyed wonder. I’ve never seen anything like this film before, and the moment I saw a melted pool of a man in a toilet, I was truly amazed. Not only were the special effects great, the idea was original and unique, especially at the time of its release in 1987.

This film is vulgar, offensive, and gross to name a few, but also wildly colourful and hilarious. Taking pride of place as mother to the body melt genre, Street Trash inspired many other films such as the 1993 hit ‘Body Melt’. This is a film I will never forget. It’s even inspired me to think out the box when attempting special effects makeup, using bold colours to replace the traditional dark reds of gore.

Check out the trailer here, and let me know what you thought of this film!


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