Fright Fest 2018 Review #3 – Street Trash (1987)

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Bum flush

Subgenre:  Body Horror / Exploitation

Summary:  A strange beverage melts its drinkers from the inside out.

Review:  Street Trash lets us know the type of movie we’re in for right off the bat by brazenly displaying no less than five pairs of breasts before the five-minute mark.  Let no one accuse this movie of tonal indecision; Street Trash is a sleazy gross-out picture that utterly revels in its own filth.

Our protagonist (‘hero’ is not the right word here) is Fred (Mike Lackey), a handsome bum who lives in a junkyard with his pals and his teenage brother.  He panhandles on corners while avoiding the monstrous Bronson (Vic Noto), an unhinged ’Nam vet and homeless gang leader.  When the owner (M. D’Jango Krunch) of the vagrants’ favorite liquor store digs up a mysterious shipment of “Tenafly Viper” liquor, he’s completely unaware of its flesh-eating side effects, and soon the town’s entire homeless population is at risk of liquification.

Street Trash is not a movie for today’s PC crowd.  The dialogue seems hellbent on offending every protected group imaginable, and its depiction of homelessness – from its title to its premise to its foul cast of characters – is less than compassionate.  Nearly all the characters are lowlifes, with the villains – whose penchants range from rape to genital mutilation to necrophilia – crossing the line into complete degeneracy.  But in a movie as gleefully, well, trashy as this, these qualities become virtues, and it’s hard not to get caught up in the joyful tastelessness of it all.  These guilty pleasures are only cemented by the horror element, itself nothing more than an excuse to show off some nauseatingly over-the-top gore effects.  The melting sequences never fully convince, but they elicit the exact reaction they’re going for: a winning mix of disgust, horror, and laughter.  It’s a credit to the movie that no two death scenes are the same, though some are inevitably more effective than others.

The weakest part of Street Trash is its meandering second act, which forgets the central body-melting conceit and instead becomes a sort of bizarro crime drama.  This detour isn’t without its moments, but it simply goes on for too long without delivering on the promise of the movie’s premise.  Thankfully, Street Trash ends up saving some of its most memorably revolting displays for its melt-tacular last fifteen minutes, which more than make up for whatever gory goods its midsection lacks.

The Verdict:  Street Trash isn’t quite a B-Movie classic, but it’s a heartfelt ode to bad taste and a gooey good time.  I give it six-and-a-half dissolving derelicts out of ten.

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