Written by: Michael Den Boer on January 16th, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1987
Director: James Muro
Writer: Roy Frumkes
Cast: Bill Chepil, Mike Lackey, Marc Sferrazza, Jane Arakawa, Nicole Potter, Pat Ryan
DVD released: January 11th, 2010
Approximate running time: 97 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Arrow Video
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £15.99
Synopsis: New York City is being overrun by the homeless who have all congregated at a junkyard. The local liquor store is selling $1 bottles of Viper that are so deadly that anyone who drinks them melts. The police are baffled after several homeless turn up after all their flesh and most of their bodies have melted away so they assign a hard nose cop name Bill to investigate these recent unexplained murders. Will the police be able to get to the bottom of this liquid mystery before the last bottle of Viper is consumed?
Street Trash immediately draws you in with one of the most ambitious openings too ever appear in any independent film. This sequence like several others in the film includes many steady cam shots. Street Trash was directed by Jim Muro who would go on to become one of Hollywood’s most in demand steady cam operators working on such films like Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Casino and Point Break. Muro’s use of the steady cam in Street Trash includes some of the most mesmerizing shots that you will ever see this side of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.
The story while pretty thin in substance and lacking of any fleshed out characters, still manages to keep you glued to the action wondering what the hell can happen next. The special effects are well done and downright disgusting looking as bodies melt and in some instances explode. Without a doubt the films strongest asset is its production design and use of natural locations. It is amazing seeing New York City before Mayor Giuliani cleaned it up for commerce. New York from this era looks more like a war zone then the tourist attraction it has since become.
Surprisingly the acting is really good, which many of these films typical lack good performances’ because of their lack of budget. My three favorite performances where Vic Noto as Bronson a whacked out war vet, Bill Chepil as an over the top juiced up cop and Mike Lackey as Fred. The most memorable moments in the film is when Bronson cuts off another homeless man’s penis for peeing on him and then the rest the bums start playing keep away with the penis. Ultimately Street Trash is 97 minutes of pure grind house fun as you get melting bodies, deceptions, severed genitals and some well placed moments of T&A.
Arrow Video presents Street Trash in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This is a solid looking transfer that is on par with the region 1 DVD release from Synapse Films.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. The audio sounds crystal clear, balanced and at times robust.
All the extras for this release are located on disc two. Extras include an interview with actress Jane Arakawa (9 minutes and 12 seconds) and a feature length documentary titled “Meltdown Memories” (123 minutes and 58 seconds), which includes comments from the majority of the cast and crew and audition footage. This is a detailed documentary that retraces the project from its origins, production stories and the film’s original theatrical release. The interview with Jane Arakawa is a welcome addition since she is one of the cast members who did not appear in “Meltdown Memories”. This release like Arrow’s previous release comes with a double sided cover and replica poster. Overall Street Trash makes its way to DVD in the UK via a fully uncut DVD from Arrow Video that comes with a strong audio / video presentation and an exceptional feature length documentary about the film.