Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 24th, 2006
Theatrical Release Dates: USA, 1987
Director: James Muro
Writer: Roy Frumkes
Cast: Bill Chepil, Mike Lackey, Marc Sferrazza, Jane Arakawa, Nicole Potter, Pat Ryan
DVD released: September 26th, 2006
Approximate running time: 102 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Synapse Films
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95
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 102 minutes of pure grind house fun as you get melting bodies, deceptions, severed genitals and some well placed moments of T&A.
Synapse Films presents Street Trash in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. The transfer used for this release titled “Meltdown Edition” is the same one Synapse Films used for their bare bones release of Street Trash last year. Colors are vivid as they literally jump off the screen and details look razor sharp. There are no problems with artifacts, compression or edge enhancement. Overall this transfer is so damn clean you could eat off of it.
This release comes with two audio options the film’s original mono and a new Dolby Digital 5.1 remix. Both audio mixes are in English. The main difference between the two audio mixes is that the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix sounds more spread out then the mono mix which keeps the sound mostly centered. Dialog is clear and music and effects are lively. There are no problems with hiss, distortion or any other sound defects.
Extras for this release are spread over two discs.
Extras on the first disc include the film’s original trailer and two audio commentaries one with director Jim Muro and the other with producer/writer Roy Frumkes. Jim Muro’s audio commentary includes many interesting facts about the various cast members and he also discusses in depth various techniques that he used like the use of steady cam in the film. Roy Frumkes audio commentary just like his documentary about the film titled “Meltdown Memories” is a detailed and fact filled journey about every aspect of this project from its creation up to and including noticing flaws in the film years later. Overall both audio commentaries are excellent and essential listening for every hardcore fan of the film.
Extras on the second disc include a behind the scenes still gallery, the original promo teaser trailer for the film and the original 16mm short film that inspired the film. Last but not least is a documentary titled “Meltdown Memories” that clocks in at just over two hours in length and includes interviews with just about everyone involved in the project. Besides interviews with cast & crew there are stills and behind the scenes footage that has been incorporated into the documentary. “Meltdown Memories” is the most thorough documentaries that you will ever see as it perfectly complements the two audio commentaries included on the first DVD.
Street Trash Synapse Films Meltdown Edition is the definitive release of the film that fans have waited all these years for as it not only comes with a stunning audio/video presentation it also comes with a mother load of extras that should keep you occupied for awhile, highly recommended.