The Film (4/5)
I tend to be a very wordy writer at times, so I'm just going to cut to the chase. Street Trash is the best film that 80’s Troma NEVER made, and one of if not the best American splatter film of the late 80’s. The only competition I can think of are the films of Frank Henenlotter for sheer gross out quality. This is film at it's most immature and fun. It is a gory, sick, trashy, and blatantly offensive film that wears all of these things on it’s gooey sleeve like a badge of bloody honor.
Street Trash has the most threadbare of plots, and is pretty much an excuse to move from one splattery set piece to another. This is not a complaint. Basically the story involves a bunch of homeless people living in the New York City of the late 80's. They all live around a junkyard, and go about their lives drifting around, and doing whatever they can to raise a few bucks to buy booze.
Unfortunately for the lot of them the local liquor store owner has found a 60 year old box of cheap hooch called Tenafly Viper in his basement, and put it on for sale $1 a bottle. The saying you get what you pay for has never been truer, as those amongst them who actually drink the stuff meltdown into piles of colorful goo (or explode in some cases). This is the most basic description of what's going on in Street Trash, there are a ridiculous number of plot lines going through the film involving psychotic Vietnam Vets, police investigations, and issues with a local Mafia head, and his girlfriend. There’s enough going on here to fill a few movies, and that is actually the solitary weak point of the film. The film runs pretty close to two hours, and for a film that is essentially an over the top splatter film it occasionally feels too long and drawn out by the various extraneous goings on.
The performances are not any great shakes, but they fit the film perfectly. The cast each bring a unique charisma to their parts, but the acting is very B-Movie. I will, however, take a moment to isolate an early performance by the young James Lorinz who plays the doorman at a restaurant played by a local Mafia head. Lorinz is not in the film for more than a few minutes, and yet owns every single moment he is on screen with a performance that makes me laugh out loud every single time I watch the film. Lorinz would go on to splatter movie stardom in Frank Henenlotter's later masterpiece Frankenhooker (also on Blu-ray through Synapse), but he gets an awesome debut here.
Street Trash was written and produced by Document of the Dead's Roy Frumkes and based on the student film Street Trash by director Jim Muro. It should be no surprise to anyone who has watched this film that Muro has gone on to great things in Hollywood (although not as a director, but as a DP and Steadicam Operator). The direction in Street Trash shows extreme confidence in his vision, and although it borrows liberally from the Sam Raimi school of horror, Muro brings enough of his own tricks to the table to make Street Trash a unique viewing experience.
Which brings me to the FX lead by another soon to be success Jennifer Aspinall (Star Trek). Anyone who was a fan of horror in the 80's knows pretty well that it was a pretty gore soaked decade especially on home video, Street Trash is a similarly gory film, however, rather than drench the film in the red stuff the makers of the film decided to go in a distinctly different direction which has also helped separate Street Trash from it's 80's horror peers. When the characters meltdown and explode instead of dying in giant heaps of blood they essentially turn into giant messes of colorful goo. This allows them to lay the FX on pretty thick, and not have to worry (as much) about MPAA intervention, not to mention the FX are really amazing to look at especially now in their upgrade to HD.
I have been watching Street Trash since VHS, have owned it on DVD, and am now watching it on Blu-ray. This a film that never fails to entertain, my inner 15 year old gets excited anytime I hit play on my remote for this one, and the 31 year old me still finds new reasons to love it.
OK, so if you're reading this you probably notice that little Synapse Films logo in the corner of the Street Trash cover. That is a logo that 95% of the time means the Blu-ray you are about to view is going to be the best looking version of a particular film you have ever seen. In the case of Street Trash this is entirely true. They have presented Street Trash in an AVC encoded 1080p transfer preserving the film original 1:78:1 aspect ratio. The films color scheme comes out beautifully, blacks are completely solid, and detail has vastly improved from their already spectacular meltdown edition. There is a healthy organic grain structure present through the transfer that allows the film to look completely completely true to it's source.
Synapse have presented Street Trash with 2 audio options a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track and a DTS-HD mono track. Both tracks sound excellent, but for my viewing purposes I stuck with the mono track for the most part. The dialogue comes through crisp and clear, as do music and sound effects. I did not detect any instances of pops, cracks, or hissing on the track.
Everything from the Meltdown DVD Edition has been ported over the Blu-ray release of Street Trash in addition there are a few new features to sweeten an already sweet deal. The main extra on this set is the 2 hour hour documentary the Meltdown Memoirs. It is an elaborate in depth documentary on the making of the film, and could very easily be subtitled Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Making Street Trash, But Were Afraid to Ask." This is followed up by a pair of commentary tracks the first by producer/writer Roy Frumkes, and second one is courtesy of director James Muro. This is followed by the original promo teaser to Street Trash, and the 16mm student film version. We then get some new to the Blu features including a one on one interview with actress Jane Arakawa, who was not present in the Meltdown Memoirs. We also get a bunch of deleted scenes that weren't on the DVD Release rounding off the set.
Street Trash is one of the most fun and gory splatter epics of the late 80's. The Synapse Films Blu-ray takes this low budget ode to the melting homeless, and gives it a truly astonishing five star upgrade. They have also taken their already amazing slate of extras from the DVD, and added to them creating a package that is truly essential for Street Trash fans and cult film buffs alike. It should be no shock to anyone reading that the Synapse Films Blu-ray of Street Trash comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!