I’m excited to announce the publication of my short story “Pork Snorting Dave” on E.S. Wynn’s SMASHED CAT MAGAZINE. What could possibly go wrong as a fast food employee stages a robbery while a presumed witch is his sole customer? Find out!
Another resurrected article from Splatter-shack.com (Rest in peace), this one came from the depths of my laptop’s hard drive.
Here’s what I had to say about Jim Muro’s one-of-a-kind cult classic opus:
Street Trash is a film that takes no prisoners. It’s unabashedly perverse. In terms of pure sleaze and unadulterated tastelessness, it rivals Pink Flamingos. And as far as melt movies go, it’s right up there with Body Melt and The Incredible Melting Man as one of the most entertaining of its kind. So rewind your Lightning Video VHS, cue up the Synapse special edition DVD or Blu-Ray, because Splatter Shack [RPAAL] brings you 10 Reasons to Love Street Trash, a movie that becomes increasingly potent with age … just like a bottle of Tenafly Viper.
1. Screenwriter Roy Frumkes Set Out to Make Street Trash as Tasteless as Possible.
Roy Frumkes claimed, “I wrote [Street Trash] to democratically offend every group on the planet.” He was successful. If the necrophilia scene doesn’t get you, then you are desensitized to a point of reckless abandon. There are so many scenes that cross boundaries in Street Trash, and only for the sake of crossing boundaries, that it’s … exhilarating. The offensiveness isn’t serious, though. It’s obviously artificial and exaggerated: cartoonish. Self-consciously ridiculous, it makes a tall tale out of human depravity; it’s a liberating mockery of seriousness. Street Trash is not only funny, it’s anti-serious. How can you not love it?
2. James Lorinz from Frankenhooker
Street Trash is indeed the debut role of James Lorinz, who distinguished himself as the mad scientist Jeffrey Franken in Frank Henenlotter’s Frankenhooker. In Street Trash, Lorinz plays the smart-ass doorman who tangles with the mob. Even as a relatively minor role, his nervy, spineless, and indignant character lights up the pointless mafia sub-plot of Street Trash like a roman candle. Lorinz knows just how to dis a gangster. He proves it, delivering lines like: “Everybody’s a hot headed gangster. Everybody’s Mr. Mafia. Ha! The Don! The Don of Douchebags, that’s what you are. Nick–Nick the Dick. That’s what they call you behind your back.” Lorinz will improve anything … even Robocop 3.
3. The Special Effects
Melt movies usually have superb, gory special effects. Of its kind, Street Trash has some of the most creative and grotesque ones ever staged. Not only do human bodies melt, explode, and disintegrate by chemicals, they do so with vibrant bursts of colorful slime. Street Trash is truly a movie that disgusts with all colors of the rainbow. Why show vomit when you could show bright purple vomit? The gore is comical on the one hand (Saturday Night Live‘s makeup artist Jennifer Aspinall worked on the effects team), and surreal on the other. It makes Evil Dead 2 look like Italian Neo-realism.
4. The Soundtrack
The mid ’80s was a great time for synth soundtracks. And Rick Ulfik’s soundtrack to Street Trash is exemplary. It has the doomful Moog drones reminiscent of John Carpenter’s Escape From New York score, portions that sound like Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit,” as well as some tasteless moments of musical irony. The severed penis keep-away music, for example, could seemingly be heard on a infomercial advertising a Red Skelton box-set, or some such thing. Hopefully a day will come when the soundtrack to Street Trash is made available for purchase; until then, Rick Ulfik’s bad ass score is just another reason to keep rewatching.
5. The One Liners
Not even Big Trouble in Little China has as many classic quotes as Street Trash. Virtually every character in the movie has at least one line that is simultaneously tough and funny. Burt the bum, who conceals frozen chicken in his parachute pants, throws verbal daggers like: “Now why don’t we just pull down your pants so we can see all the lilly white paint on your Haitian black ass?” The fat, necrophiliac junkyard worker Frank cries out in anguish: “I don’t need this. I already got trouble with my kids, my wife, my business, my secretary, the bums, the runaways, the roaches, prickly heat, and a homo dog. This just ain’t my day.” The best line of all in Street Trash, however, is hobo Fred’s as, under stress, he buys a bottle of Viper: “Fuck you. Gimme a bottle of booze, here’s my dollar. Suck my dick.”
6. The Cold-Blooded, Maniacal Villain
Every great movie has a great villain. Street Trash has Bronson, played by the wild-eyed, bearded, and huge Vic Noto. The Bronson character is a real Apocalypse Now reject. He is a homeless, paranoid Vietnam combat veteran, dishonorably discharged, who carries around a knife made out of a human femur. Having established a dictatorial monopoly over his fellow bums, he is the head honcho of the junkyard. He rules with an iron fist and has paranoid war delusions as severe as they come. His Nam dream sequence, in particular, is harrowing. Vic Noto plays a blurry line between insanity and evil perfectly. When Bronson yells “DEAD MAGGOT SHIT!,” people listen.
7. Burt’s Gas Mask
Burt, the bum who stuffs frozen chicken down his parachute pants, wears a toxic gas mask around. His reason for wearing it is never explained. We first see him wearing the mask as he is in the process of wiping down a windshield. Perhaps the mask is to protect him from the window cleaning product he uses. However, he wears it plenty of times without any window cleaning product in his vicinity. Mystery and intrigue.
8. Bill the Cop’s Method of Disrespecting His Enemies
Bill the Cop is one tough son of a bitch. He’s a big, hot-tempered, urban cop who doesn’t take any shit. It’s a shame he can’t survive Bronson’s stranglehold. Bill arrives to the junkyard just in time to catch a mafia hitman dressed in a used car salesman’s outfit about to start icing bums. Bill is the law, and he hates mobsters. He and the hitman enter into a brawl that ends with Bill standing above the knocked out henchman in a men’s room. Bill has won the fight, but must signify his supreme disrespect. He thus pokes his finger down into his throat … and … barfs all over him. Yecch.
9. Bronson’s Death Scene
Great movie villains deserve great movie deaths. Street Trash in no way disappoints the audience with the death of its villain. It even adds a little bit of slow-motion to make it more dramatic. Bronson, in the film’s gritty climax, is decapitated by a large, flying canister of CO2.
10. “We Do Things My Way:”The End Credits Song
Written by Tony Camillo, performed by Tony Darrow, this song is the most hilarious send-up of Frank Sinatra ever recorded. It really takes something special for a movie to be entertaining until the end credits have stopped playing. “We Do Things My Way,” the mafioso’s anthem, accomplishes just that.
Turn around, you prick, you! I’ll bite your heart!
You call me MR. DURANT,
and listen to everything I say.
LISTEN, cause I am the man
and we do everything my way.
If you didn’t know it before,
I’m sure you’re gonna know it now.
You better hear what I say, we do things my way.
Kiss my ring, ‘ey, do the right thing.
Shut your face, you little scumbag. Listen good, I’ll tell you one thing kid. You’re gonna be sleeping with the fish, you little fuck.
So big mouth, what else could go wrong
for a real nice kid like you?
Do you believe me now when I say
we do things my way?
And now the last laugh is on you my friend. So you can stop the bullshit cause this is the end.
So give me a drink of your booze.
Let’s toast to your hasty departure, cause…
haha, Oh what’s this?
I’m startin’ to ooze.
You little creep, what’s this fuckin’ shit?
What are you tryin’ to start here?
Your face, I’m gonna reshape
I’m gonna eat your fuckin’ eyeballs like grapes
Oh god, oh christ
Till this fuckin’ day
We did things my way
cough cough…you fuck…
Check out my review of THE DEVILS.
This is one of my all time favorite movies, and, because it has never been released on DVD or Blu-ray–in the US, at least–I got to write the review for Paul Zamarelli’s bitchin’ website, VHSCollector.com.
If you’ve never seen THE DEVILS, do so immediately–even if it involves unearthing or buying a used VCR and spending twelve plus dollars on AMAZON for the VHS.
READ: My review of THE LAST LIGHT.
I recommend this slow-burn, doom and gloom thriller for people tired of the same ole post-apocalyptic movie. It’s slow, talky, and a colossal bummer . . . plus, it has great performances, especially from Edward Furlong (AMERICAN HISTORY X, TERMINATOR 2) and Jeff Fahey (PLANET TERROR, BODY PARTS).