‘Prepare for a molten hobo holocaust’
Street Trash is a 1987 American body horror exploitation feature film directed by J. Michael Muro (credited as Jim Muro), based on his short student film of the same name.
Roy Frumkes (Diary of the Dead) wrote the screenplay. In an NBR profile he later said: “I wrote it to democratically offend every group on the planet, and as a result the youth market embraced it as a renegade work, and it played midnight shows.”
The owner of a liquor store in east New York in the Brooklyn-Queens border region finds a case of cheap wine (“Tenafly Viper”) in his basement. It is more than 60 years old and has gone bad, but he decides to sell it to the local hobos anyway.
Unfortunately, anyone who drinks the Viper melts away in a hideous fashion. At the same time, two homeless brothers find different ways to cope with homelessness while they make their residence in a local junkyard while one employee, a female cashier and clerk, frequently tends to both of them.
Meanwhile, an overzealous cop (Bill Chepil) is trying to get to the bottom of all the deaths, all the while trying to end the tyranny of a deranged Vietnam veteran named Bronson (Vic Noto), who has made his self-proclaimed “kingdom” at the junkyard with a group of homeless vets under his command as his personal henchmen…
“The best way to describe Street Trash is like a good Troma film, with excellent acting and spot on cinematography and a good script. Hard to imagine, I know… For a surprisingly clever and quality film that has the plusses of low budget Indie horror without the visual and performance hardships, Street Trash is a winner.” Don Sumner, HorrorFreak.news
“The blood, guts and other bodily fluids are all excessive and plentiful … The visual style of these scenes are a world away from the grim downbeat gruesomeness of modern films such as Saw, and is more in line with the colorful, ridiculous, and very funny gore of Bad Taste or even Monty Python…” Simon Powell, Classic-Horror.com
“The movie is super gory. And, honestly, the gore effects are actually pretty good considering the rest of the production is bare f**king bones. The absurd, gory, dark humor is there throughout as are the surreal, dirty, grungy characters that populate the world.” Awesome
“Street Trash is a mean-spirited little film that tries very hard to be funny but its humour is sometimes more sick than inspired … Street Trash is actually shot fairly well – even efficiently – and many of the special effects, including the final-reel decapitation, remain quite impressive.” John Kenneth Muir, Horror Films of the 1980s
“The film is vile and frenzied, but it’s also shockingly well made, crafted by a production team taking the challenge of a splatter film seriously, generating an outstandingly designed and photographed effort that’s beguiling in its screen toxicity.” Brian Orndorf, Blu-ray.com
“Originally a short, this expanded version remains intriguing but feels like an effects showreel padded out, however skilfully, with an anything goes selection of subplots.” The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror
“Street Trash is widely acknowledged as the best of the “melt” movie subgenere; others include Slime City and The Incredible Melting Man. Also, it might be the only film to feature, and open with, a bum chase scene.” Man is the Warmest Place to Hide
The film was given a limited release theatrically in the United States by Lightning Pictures in June 1987. They also released the film on VHS the same year.
In 2005, Synapse Films marketed an all-new, digitally remastered version of the film. Included with the DVD were sticker-type “labels” of the Viper wine featured in the movie.
In 2006, a second Synapse Films release was issued, featuring the documentary Meltdown Memoirs by writer Roy Frumkes. The feature includes interviews with most of the surviving cast and crew with the exception of Jane Arakawa. It also contains the original 16mm short version of Street Trash.
In 2010, Arrow Video released a 2-DVD set in the UK featuring the documentary Meltdown Memoirs along with a previously unavailable featurette with Jane Arakawa and the booklet 42nd Street Trash: The Making of the Melt.