Stars: 4.5 of 5.
Running Time: 102 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: James Lorinz (FRANKENHOOKER), Vic Noto, Bil Chepil, Mike Lackey, Jane Arakawa, Tony Darrow (GOODFELLAS). Written by Roy Frumkes.
Tag-line: "Things in New York are about to go down the toilet..."
Best one-liner: "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."
STREET TRASH is a greasy, fat man pinning you down in a cracked, faux-leather chair as he tries to pleasure himself. It's a police van full of shabby hookers. It's one tough cop beating a dude within an inch of his life, then vomiting on him. It's a bum drinking some toxic hooch and dissolving into a candy-colored volcano as he (literally) flushes himself down the toilet.
It's a homeless man stuffing raw chicken into his Hazmat pants as he shoplifts your local C-Town.
It's gang rape, necrophilia, and a game of 'monkey in the middle' with some castrated genitalia. All of this is accompanied by gentle clarinet-heavy jazz and honkytonk piano that'd be at home in a Woody Allen credits sequence. Written by THE SUBSTITUTE scribe and DAWN OF THE DEAD zombie Roy Frumkes and directed by Steadicam-maven J. Michael Muro, STREET TRASH is visually magnificent, and has the careening, off-kilter energy of a wild sprint down a squalid alleyway. To pin it down as "about" something- like a case of noxious, hobo-dissolving Viper liquor- would be doing it a disservice.
It's a meandering, slice of (psychotic) life from the most unsavory, dilapidated side of Greenpoint, Brooklyn (where I used to live!). It's almost as if Vittorio de Sica (THE BICYCLE THIEF, UMBERTO D) made a Troma film. Consequently, it's way fucking better than any Troma film, which has earned J. Michael Muro the bitter honor of "Troma's most hated director" according to Lloyd Kaufman. This would be like Ted V. Mikels saying that Russ Meyer is his 'most hated director' or Bruno Mattei saying that Dario Argento is his 'most hated.' I mean, come on.
The acting, by a cast of mostly non-professionals, is sometimes masterful, sometimes hideous, but never less than memorable. There's a brief, hilarious role (as 'the Doorman') by the smarmy James Lorinz (Dr. Franken in FRANKENHOOKER); a terrifying turn by Vic Noto as the femur-wielding Bronson;
and a terrific, likable tough guy played by real-life cop Bill Chepil. This is the stuff that underground cinema dreams are made of, and it ends on a truly appropriate WTF moment. And stay for the end credits, which feature a mind-blowing song (sung in character!) by a sleazy mafioso (Tony Darrow). For similar cheap n' gritty thrills, see: DEADBEAT AT DAWN, BASKET CASE, and THE DRILLER KILLER.
BONUS: Make your very own bottle of Tenafly Viper! (click on the picture for a larger view)