Friday, 29 March 2013

To Die For...Street Trash (J. Michael Muro, 1987)

What's to say about this horror masterpiece that hasn't already been said? Sadly, that's not the case, no one really knows this movie. Street Trash is an overlooked, cult classic horror that deserves more love. I've taken it upon myself to become a lifelong ambassador for it, spreading the word and even giving away copies to friends and family who have never seen it (no wonder some of them don't speak to me anymore). I own two original big box VHS and two DVD copies in case of emergency.

I discovered this gem of a movie in 1987. My Dad's mate had a video van (remember those?) and he would often come to visit us and give me a chance to peruse the day's selection of titles before the customers got to have a look in. I remember spotting the fantastic cover art of a man in mid-melt practically leaping off the shelf at me. I was completely desensitized to horror by this point, having popped my horror cherry with Salem's Lot and The Exorcist 5 years prior, at the tender age of 7. Street Trash was just comic relief to a 12 year old horror veteran, but man was it fun.

The plot revolves around a bunch of down and out winos that get lucky when the owner of a liquor store finds a case of old beers (called Viper) in the cellar and puts them on sale for $1 a pop. The tramps hear the news and come running to get stuck in to the bargain booze. Some willing to part with a buck and others opting to thieve it from their bum brethren. The only downside being that the after effects are rather undesirable and cause a complete meltdown. A messy death awaits these unwitting destitutes.

There are a lot of films, specifically horror, that I loved as a kid but are devastatingly disappointing when revisited. Many Come across as dated, hokey or just not scary to this jaded, cynical old man. Street Trash however, always delivers. It's hard to say what I love so much about this film and why I consider it to be among my absolute favourites. The acting is awful (many of the cast never starred in another film), the plot is skeletal and the narrative wafer thin. I guess it just perfectly captures the feel of the '80s, the ultimate decade for horror. When watching you get the impression that they must of had a shit load of fun making it. The checklist includes tramps melting, gang rape, necrophilia and a game of catch with a severed penis. Whats not to love, right? The shoestring practical effects look great and hold up well. This is a film that could only of been made pre-CGI.

Street Trash is probably the best melt-movie ever made, so good in fact that Jim Muro never made another film. He retired from directorial duties at the top of his game. Troma only ever dreamt of making a film of such heights.

Lee Gaze 

Lee Gaze is a lead guitarist and one of the founding members of Lostprophets. You can follow him on Twitter here.

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