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WEIRDO FLICKS: 'Street Trash'

by Eli Kroes

You might not be familiar with the term 'Z-Movie,' but if you grew up in the 90's, chances are you've seen one. They're the beyond-low-budget monstrosities that teased you from the walls of the mom-and-pop video store. Usually, the films themselves could never live up to the pictures on the videotape boxes (because this was way before your fancy 'Digital Video Discs' and 'Blu-Rays') but occasionally you'd find something truly unique. 'WEIRDO FLICKS' will clue you into some movies which 'unique' doesn't even begin to describe... 

'Street Trash' - 1987, Directed by J. Michael Muro

This movie just does NOT care what anyone thinks. If you are easily offended, I would steer clear of this one. Granted, it's a coked-out 80's z-grade horror flick, but this one is special. It takes the genre-parody and over-the-top humor Troma is known for, and feeds it steroids. Characters show up momentarily just to be racial stereotypes, the homeless are portrayed to be evil, crazed Vietnam veterans, and a fat boss endlessly harasses his female coworker. And those are the FUNNY parts.

Before you run away in fear, I'd say this movie is most comparable to 'Basket Case.' It's got the same kind of scuzzy, inner-city vibe. The budget is also probably comparable. The only difference is that instead of a basket-bound deformed monster, you've got melting hobos.

The plot, then. A sleazy shopkeeper finds a box of REALLY old liquor in the basement of his store. It's called Viper, and he decides the right thing to do is sell is really cheap so the homeless guys who frequent his store will have something to drink. 

And, you can bet they buy it right up. Then, they start melting. Nobody can figure out what's going on, or at least not until you've seen a half-dozen hobos turn into green slime. Pretty much all the main characters melt, so the only real reason they're in the film is for comedic value. EVERYBODY says offensive things about each other. It's like Andrew Dice Clay wrote the script or something. 

Actually, J. Michael Muro, the writer and director, worked as a camera operator on everything from 'The Fast and the Furious' to 'Titanic.' He only wrote this one film, however. I wonder why?

There were apparently a whole bunch of melting-themed horror films in the 80's, too. 'The Stuff'  is really the only other one worth checking out.

This one, though. This one takes the cake. It might not have very good (or any) special effects, and the actors might be bottom-of-the-barrel, but this isn't a flick you'll soon forget. Definitely one of my favorites.

VHS photo by Toby Hudson.