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Saturday, 4 August 2012

STREET TRASH (1987)


You really haven't lived until you've watched a film in which a hobo sits on a toilet in the ruins of a burned-out building, drinks a noxious liquid and then proceeds to convulse and suddenly melt into multicoloured slime and gore. Seriously, STREET TRASH is a thing of demented, messy joy.

The film had one of the most memorable VHS covers of the rental era, thanks to the main image of the melted hobo sticking his blobby, slimy face out of the toilet bowl. It really sums the film up – a tasteless, insane slice of gleefully exploitative nonsense. I picked up the Arrow Video DVD set of the film, including the essay booklet and a second disc of extras, and as ever, Arrow didn't let me down.


Reading the booklet essay, I was delighted to find out that the filmmakers did indeed intend to make everything in STREET TRASH as offensive as possible, and they do just that. There's extreme violence, endless jokes about mental illness, rape, alcoholism and more.

Of course, something that is a bit of a talking point is the lengthy scene in which a hobo has his penis sliced off and thrown away, resulting in a slapstick comedy chase scene in which the dickless hobo tries to get his severed member back from the other hobos that live in the junkyard where a lot of the action takes place. That scene features repeated shots of a flying, severed cock. Add to this the famous decapitation-by-gas-cylinder and a plethora of melting and exploding hobos, and you have a very odd but very entertaining evening's viewing.


The actual plot, such as it is, revolves around a crate of 'Viper', which a liquor store owner finds hidden on his premises. He sells it cheap to bums, who down it and melt/explode/leak slime everywhere. A subplot (I use the term loosely) follows life on the streets, albeit in a hyper-stylised sense, and played completely for exploitative laughs.

There's a hell of a lot of nasty stuff going on in STREET TRASH, but the film is so silly and so delightfully ridiculous that even the worst scenes seem blackly comedic.


The only sympathetic character in the entire film is Wendy, played by Jane Arakawa, an employee of the junkyard who befriends a number of the homeless people who inhabit it. Mind you, even she comes in for a massive amount of abuse both verbally and physically. A lot of STREET TRASH should be very unsettling, but it's just so deliciously stupid and gratuitous that you can't help but laugh. Trashy bliss.

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