Hey, here’s something you won’t hear every day: Street Trash kind of sucked.
No, that’s a lie; you’ll hear it all the time. As to why it “kind of sucked,” well, I picked up the DVD with the expectation of seeing hobos dissolve themselves with sulfuric acid for an hour and a half. Instead, what I got was a movie about hobos waging turf wars with other hobos, a thin detective subplot, some random stuff with a mob boss and some vague social commentary about homeless Vietnam War veterans turning to alcohol. Still, when the movie *does* decide to deliver on its packaging summary and feature vagrants chugging highly corrosive liquor and melting into puddles of neon goop… holy shit.
Fred (Mike Lackey) and his younger brother Kevin (Marc Sferrazza) are just a couple of homeless guys living in a junkyard. Nothing to see here. Elsewhere, at a local liquor store, the owner unearths a case of Viper, an ancient-looking alcoholic beverage he’s never heard of. Having all the scruples of your average liquor store owner, he figures he can make a buck by selling it at bargain bin prices. Little does he know, Viper causes whoever drinks it to instantaneously melt into a puddle of brightly colored slime. Meanwhile, Fred and Kevin find themselves on the bad side of the lunatic Vietnam vet, Bronson (Vic Noto), who rules the junkyard and wants them dead. And while all this is going on, a douchebag cop is out to stop a mobster named Nick Duran (Tony Darrow) from doing evil mobster stuff. And somehow, all this shit is related.
Street Trash is a horror comedy that endeavors to channel the spirit of a Troma film, but with fractionally superior acting. It’s shamelessly stupid, but like a Troma flick, that’s half the fun. Hell, the ending song features a guy posthumously singing about how much being dissolved by Viper hurts. So no, Street Trash is nothing to take seriously (which makes you wonder why the writers decided to cram in the social commentary).
Unfortunately, Street Trash lacks focus. As funny as the Nick Duran subplot was, it was entirely pointless, unnecessary and rubs off as little more than a means to extend the runtime. The Viper is what is advertised so prominently about the movie and yet it remains completely absent from the bulk of the film’s middle section, to the point where you’re left wondering if it’s ever going to resurface again. The real plot of the movie is Fred and Kevin taking on Bronson, the gigantic killer hobo who wants their blood for… I dunno, some reason. The Viper plays a small part in the film’s conclusion but is mostly just a meaningless diversion.
The bait-and-switch is a real point of contention and makes the film hard to slog through on re-watches. You’re more likely to find yourself skipping to all the parts with the melting hobos and just ignoring the rest. In that way, it reminds me of that Daniel Stern move, C.H.U.D.. You’ve seen C.H.U.D., right? Well, just as C.H.U.D. advertised the hell out of its titular Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers and then hardly featured them in the film, Street Trash is much the same with the Viper.
Or you could say it’s like the first Ghoulies film, which is actually about some dumbass magician and not little monsters that crawl out of the toilet and bite you in the ass. Man, horror movies pull this crap a lot, don’t they?
Anyhow, as unfocused as Street Trash is, at the very least it can be pretty funny. Low-brow funny, sure, but funny nevertheless. Street Trash is extremely crass and tries its best to offend all sensibilities wherever possible; so once again, it feels like a poor man’s Troma knock-off.
Street Trash is just “too big for its britches,” or whatever stale colloquialism you want to use. It has too many subplots and struggles to coherently string them together. And the one you bought/rented the movie to see, the flesh-eating booze, is hardly a plot point at all. But, if you can get past the fact that the film’s main draw is practically a nonentity, you may like it. If you like intentionally bad horror films, anyway.