When you hear the term “street trash” a few things may come to mind; filth, degradation, poverty, obscene, and mentally handicapped – just to name a few. So it’s not surprise that a film carrying the term as its title has many of these attributes as well as a few of its own to create one of the most vile and unexpectedly enjoyable cult film of the 80s.
For those who are not familiar with the plot of STREET TRASH, get out from under the rock, and listen up; the film follows a pair of brothers who have fallen down on their luck, living at the local dump under a pile of cars with a community of vagrants who share a common trait; they’re scum. One of the brothers dreams of getting out of the dump and back into life, making it big, while the other is content with their freebird lifestyle and wishes for nothing more than a few bucks for some grub matched with a pint of booze to get through the day. When a local shopkeeper finds a box of alcohol hidden within the walls of his store, he decides to sell it for $1 a bottle which is just cheap enough for the homeless populace to indulge in. Unfortunately the stuff marked as “Viper” comes with a much heavier price tag than expected and sooner before later; the local homeless population begins to dwindle one by one as each succumbs to the elusive drink.
Known as the first “melt” film of its kind, STREET TRASH is loaded to the brim with outlandish gore and violence paired with over the top sleaze dashed with a hint of PCP. This film is completely bizarre in almost every aspect but is done with such gusto and ambition; you can’t help but revel in its charm.
Featuring several “meltdown” set pieces that would normally be saved for the key death in any low budget horror film, instead of red blood and guts – our helpless victims melt down in vibrant colors such as yellow, pink, purple, green and so on. This creates not only memorable deaths for the characters, but ones that stand out long after the film has seized. No “meltdown” is the same either, each is unique and on top of being overly disgusting; is also somewhat fun in some respect.
The film was released in the 80s on a cut VHS from Lightning Video; a dark, murky transfer was the only way folks could see this cult masterpiece for many years until Synapse came along. Creating an HD master in 2006, they released their edition which featured the film not only remastered and cleaned up; but fully uncut for the first time here in the states. Fans rejoiced, world peace was declared and the world was a happier place with STREET TRASH finally being available in not only its original state but looking better than ever! Okay so maybe I’m overemphasizing a bit; but folks were happy.
Flash forward to now, where Synapse has just released their special edition Blu Ray of the film and just when you thought you could say; “STREET TRASH could never look any better” – these gentlemen aimed to prove you wrong. This disc completely blows away the notion that the film couldn’t look any better than its DVD counterpart. Presented in 1.78:1 aspect ratio with a 1080p MPEG 4 transfer; Synapse is on top of their game. The colors are vibrant, the grain is natural, textures are apparent, flesh tones are realistic, the dirt is well…dirty, and the grime is…you get the idea. The audio is crisp and clean with two options, a newly remixed 5.1 DTS-HD audio track and the original 2.0 Mono also presented with lossless HD audio.
Importing all the features from their two disc Meltdown Edition – this Blu Ray is truly the ultimate and in this fan’s opinion; only way to see this film from here on out. Don’t get me wrong, the DVD is and was still a nice package that at the time wholly represented what this film was supposed to look like and presented it with the same distinction as any title that say Criterion would release. Presented with a feature entitled “The Meltdown Memoirs” this extensive documentary which was part of the original release goes over everything and anything you could possibly want to know about this film it runs a tad over two hours so be ready to invest some time. Also included are two in depth commentaries, deleted scenes and outtakes, an interview with Jane Arakawa and promotional materials.
This is truly the ultimate package for any fan of this film, for anyone on the fence hopefully this helps to clarify whether or not the upgrade is necessary; if it hasn’t, I’ll simplify it – yes, yes it is necessary. Synapse once again comes through with a fantastic edition of a truly unique and unmatched cult film, a big kudos to them and the cast/crew of STREET TRASH for giving us the ultimate masterpiece in “meltdown” horror! Now get off your duffs, grab your Viper and head to the streets; the trash are waiting.