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Synapse Films presents
Street Trash (1986)

"I don't need this. I already got trouble with my kids, my wife, my business, my secretary, the bums, the runaways, the roaches, prickly heat and a homo dog. This just ain't my day."
- Frank Schnizer (R.L. Ryan)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: February 02, 2006

Stars: Mike Lackey, Vic Noto, Bill Chepil
Other Stars: Mark Sferrazza, Jane Arakawa, Nicole Potter, R.L. Ryan, Clarenze Jarmon, Bernard Perlman, Miriam Zucke, M. D'Jango Krunch, Tony Darrow
Director: Jim Muro

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (language, nudity, sexuality, disturbing imagery, violence, extreme gore)
Run Time: 01h:40m:58s
Release Date: August 30, 2005
UPC: 654930304396
Genre: cult

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
D+ C-AB C-

DVD Review

The problem of poverty and homelessness has been the subject of many extensive sociological studies. It has also been the subject of some great works of literature. Some movies, going back to D.W. Griffith, are sympathetic to the plight of the impoverished and try to effect change. And other filmmakers just like to make movies where you watch the poor and homeless melt in gory detail.

The homeless in and around the Statewide junk yard owned by Frank Schnizer (R.L. Ryan) are in a perpetual state of restlessness as they scrounge for shelter, sex and especially something to drink. Among them are pathetic Fred (Mike Lackey) and his younger brother, and overlord Bronson, who kills with a knife made out of a human femur. Liquor/check cashing entrepreneur Ed (M. D'Jango Krunch) runs across a case of aged bottles of something called Tenafly Viper in his basement and decides to sell it to the winos for a dollar a bottle. But it has the unfortunate side effect of melting those who drink it in an explosion of Technicolor hues.

The script is pretty disjointed, with few of the characters being established to any degree; those who are, such as Bill the Cop (Bill Chepil) are one-note caricatures of gritted-teeth annoyance. The various denizens of the junkyard are uniformly shown as degraded, filthy and smelly bums with zero redeeming qualities. They're essentially just there to provide the periodic special effects extravaganzas.

What the filmmakers do manage well are the nasty effects, which would be hard to take if they weren't so brightly colored as to be ridiculous. Everyone who drinks the Tenafly Viper gets a pretty impressive death scene that usually has some darkly comic element: the first victim dissolves into an abandoned toilet, while another erupts a yellow vomitous substance onto a passing businessman below.

Appropriately enough, Street Trash has utter contempt for its impoverished subjects, with hardly a sympathetic portrayal to be found. Everyone is venal, nasty and stupid, with the exception of Schnizer's secretary, Wendy (Jane Arakawa). She tries to look after the runaways that congregate in the junkyard, but for her troubles she gets brutally raped by the elephantine Schnizer, a scene that's played for comedy but falls flat. Other sillier sequences work better, such as Bill's hamhanded investigatory tactics and one characters attempts to shoplift entire chickens from the local grocery store. It's a messy film that inspires a few queasy laughs, but its main reason for existence is the effects work.

Rating for Style: D+
Rating for Substance: C-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: For a cheap piece of work, Synapse nonetheless gives it a first class transfer with excellent and vivid color, good black levels and surprisingly good shadow detail. Artifacting and other problems are virtually nonexistent. This clearly looks better than it ever has, so fans of the film should be overjoyed.

Image Transfer Grade: A


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: The mono soundtrack sounds fine, with clear dialogue and a synth music score that has reasonably good range and presence. The goopy sound effects have a presence all their own that helps up the nauseation factor.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Production Notes
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL
Layers Switch: 00h:56m:44s

Extra Extras:
  1. Tenafly Viper Labels
Extras Review: The extras are fairly sparse. There is an anamorphic widescreen trailer, and an appreciative set of liner notes from Michael Felsher. The most creative touch is the provision of a pair of self-stick labels so you can make your own bottles of Tenafly Viper. Very cute indeed. Chaptering is adequate.

Extras Grade: C-


Final Comments

A goopy black comedy, Street Trash has something of a cult reputation. Synapse provides a fine transfer that will gratify anyone seeking out its demented charms.


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