Street Trash (1987)
Directed by: J. Michael Muro
Starring: Mike Lackey, Bill Chepil, Vic Noto, Mark Sferrazza, Jane Arakawa, Nicole Potter, Pat Ryan, Clarenze Jarmon, Bernard Perlman, Miriam Zucker, M. D’Jango Krunch, James Lorinz, Morty Storm, Sam Blasco, Bruce Torbet
If you bought your booze from ABC or Total Wine this wouldn’t happen.
Street Trash is a gleefully distasteful journey into the lives of NYC bums. A liquor store owner finds a crate of hooch from the 20s called “Viper” and proceeds to sell it to the derelicts for $1 a bottle. Too bad that one swig of the stuff melts the drinker into a multi-colored pile of goo. Reveling in its depravity, the movie is fun, even though it features such loveable sequences as junkyard bums playing hot-potato with a man’s severed penis, a cop puking on a mafia hit-man on purpose, gang-rape, necrophelia, exploding bums, and general sleaziness. The funniest bits involves a mafia boss (Tony Darrow) and a doorman (James Lorinz) trading insults.
There are so many gross-out gags in Street Trash, I think it might make a good party movie, as long as Beavis & Butthead are at said party. Just to get an idea of what was in screenwriter Roy Frumkes’ head when he wrote this film, he said in an interview: “I wrote it to democratically offend every group on the planet, and as a result the youth market embraced it as a renegade work, and it played midnight shows.”
The Dangerous Profession Of Plumbing
So is Street Trash a call to arms in the war on poverty or a war on alcoholism? (That first sip will kill ya!) All I know is that they don’t make movies like this anymore. Well, actually, nobody ever made a movie like this. I think it’s some kind of fluke in the history of exploitation cinema. Just be prepared to shower afterwards. By the way, Jim Muro, the director, was a steadicam operator on many Hollywood films. Some of his camera work here is great.
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Dead & Breakfast (2004)
Directed by: Matthew Leutwyler
Starring: Jeremy Sisto, Erik Palladino, Bianca Lawson, Oz Perkins, Ever Carradine, Gina Philips, Zach Selwyn, Miranda Bailey, Brent David Fraser, Diedrich Bader, David Carradine, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Mark Kelly, Luiggi Debiasse, Ric Barbera
Choose the right one if you want to make that spare.
Dead and Breakfast is a low budget horror-comedy that is heavy on gore but light on everything else. In fact, it treats its subject matter so lightly that nothing in the movie can be taken seriously on any level (probably intentional). It wants to be an homage to every movie possible (The Evil Dead, Night of the Living Dead, From Dusk Till Dawn) but it doesn’t understand that part of what makes those movies good is treatment of the material with a high-seriousness (the best B-movies are those who don’t know they are B-movies). (At this point, I should tell you that The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the film this movie tries to be like the most, isn’t a favorite of mine.) Most of the jokes in Dead and Breakfast are either head-scratchers, disses on rednecks (too easy), or simply annoying (Zach Selwyn plays a country musician on acoustic guitar who sings exposition throughout the film; a sequence of dancing zombies evoking Thriller is likewise unwelcome). Most of the characters are assholes (but smarter than usual), David Carradine is wasted, and one main character is called Melody (Gina Philips) who happens to be vegan, which freaks the shit out of me since I used to date a vegan girl named Melody. I suppose I should give props for that, and to Oz Perkins who does a great baddie, especially when he uses severed heads as hand puppets. That made me laugh.
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Spider Forest (2004) 1/2
Directed by: Il-gon Song
Starring: Woo-seong Kam, Jung Suh, Kyeong-heon Kang, Hyeong-seong Jang, Byung-ho Son, Seung-kil Jeong, Won-sang Park, Yeong Yun, Yeong-jae Kim, Seong-cheol Jang
Lost in a forest…. all alone….
A Korean film directed by Il-gon Song, Spider Forest concerns a widowed TV producer named Kang Min (Woo-seong Kam) who witnesses a double-murder by a shadowy figure, only to be subjected to a hit-and-run. After walking out of the hospital, he describes the events leading up to the murder to his policeman friend, which involves a love interest’s betrayal, a spooky tale about the haunted woods called “Spider Forest”, and an unknown stalker with intimate details of Kang Min’s life. A haunting, complex, and multi-layered film, Spider Forest explores the trickiness of memory and the self-discovery of its main character as he strives to find the truth about the murders. In this way, it reminded me of Lost Highway (the cabin in the middle of the woods made me think of Lynch’s cabin in the desert; Lost Highway also deals with memory loops and psychogenic fugues), The Machinist, High Tension, and similar films – but it offers a fresh take on the subject, which is good since this kind of thing can get old quick. It’s a tragic movie, parts horror and mystery, and has too much information to absorb in one sitting, but it has the intelligence that makes Korean cinema the place to be these days. If you are looking to get into Korean movies may I suggest, Spider Forest, Oldboy, A Tale of Two Sisters, and Save The Green Planet, for starters.
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- Bill Gordon