Street Trash & Slime City!!!

Gory greetings! This edition of BRAIN HAMMER’S PICKS FROM THE CRYPT serves as a splattery tribute to the macabre masterworks of filmmakers Roy Frumkes & Greg Lamberson. The dreaded double feature of STREET TRASH and SLIME CITY will make your dvd player beg for a barf bag!

LET THE BLOODSHED BEGIN!!!

 

STREET TRASH (1987)

Times are tough for Fred and his younger brother Kevin. The lads are homeless, living inside a giant auto wrecking yard ran by the morbidly obese slob who also played the mayor in “The Toxic Avenger.” Kevin has aspirations of cleaning himself up, finding a job, and getting into the pants of the kind hearted Asian chick who provides him with plenty of food and up the skirt panty shots. Fred on the other hand is more then content to lazily spend his days searching for spare change and cheap booze. A typical day for Fred involves stealing a bottle of hooch and then trying to find a safe spot to get tanked. Freddy is always on the run from Bronson – a deranged and violent Vietnam veteran who runs both the wrecking yard and the local pack of weirdo winos. Bronson’s thugs happily beat the shit out of the always dirt covered and wisecracking Freddy every chance they get.

The shit hits the fan when the wig wearing and sleazy owner of Ed’s Liquor Store unearths a rotten looking case of “Tenafly Viper” from behind a wall in his store’s basement. Inspiration hits old Ed in a big way and he marks the now forty year old case of Viper down to just a buck a bottle. The gaggle of alcoholic degenerates that frequent his shop think they’ve found the bargain of a lifetime and quickly gobble up the now authentic “rotgut.” Unfortunately for the bums, the Viper has gone bad in a BIG way. Anyone who is unlucky enough to take a drink of the vile elixir is immediately melted down into a multi-color spewing pile of bile! Several hobos meet a gory end after taking of swig of the toxic Tenafly and after an incredible series of events unfolds, Freddy is on the run from both the cops, the mafia, and Bronson.

“Street Trash” is a cracked out flick that is hard to neatly summarize. It unfolds like a bizarre series of vignettes, exploring the life, love, and liquidation of several grimy looking street folk. Unspeakable acts such as rape, necrophilia, decapitation, and castration are all lovingly presented here. This flick is absolutely over the top, with buckets of gore and lots of nasty puke worthy moments along the way. Viewers with a sick sense of humor and a taste for ever sicker special effects will be delighted. Every character presented (with the exception of Jane Arakawa’s character of course!) is completely filthy and disgusting. This flick has a genuinely sleazy street atmosphere and a manic energy that few other genre flicks come close to matching. It’s vulgar, it’s absurd, and it never fails to entertain.

I give a lot a credit to writer/producer Roy Frumkes & director Jim Munro for creating a completely outrageous splatterpiece that is also exceptionally well written and photographed. Roy’s brilliant script is as profane and homicidal as they come. It also features a lot more characterization and twists and turns than your standard Saturday night slopfests. Director Jim Munro also did a fantastic job. His always fluid and inventive camera work gives this flick a much needed sense of professionalism. His work here reminds me of prime Sam Raimi. The multicolored splatter is also reminiscent of the classic “Evil Dead” flicks. The gallons of gore are obviously the highlight of the film, but it never completely overshadows the amazing amounts of creativity on display.

Like a lot of gorehounds, I used to cherish my dvd-r copy of the old “R” rated Lightning vhs release. Then Synapse finally released their amazing two-disc “MELTDOWN EDITION” of STREET TRASH which made all previous releases relics. This very cool collection includes Roy Frumke’s epic documentary “The Meltdown Memoirs,” which covers everything you could possibly want to know about the history of the film and the current whereabouts of the cast and crew. Also included is the original 16mm short that proceeded the feature and a very extensive behind the scenes photo gallery. It’s exactly the kind of amazing release that a clas-sick genre flick like this deserves. Horror fans looking for a gory good time should consider this the holy grail!

 

 

SLIME CITY (1988) 

SLIME CITY is the the toxic tale of a nice young man named Alex (Robert Sabin) who moves into an apartment in a strange old building so he can be closer to his perky but frigid girlfriend Lori (Mary Huner). His best friend Jerry helps him move and fills the body count and the much needed “obnoxious chubby wisecracker” role. Alex is a bit put off by the two weird old ladies who run the building, but he quickly decides the apartment is a keeper when he sees the incredible leather clad temptress named Nicolle (also played by Mary Huner!) who lives next door. Alex’s wet dreams about Nicolle quickly turn to nightmares when he hears blood curdling screams coming from her apartment at night.

Things get even more strange when Alex meets another neighbor named Roman. Roman is a space case punk rocker that offers Alex a dinner of green slime he calls Himalayan Yogurt. Alex is too nice to turn him down and digs in. He’s pleasantly surprised to discover that that nasty looking green yogurt tastes great. Then Alex tucks into a bottle of blue piss that was brewed years before by an evil occultist relative of Nicolle’s. The evil elixir causes Alex to hallucinate and he wakes up the next morning covered in slime. A few hours later he begins to melt and his face is covered with sores leaking multi-colored pus. A hobo talks some trash at Alex while he pukes in a back alley and Alex snaps and kills the bum with a lead pipe. Spilling the hobo’s blood causes Alex to turn back to normal, and he runs home horrified with what he has done.

Alex tries to pass off the whole experience as a crazy hallucination caused by drinking the homemade wine. Roman agrees and tells Alex that the wine makes him hallucinate all the time. Alex tries to go on with life as normal, but he soon develops a mysterious hunger for the green slime and an unquenchable thirst for the mysterious wine. Alex repeatedly mutates into a slobbering melting monster and becomes possessed with an evil spirit that compels him to kill anyone conveniently located in the apartment building or the surrounding streets. As the body count rises, Alex struggles to remain himself while he learns the sinister secrets of a cult that committed suicide in the basement of the building. A distraught Lori seeks the advice of a psychic and winds up tearing Alex’s heart out. Literally. This is truly a horror film with guts!

The makeup and gore effects in Slime City are outrageous. The film gradually gets gorier and gorier as it goes and the over the top carnage in the climax ends the film on a high note. The splatter is the star of the show, and there are numerous violent scenes that give the star plenty of precious screen time. The violence fluctuates wildly from simple slasher flick styled knifings and beatings to over the top set pieces of limbs being chomped on by ravenous gaping wounds in the proud tradition of The Thing and Videodrome. There’s also buckets of puke and slime, making the title of the film more than appropriate. The monster makeup on actor Robert Sabin is also worth mentioning. His graphic and gory transformation from an average looking Joe to a puking pus dripping monster is convincingly disgusting, even more so considering the low budget of the film. It rivals stuff you see in horror flicks with much bigger budgets.

But surprisingly, the splatter doesn’t completely steal (or carry) the show. There is also an interesting and unusual storyline. The film takes quite a few unusual twists and turns before finally degenerating into a pile of putrescent ooze. There’s also a lot more laughs than I expected. Not laughs because the film was pathetic either, I mean the film was genuinely amusing. The acting is also much better than you typically find in low budget horror flicks. Robert Sabin is quirky and likable, and makes a sympathetic lead, even when he is bashing in the skulls of winos or slicing hookers with straight razors. Mary Huner is amazing in her dual role of sweet virginal Lori and sultry seductive Nicole. Her performance is crucial actually, because if they had an unattractive girl or a hot girl who couldn’t act it would have never worked. Mary looks great and plays both roles perfectly. Her incredibly sexy dancing in Alex’s wet dreams is exactly the type of padding I like to see in a film!

Speaking of dancing, that brings up the burning question that kept repeating itself in my head when I was reading about this flick for the last two years – WHY HAVEN’T I HEARD OF THIS MOVIE? I thought I had heard of EVERYTHING, and that I had seen them all. Slime City was the rare exception, it was an 80’s splatterfest that I had never heard of. I had never seen a Slime City review, and I never saw a copy of the film in stores. While splatter flicks like Toxic Avenger, Bad Taste, Street Trash, Basket Case, Brain Damage, or even Combat Shock were common place, Slime City was an enigma to me.

Incredibly, the answer can be summed up in two words: DIRTY DANCING. That’s right, Dirty Dancing. Middle America may have had the time of their lives when they fell in love with Patrick Swayze and learned that no one puts Baby in a corner, but splatter fiends had the WORST time of their lives when Vestron Pictures decided to celebrate their incredible box office success with Dirty Dancing by dropping their upcoming low budget Vestron Video vhs releases like a bad habit. Sadly, Slime City was one of the releases that Vestron Video cancelled.

Old school horror fans know all about Vestron Video. They were at one point a horror fan’s best friend. Their unrated vhs releases of Re-Animator, Pieces, The Mutilator, Slaughter High, and Splatter University were staples of any respectable horror collection. There is no doubt in my mind that Slime City would have joined the ranks of those other well known 80’s splatter classics with a Vestron Video vhs release, and it would have happened…if it wasn’t for Dirty Dancing. Vestron dropped their deal with Greg Lamberson, and Slime City fell into distribution oblivion. There was a limited vhs release, but not enough to make much of a splash in the splatter pool. The film deservedly went on become something of a cult classic, and bootleg vhs copies were an underground favorite for many years. This flick has it’s place in horror history, but it could have been much bigger. I have a hard time enjoying Road House now that I know that Dalton is partially responsible for me not having the chance to see Slime City back in the day.

Everyone can see Slime City now that the good folks at Shock-O-Rama Cinema have released Greg Lamberson’s SLIME CITY GRINDHOUSE COLLECTION on dvd. This nifty set contains 4 films on 2 dvds: Slime City, Undying Love, Naked Fear, and Johnny Gruesome. I have to admit, I’m sick of seeing the word “Grindhouse” on countless slapdash dvd collections. This is one of the rare exceptions where the name is actually appropriate. Greg not only spent countless hours watching films in grindhouse theaters in the 80’s, he also managed one! Collecting four of Greg’s films and packaging them under the Grindhouse title actually makes sense and doesn’t feel like like another lame cash in attempt on that flick of the same name that tanked at the box office. Unlike other filmmakers and greedy dvd distributors, Greg actually earned a living in the grindhouses, and that experience gives him the right to use the name for this release.

The SLIME CITY GRINDHOUSE COLLECTION includes four films and more bonus features than you can shake a severed limb at. I spent the better of two days making my way through the movies and the commentary tracks, interviews, and mini-documentaries that accompanied them. Undying Love, Naked Fear, and Johnny Gruesome are all worthy of individual reviews, but for the sake of space I will quickly summarize them. Undying Love is the tale of a suicidal dude who meets a female vampire. Naked Fear is about an agoraphobic who makes the mistake of choosing a murderous claustrophobic as a roommate. Johnny Gruesome (starring Misty Mundae) is a rock-n-roll mini-movie about a high zombie who wants revenge against the drug dealers that killed him. I enjoyed some of these flicks more than others, but all three delivered the goods with decent acting, passable (more or less) production value, and varying amounts of the juicy red stuff.

Add SLIME CITY to the mix, and you have four steaming slices of superior straight to video schlock. I’ve seen this collection going for well under $20 online and that is quite a bargain considering how much is included here. Fans of Troma flicks and the gory glory days of the 80’s horror craze need to see this flick. Some 24 years after the film finished shooting, the cult following has only just started to grow. Better late than never. Your tv will beg you for a pair of wipers, but your horror dvd collection will thank you! The SLIME CITY GRINDHOUSE COLLECTION is hands down one of the coolest dvd releases of the year, and should be considered a mandatory purchase for gorehounds.

 

KEEP THE VIPER & SLIME FLOWING!!!

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