Notes from the attic: Riki-oh Street

We've been slumming it real hard lately in movie club. We recently watched two cult classics: Street Trash (1987) and Riki-oh: The Story of Ricky (1991).

I don't know what exactly to call this genre of cinema. These would fit nicely into Troma's catalog (Class of Nuke 'Em High, Toxic Avenger), but they're not from Troma so you can't just say, "Oh, you know, they're Troma films." Meaning: they're ultra low-budget, full of super-fake nasty gore, ridiculous acting and some amount of sleaze. And usually pretty entertaining, if you go for that sort of thing. Maybe gore-gore cinema (with a nod to H.G. Lewis), horror-comedy, killer B, gore-cult, trashploitation...or maybe just nasty. These movies are nasty.

Street Trash was a hard movie to get for a while. In college I remember watching a dubbed VHS copy that my friend had got on eBay. I, of course, then dubbed my own copy. (Don't worry, I recently purchased the DVD so we could watch it for movie club). Street Trash might be a perfect cult movie. It's not over-long (a common cult problem), it has good pacing, the director obviously had a lot of friends since the cast is great, and the gore effects are outta sight. Oh, I guess you'd like to know what the film's about, too: A liquor store owner unearths a box of Prohibition-era booze that melts anyone who drinks it. Mix that with a colorful group of homeless people, jerk cops, and junkyard employees and you've got yourself a party.

Street Trash makes great use of technicolor gore.

Street Trash is full of wonderful group shots.

 No cult film is complete without a Vietnam flashback.


I think it took me a little over ten years to finally get around to watching Riki-oh...and I'm glad I did. This movie is ridiculous. Ricky goes to jail to peacefully serve time for a crime he did commit. While there he learns of the great injustices in the prison system and sets out to correct them...with his fists. Oh, and did I mention he has super powers? Part of what makes this movie so fun is that it's insanely dubbed into English.

Stick a nail in Ricky's hand. Ricky don't care.

 Bad things happen to bad guys.

 Like I said.

 Every martial arts master should practice in a cemetery.

Wall? What wall?

Ricky's just been rereleased on DVD (with intro from the director of Hobo with a Shotgun).