Trashcans of Terror (1982)
TRASHCANS OF TERROR
WRITER: Chuck Handy
DIRECTOR: Chuck Handy
STARRING: Terri Heater as Cathy
Chuck Handy as Spider Leibowitz
QUICK CUT: A young man runs into a woman who repeatedly saves him from danger.
Spider - A loner, a rebel, a troubled man with a troubled past, who never stays in one place for too long. But something happens to him, and he just can’t seem to leave this time.
Cathy - A bodybuilder/weightlifter who ends up in the wrong desert at the wrong time. Most of her character is driven by her fear of what she’s going through. But even then, she takes zero shit.
TRISK ANALYSIS: Welcome back, Triskelions! As longtime readers might be aware, I always like to do something special for the last review of January, because it's ALMOST my birthday, and I like to celebrate with something strange, or personal, or just...something.
This year is extra special, because the movie Trashcans of Terror is indeed something strange and and definitely something, but it also marks a landmark for Trisk. I have prided myself on saying that every one of the main movies I have reviewed for this site, I actually own. I have physical copies of every single one of these piles of garbage.
But Trashcans of Terror bears the distinction of being the first one I do not own. Because you can't. DVDs do not exist for this film, and it is only available on YouTube. It was put there by the writer/director, so I do not feel bad about streaming it. Also, this movie is SO obscure, there is next to ZERO information on it. No IMDB, no posts about it, there’s like three reviews, including this one, and a video. That is IT.
ANYways, let's dive right into this. This flick hooks me from the very first moment. Because we open up on an empty car parked in the middle of nowhere, with an opening song that is trying to rock. Trying so very hard. To rock. About trashcans. It is glorious.
There are establishing shots, and then there's this movie. It pans around the area surrounding the car for a good several minutes. We get it, it's desolate. If nothing else, this just makes things coming up MORE inexplicable. But we’ll get there when we get there.
While we get far too long a look at the car's seatbelts and upholstery, a purplish hand reaches in and deposits something in the driver's seat. Uh oh, Vlad, what are you up to??
Somewhere nearby, which is amazing, considering how remote this is, someone in camo gear is watching and radioing to someone. Who is this person? Spoiler: It is never explained.
The movie then, no joke, runs out of song, and we watch some oil drums in utter silence, sitting around in the sand, under a reverse filter. Someone's taking all of Carl Sukenick's tricks here.
We then watch a woman, Cathy, come up to the car, sit down, and listen to a radio advert for kinky sex toys. I am highly dubious of any radio station ever playing such things, but whatever.
Before I can ask where did she come from, she is assaulted by a buzzing flying purple shimmer. I...weirdly like this effect because it is so inexplicably unique and no budget.
And before I can process THAT it cuts away to our hero, I shit you not named Spider Leibowitz, doing some overwrought, over dramatic voiceover.
"I don't really know how I got into this mess. I was just walking down the road, trying to run away from the past. I guess trying to run away from myself. But some things you just can't run away from. And this time, instead of running away from something, I ran into something very unusual."
My head hurts...
What Spider runs into, is Cathy's car, abandoned, and he decides to check things out. He puts down his bag, tells us he's putting down his bag, so I can tell you he's putting down his bag, and take that look. Show don't tell, Chuck!
Spider then spies Cathy SOMEwhere in the area, walks towards her WITH HIS BAG, and it cuts to another angle, and there IS NOW A STRUCTURE THERE. Hnnngh.
They introduce themselves, and Spider JUST so happens to already know who Cathy is, because he saw her at some power lifting championship. That's not too coincidental.
Spider asks if she can hear that sound, and I can only assume he's referring to the buzzing mic on the camera.
They head to a bar to get a protein shake and this so called bar looks like someone's kitchen. I am expecting the FBI to be sitting in the corner any second now.
Let me just say, Trashcans is one of those movies that cuts randomly in a scene, to the same scene, probably for another take. It is the sure hallmark of a no budget movie.
Another guy comes up to use lame pick up lines on Cathy, and this is actually a pretty fun, silly scene. Yeah, the acting is poor, but they're having fun, and the verbal jabs crack me up.
This all leads to, I shit you not, the greatest mess of a fight scene in all cinematic history. It is a thing of beauty in its silliness.
Some highights of this mess;
It's Spider vs. like two guys
Who keep changing shirts between takes
There is obvious direction from Chuck
One of the guys runs out of shirts, so shows up shirtless.
WITH A KATANA.
One guy just up and throws HIMSELF at the wall.
A large chunk of the fight is recycled.
AND THEN THERE'S THE SOUND
Obviously from another source
It doesn't match up at all.
You can hear people yelling and punching when no one is interacting.
This glorious three minute long mishmash comes to an end when Cathy finally wanders over AND SHE'S SILVER NOW. She bear hugs the lead guy, chokes him out, and disappears. Spider wakes up some time later, abandoned and left in the dirt.
Spider goes looking for Cathy, and finds her in an abandoned building, and this leads to any number of questions involving how and just finding her, but maybe that's his super power; track Cathy. I guess you could say his...Spider sense was tingling.
Understandably, she is freaked out, and afraid she'll hurt Spider in her super strong form. He asks her if she can change back, and she does so as the movie prepares to drop the beat with reversed sound.
We then cut back to the weird camo guy whose face is all covered up. He's giving orders, but damned if I can understand them, because he's speaking in gibberish.
No wait, you know what he sounds like? Have you seen that “dog of wisdom" video? IT SOUNDS EXACTLY LIKE THAT.
We get more overwrought narration from Spidey, while we watch him take a knee and stand around for a few minutes.
I just wanna pause and note that I am 22 minutes into this movie, and I just need to ask...so uh, trashcans?
Instead, we get a lot of talking and flirting between the two leads, as they try and decide what their next move is.
And their next move is apparently the longest screen kiss I have ever seen. And I know exactly how long it is, because THE MOVIE CUTS TO ADD A TIMER JUST TO DRIVE THE POINT HOME.
This is the most nonsensically coherent mess of a movie I may have ever scene. I understand what's going on, but I also don't and am screaming WHY.
After another kiss, that Cathy handily tells us IS NOT IN THE SCRIPT, Spider goes to make sure their location is secure.
He blathers on about how his instincts told him something was up, but maybe he was wrong...AND THEN...
And yes, yes you can see someone clearly throwing that from off camera.
Spider wakes up some time later, Cathy is gone, and he surmises that there are alien trashcans after them. ...How does one jump to that conclusion, exactly?
Maybe the next five minutes of Spider monologuing while he walks along a beach will fill us in! Hahahahaha, nope. Instead, enjoy flubbed lines, thoughts that trail off unfinished, and a hand in front of the camera!
So Spider decides to go find his old special ops war buddy who may have tried to kill him a few times, Velazquez. With his friend's help, and instantly believing the story of alien trashcans, they join forces to kick some can.
But the trashcans arrive, and there is another wonderful fight! It's got more recycled footage, and HOLY SHIT they legit just huffed a trashcan at a guy's back. And you can clearly hear someone laughing off camera.
This is wonderful. It's a couple of friends having a blast of a time in their backyard. It's the sort of thing Carl Sukenick tried to capture, but never quite pulled off.
But then another can, in camo, and speaking in the dog of wisdom voice shows up to...I dunno, since I can't understand him. Is he supposed to be the same as the guy we saw earlier? Can trashcans become humans? My head hurts.
After getting their cans handed to them, the aliens retreat, and Spider and friends recover. He eventually gets a call from Velazquez who was tracking the cans, I guess!, and they're amassing in the desert, with Cathy in tow.
Oh, and yes, this movie takes place in Oregon, and they keep talking about the Great Oregon Desert. I was all set to mock this idea, since it's not how one usually envisions Oregon, right? But I looked this shit up, and it's real.
We then cut to Cathy, who has been strapped down, and the evil villain queen of whatever reveals her dastardly plan and attempts to tell us what's going on.
As you can probably presume, she wants the pouch that was left in Cathy's car, that gave her those strange powers. The ancient powers...of Yutz. Pffff, you're a yutz.
So the evil queen shall kill Cathy and claim the powers of Yutz...by killing her with the power of 1000 consecutive orgasms. A minute. ...Okay then.
And as our heroes advance on the orgasming Cathy, we get another song, totally tasteful, about beating your meat.
While Cathy is orgasming, she is visited by ANOTHER alien, and how eventually she shall come to control all her powers. And that Spider is important, which isn't surprising, because this alien force sure sounds like Spider. I suspect this is all a VERY elaborate ploy by Spider to get laid. The other option just hurts my brain.
She comes to after the torture, resilvered and all powerful, ripping away her restraints. The evil queen is confounded with how she could have possibly survived the thousands of orgasms. And in a brilliant bit of writing, "I'm from California, you jerk!" Oh. Of course.
Finally, Spider arrived to the conglomeration of cans, and hides behind a wall of tires, waiting for the right moment to strike.
The sound goes all funky and reversy again, and I am serious, the movie is about to drop the beat on us for sure this time.
Spider rushes into the centre of the oil drums, which are not trashcans, and gets ready to assault them. Cathy, who saved herself, walks over and just tips one of them over.
Y'know...when your evil force is easily defeated by tipping them over...they don't come off as all that threatening?
Some gunshots are going off, and bombs and explosions, and oh no, I think they must have dipped into the Birdemic sound library.
And after a bit of recycled footage of knocking over the cans, it all ends as most things inevitably do, in fire.
"We hoped we had gotten all the trashcans, all the aliens, but something told me we didn't, and someone had gotten away." No, NO no no NOPE no! No setting up a sequel, you stop that right now!!
The movie could EASILY just spare us and end at this point, but oh no, that would be too good for us. Instead, we watch the fires burn, which is fine, I have no problem with that. But then there's more narration from Spider as he tries to leave Cathy and get on with his life. But as he's walking AWAY from her, she somehow gets AHEAD of him, and uses her feminine wiles to lure him back.
He even ponders, "How could you leave that? I know I couldn't!" Yeah. No shit. You TRIED and couldn't escape.
But finally the credits roll, and even THOSE are gold, because they are credits which at this time, has only three names!!
This is one of the early blooper reels in credits, too, I think. But wait, it's even better! For SOME inexplicable reason, the outtakes are being played on a tv that the camera is recording.
And if you liked the kiss the first time? You get to see it in toto a second time in the credits!!
Video: Well. It’s shot on video, so it don’t look too good. On those merits though, it could be worse.
Audio: It’s frequently buzzy, it picks up room noise, and is not so great. I can hear most of it just fine, at least.
Sound Bite: “The garbage can snuck up behind me, hit me in the back. I never saw them coming."
"I don't understand how you can survive a thousand orgasms a minute!!"
Body Count: !!! Not a single dead body! But a whole lotta tipped over cans.
Blood Type - F-: Nary a drop is spilled.
Drink Up! every time someone says “Okay”.
Video Nasties: I…can’t sum this movie up in a single clip. And fortunately I don’t have to! Just head overt to Chuck Handy’s Youtube and watch the entire movie yourself!
Movie Review: Well, really, this is a mess. Poorly shot, poorly edited, the plot is a giant bizarre question mark. It makes enough sense at least, and could certainly have been more nonsensical. Instead, it’s a mess that has its heart in the right place. Two out of five trashcans.
Entertainment Value: Hoooly crap, I love this movie. It is bonkers, exists in its own world, and almost is like video fanfic of some guy’s ideas. Like I said, it’s a bunch of friends having a blast, and it shows. And there are genuine moments of humour. It could have been better, but this movie is truly unique, and I don’t want anything to be changed. Five out of five orgasms.