The Greasy Strangler Review

Posted: September 13, 2016 in 2016 Fantasy FilmFest, Comedy, Horror, Reviews
Tags: , , , ,

The Greasy StranglerHow you feel about The Greasy Strangler coming out of the theater will be directly related to how you were feeling going into the theater. In other words, the more altered your perception of reality, the more likely you are to spend the 93 minutes giggling and gagging, while enjoying yourself immensely. The designated drivers among you will not be having the same experience. In the spirit of full disclosure, when seen at a 6:30 screening by a stone cold sober critic, The Greasy Strangler still provoked some laughter and absolutely no ill will.

The film is neither brilliant nor subversive. It’s gross out humor in a serial killer wrapper. Think early John Waters because The Greasy Strangler will certainly follow the same trajectory as Mondo Trasho and Pink Flamingos: buzz from early showings, outrage and indifference from segments of the mainstream, and a long run of midnight showings on college campuses and at independent urban cinemas, where word of mouth will give this film a longer and greater life than the string of inane blockbusters we suffered through in the summer of 2016.

Director Jim Hosking tipped his hand slightly in his segment “G is for Grandad” in The ABCs of Death 2, but who could have predicted that he would have doubled down on the bad taste of that brief segment to create a trash cult classic? The Greasy Strangler is about a father-and-son team who give disco walking tours of Los Angeles to a largely unsuspecting and foreign clientele. At night, in their LA bungalow, they trade insults and accusations, mainly calling each other bullshit artists and threatening to end their co-habitation. And, maybe, one of them is a serial killer known as The Greasy Strangler, who sheds his clothes, lathers himself in cooking grease, and squeezes his victims until their eyes pop out.

Oh, hell, there’s no maybe about it – and no attempt at suspense. It’s the father, Big Ronny (Michael St. Michaels),  who’s doing the deeds, and we get to see (and never unsee) every minute of it – including full frontal trips through the car wash where he is scrubbed of all incriminating evidence. If there is an annual award for most disturbing use of a prosthetic, then call off the contest because we have a winner. The status quo of this less than blissful but no more dysfunctional than most movie families is broken up by the arrival  of Janet (Elizabeth De Razzo). Janet does not so much come between Big Ronnie and Big Brayden (Sky Elobar) as ping pong between them. Is blood and cooking grease thicker than other bodily fluids? The Greasy Strangler does provide an answer of sorts to that never before pondered philosophical dilemma.

Some – perhaps many – will disparage the effort and viciously criticize the movie. You can expect to hear the phrase “that’s an hour and a half of my life that I will never get back,” way too much. But try this test on any smug, self-righteous individual who bad mouths Big Ronny. Just start chanting, “Hootie, Tootie, Disco Cutie,” until that person joins in. And they will.

Hootie, Tootie, Disco Cutie

Hootie, Tootie, Disco Cutie

Hootie, Tootie, Disco Cutie

Hootie, Tootie, Disco Cutie…

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