Wednesday, 12 October 2016

The Greasy Strangler (2016): Review

The Greasy Strangler is a 2016 black comedy film. Directed by Jim Hosking and starring Michael St Michaels (The Video Dead), Sky Elobar (Don Verdean) and Elizabeth De Razzo (Eastbound and Down). The film was also produced by Elijah Wood.

The film follows Big Ronnie (St Michaels) and Big Brayden (Elobar), a father and son duo who have an unusual relationship. Even more unusual is the fact that, at night, Ronnie transforms into a slimy, Creature from the Black Lagoon type monster, known as “The Greasy Strangler”. However, by day, Ronnie and Brayden happily run their disco tours business, and Ronnie enjoys Brayden’s greasy cooking (although not quite greasy enough). A rift soon appears between the two as Janet (De Razzo), a customer on one of their tours, comes between them and a pretty gross love triangle ensues. Eventually, Ronnie’s unexplained absences and penchant for greasy food arouse Brayden’s suspicion and he uncovers the mystery of the greasy strangler.

Hosking is mostly known for his contribution to The ABCs of Death 2 (2014) and the segment “G is for Grandpa” and, if you’ve seen it, you’ll get an inkling of the sort of weirdness you’re in for with The Greasy Strangler. The film wears it’s weirdness as a badge of honour and it’s this, rather than any particular genre, that defines the film. Of course, the easy comparison here is to the films of John Waters (Pink Flamingos, Hairspray) and that influence is certainly felt in its hyper-artificial dialogue, use of colour and trash tactics. You also get a little of flavour of Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite) with the comedic style and timing and it reminded me of some of the more schlocky Troma films of yesteryear.

The performances of St Michaels and Elobar are really strong and, despite how deliberately unconventional this was intended to be, I ended up feeling pretty invested in the father and son relationship as well as Brayden’s ineffective attempts to woo Janet. The deadpan humour kept me laughing throughout and the over the top makeup effects, some of which I’m still trying to unsee, perfectly complimented this. As fresh and original as the film was, I did think it lapsed into a comfortable repetition towards the end where my interest started to flag a little. This didn’t detract from the overall appeal, but I would have liked a few more twists and turns in the plot to deviate from the cycle of the greasy strangler.

A bizarre and unusual film, The Greasy strangler marks a strong debut from Hosking and you’ll be unlikely to see anything quite like it this year (apart from Swiss Army Man maybe). Equal parts revolting, sweet, absurd and charming, this artsploitation flick will keep you laughing and ingrain mental images that may never leave you!

*** 3 Stars

What did you think of the movie? Was it too ridiculous?


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