31 Days of Hallowe’en, Day 24: The Greasy Strangler (2016)

What can one say about The Greasy Strangler? Jesus fuck.

the greasy strangler

Imagine if Wes Anderson decided to have a go at making a gross-out movie. Deliberately-framed, static master shots, everyone in vintage pastels and talking out their lines at each other, a pervasive font type throughout. But then add references and jokes to poop, farts, semen, lard, and genitals. And, speaking of genitals, if you don’t think you can stand the sight of elephantiasis-ed old-man penis, go watch The Conjuring 2 or something, because this ‘little mouse’s head’ is its own character in this beautifully disgusting, surrealist shitpost of a film.

the greasy strangler

From its repugnantly stylised beginning, it becomes clear that we’re not to know what to expect from Brit director Jim Hosking‘s film debut. Nobody in this film is recognisable or experienced – our two main characters, a father and son played respectively by two people with the actual names Michael St. Michaels and Sky Elobar – have just a string of background parts between them. If those roles had been filled by the likes of Robert DeNiro and Aaron Eckhart, would I have seen the things on screen that I can’t erase from my mind? Fucking hell no. About as unlikely as anyone wanting to eat butter after this kind of viewing experience.

the greasy strangler

And it’s character-based – a series of vignettes with no signposted direction that leave you unsure just exactly what the fuck is going to happen next. All bets are already off. The father, Big Ronnie, and his son Big Brayden (fucking hell if I know) are already at odds; Ronnie is borderline emotionally abusive (that border gets gradually erased with the film’s running time), and constantly berates Brayden for his incompetence in greasing their food.

Along comes Janet (Elizabeth DeRazzo, one of two players to have a Wikipedia entry), a customer of Ronnie’s fraudulent, lie-peddling ‘history of disco’ walking tour company. Her fledgling relationship with Brayden starts to bring the latter of his shell, but Brayden finds his newfound idyll and confidence threatened when his father starts to move in. Also, Ronnie periodically slathers himself in what must be the galaxy’s thickest grease, then prowls the city for deserving necks to strangle to Troma-like effect. You’ll never look at ping-pong balls the same way. Or car washes.

your face after watching this film.

your face after watching this film.

You’re not here to give much of a shit about any of the characters, save for the perpetually subjugated, beaten-down Brayden. Dressed in matching neon towelling tracksuits and sporting twinned bald-patched almost-mullets, the Gross-out Grey Gardens pair spend the better part of 90 minutes shouting ‘bullshit artist’ at each other, misadventuring sexually, and refusing to do any dishes or laundry, which why the hell not, because everything is challenged to have more grease to it anyway. It’s as if everybody in the film is determined to be so morally, physically and intellectually repellent. Which is why you should watch it immediately.



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