Film Review: ‘The Greasy Strangler’ (2016)

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Stars: Michael St. Michaels, Sky Elobar and Elizabeth De Razzo.
Director: Jim Hosking
Distributor: FilmRise

Trash Cinema is beautiful cinema.

The What’s on TV television guide suggested The Greasy Strangler to be a one-star film – did they even watch it?

A pushing 70 (maybe 80) father and his weird, still-at-home son run bogus tours within a malnourished town of where star musicians of yesteryear had an experience, of which the father was there for. The father is known as Big Ronnie (The Video Dead‘s Michael St. Michaels) because he has a big…anyway, his son is the almost-mullet-ed Big Brayden (Don Verdean‘s Sky Elobar) – they are FREAKS. Big Ronnie possesses an interesting obsession with grease, though he insists that he is not the Greasy Strangler – a night demon that only its victims have seen. Big Ronnie’s obsession with grease entails him to analyse the grease content on his meals made by Big Brayden, and meals purchased elsewhere, such as a hot dog from a vendor. If there’s not enough grease, Big Ronnie isn’t happy.

On one of their many tours, Big Brayden scopes out Janet (Eastbound & Down‘s Elizabeth De Razzo), the soon-to-be love of his life. After an instant attraction, much to the dismay of Big Ronnie, Big Brayden and Janet enjoy a date – the latter reveals their breasts. Big Brayden is in love! Big Ronnie on the other hand is the Greasy Strangler! With subsequent sexual encounters and a growing number of murders, The Greasy Strangler gets weirder and weirder.

Weirder and weirder: the touchy-feely of a (big) prosthetic penis and popping of eyeballs. As unbelievable as it reads, The Greasy Strangler is actually a very funny film. Trash Cinema is also quite a refreshing cinema also, as it presents stories that stand out and oppose the squeaky-clean franchises.

Whilst morally, The Greasy Strangler is a piece of sh*t, it is quite impressive on a technical level. The score and transitioning between scenes is terrific for what is – obviously – a low-budget film. There is an ambiance that there was a lot of love put into this film from cast and crew alike.

Michael St. Michaels is totally Oscar-worthy in The Greasy Strangler – a modern-day King of Trash Cinema. At the beginning of The Greasy Strangler, for a second, I thought that Michaels was a much older David Johansen – that guy from Mr. Nanny. Michaels’ ability to constantly transcend from funny to sleazy, and from normal to evil – without boring the viewer – is truly skillful, and is also a credit to director, Jim Hosking (An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn). Big Ronnie’s relationship with son, Big Brayden, is almost comparable to any father-son love-hate relationship, specifically that of Steptoe & Son – this is the result of a perfect chemistry between Michaels and Elobar, thus another credit to Hosking’s direction.

But who wants to watch The Greasy Strangler though? What is the attraction? In escapism, The Greasy Strangler is either the ultimate escapist film or totally beyond escapism, depending on how far one caps the experience. It is possible to suggest that the attraction of The Greasy Strangler is comparable to the desire of fetishes, such as domination or anything else that is morally suspect – folk engage in it because, despite knowing it is wrong to an extent and dirty, they can’t resist the experience of sleaze and filth in a legal manner.

If you think you can handle the content within The Greasy Strangler, then yes, you absolutely have to see it.

4.5 Stars


For John.

This article’s featured image: By Source, Fair use,

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