Thursday, December 22, 2016
The Greasy Strangler (2016)
DIRECTOR: Jim Hosking
Michael St. Michaels
Elizabeth De Razzo
Joe David Walters
Big Ronnie and Big Brayden are father and son. They both run a Disco walking tour in Los Angeles. While doing one of their latest walking tours, this young woman catches Brayden's eye. They immediately hit it off. This ends up angering Big Ronnie and sets into motion both men fighting for her affection. Big Ronnie also harbours a very dark secret with his alter ego known as The Greasy Strangler. A serial killer who is covered in grease and has an affinity for strangling his victims.
Going into a movie with a title like The Greasy Strangler. You'll know very well not to expect a film of award-winning quality. When I had initially watched the trailer for the film, my very first thought was 'what the hell did I just witness?'. After watching The Greasy Strangler, not much has changed in the way of my opinion. I still feel like this movie is a collection of big what the fuck moments. It's peculiar and bizarre but not much else. I just wasn't connecting with it at all.
While watching The Greasy Strangler, the overall vibe I got from this movie was the same vibe I got from watching a Quentin Dupieux flick. Quentin Dupieux directs these extraordinarily offbeat and weird horror comedies. You may have seen or heard of his films Rubber, Wrong or Wrong Cops. They are highly original in concept but may turn off regular viewers who aren't well versed in the bizarre and strange. I love me some strange, but I was still put off by The Greasy Strangler.
Reading that last line in the previous paragraph, I think it may be the highest form of praise when it comes to the movie. I think anyone who was involved in the making of this movie and they came across this review. They would consider this a positive job, well done. The film is a collection of scenes that are so over the top, gross, and nasty that I was kind of turned off by the film. It's not the type of bad taste that I love like John Water's early stuff, this was just very off-putting.
One of the things that I believe The Greasy Strangler deserves a point for its utter originality. You're not likely to find another film like this in concept or vision. That is down to Tom Harvard and Jim Hosking. You have to be pretty warped individual to think up something like this, and these two boys are just that. A little bit of trivia, I was incredibly shocked to learn that Ben Wheatley of (Kill List and High-Rise) and Elijah Wood were producers on this film.
The acting also deserves this movie a point. I found the two leads to be pretty damn brave with both of their performances. Nothing seemed restricted or off-limits with their performances. Michael St. Michaels and Sky Elobar who play father and son go to some really messed up places, and I feel it's courageous on their part. The same can be said about Elizabeth De Razzo who matches both actors in just how far she is willing to go with the disgusting subject matter in the film.
When it comes to gore and bloodshed, The Greasy Strangler is tame by most horror movie standards. There are a lot of scenes that involve eyeballs being popped out of people's skulls, but this is all very lite on the horror front. The film isn't going for that with its violence or gore. This is the type of blood and gore that I expect from Troma. It's all very comedic and over the top. The movie also lacks suspense or tension, but as I said above, this film isn't trying to be a full-blown horror film.
The element of The Greasy Strangler that will make people's stomachs turn are the gross-out gags. I've seen some pretty nasty stuff in my life, but continuous shots of an old man walking around with a massive prosthetic cock, saggy man-boobs and he has a habit of laying on his back and spreading his ass cheeks was enough for me. I may have been less grossed out had I not watched this first thing in the morning. It was just incredibly off-putting while I was sipping on my coffee.
Lastly, the movie for a low-budget comedy horror is rather well made. I loved the use of colour in a lot of the outdoor scenes. I thought that Jim Hosking did a half decent job when using a lot of bright colours. It gave the film a lovely colour palette. You can see that they've carried it over onto the poster of the movie. I find a lot of indie films have that shaky hand-held camera feel to them but The Greasy Strangler felt like it was a lot more grounded with its cinematography which was another element of the film that I thought was well done.
DEATH TOLL: 9
BLOOD AND GORE:
- Someone's head is smashed into a vending machine.
- A guy is punched in the face and his head caves in.
- People are strangled to death.
- People's necks are squeezed so hard their eyes pop out.
- Someone's eyeballs are deep fried and eaten.
- Someone is shown dead and with their nose ripped off.
- A blind man is strangled and decapitated.
- Someone's ears are ripped off.
- Two men are gunned down with assault rifles.
The Greasy Strangler is a movie that I was really excited to watch. I'm a massive fan of gross-out gags, surreal and bizarre films. One of my favourite filmmakers is John Waters. I heard a lot of positive stuff coming off the festival circuit about the movie, so I was incredibly hyped. After watching it, I left really underwhelmed with the final film. It's not an enjoyable experience. While I was expecting weird, this was incredibly offputting. The film is a horror comedy, and it lacked in both respects. The best thing I can say about the film is that you won't likely find anything as weird in 2016.