Stars: Michael St. Michaels, Sky Elobar, Elizabeth De Razzo, Gil Gex, Abdoulaye NGom, Holland MacFallister, Sam Dissanayake, Joe David Walters, Sal Koussa, Jesse Keen, Carl Solomon, Dana Haas | Written by Toby Harvard, Jim Hosking | Directed by Jim Hosking
While it is fair to say that some movies are just bad, there are others that are created to BE bad. While for some people, they stay that way, for others they become a self-aware gem of a film that has its own charm… The Greasy Strangler is definitely the latter.
The Greasy Strangler is a tale that follows the lives of Big Ronnie (Michael St. Michales) and his father Big Brayden (Sky Elobar). While taking a group of people on their Disco Walking tour, they encounter Janet (Elizabeth De Razzo) who Ronnie soon falls for. With attention movie away from his father to this new woman in their lives, it soon leads to the appearance of the titular Greasy Strangler.
If you are a fan of Troma films you know the charm of so-called “bad movies” and this is what The Greasy Strangler has. There are some characters that seemingly intentionally deliver their lines bad, but this is done in a self-aware way. These aren’t important characters though as this is more about the love triangle between father, son and Janet.
The Greasy Strangler itself never really hides who it is, we are informed this in one of the first lines of the film. This leads to one of the catchphrases of the film “Bullshit Artist!” which is something that will stick in your mind. Another is “Hootie Tootie Disco Cutie” which comes in a memorable scene that is hard to forget. This is why the film works though, it is based in its own odd little world that is not only entertaining in its oddness, but legitimately funny.
A side of the film that may be hard to take for some is the fact that it is made to gross you out, and it knows which buttons to press. Big Brayden for example likes his food greasy, very greasy. This means we get to see food, even popcorn covered in grease. It can be stomach turning at times, and this is the intention of the film, to push you to the limit.
What is surprising in all of this gross out humour is the fact that the violence, while visceral isn’t really as gory as it could be. This is more cartoonish in style, until of course the grease comes into play. The obsession with eyeballs is an interesting theme, but one I think shouldn’t be over analysed.
This is something about The Greasy Strangler that is important: it isn’t made to be over analysed. We can come up with certain theories of what the film is trying to tell us, but I tend to think that in many ways there is no real set meaning to what we see. There is a theme about relationships, both paternal and romantic. The way Janet comes between Brayden and Ronnie does lead to much of the drama, but it also is something that tends to get lost in the chaos of greasy grossness.
The Greasy Strangler pushes gross out humour to the limits, and does love to show full frontal nudity. There are many things I could warn viewers about, but in truth the fun is to be surprised by what happened and to enjoy it for what it is. The Greasy Strangler is unapologetic in trying to disgust its viewer, stick catchphrases in your head and test your limits, and that is what makes it a must-see experience. Don’t question whether it is a bad movie, just get it watched.
The Greasy Strangler is available in the UK on DVD and Blu-ray now.