I'll be up front with you right from the get go, I love The Greasy Strangler! In the short amount of time I've owned the new Blu-ray release from MVD Entertainment, I've watched the film three times and recommended it to friends and family who have the same messed up, off-kilter sense of humor as yours truly. Though I'm not going to beat around the bush, this film is not for everyone, some may even argue anyone, but if you find yourself laughing at fake dicks and gross-out imagery, you'll want to take this bizarre cinematic journey.
Set in a warped version of Los Angeles, The Greasy Strangler follows Ronnie (Michael St. Michaels), a man who enjoys greasy food and runs a Disco Walking tour along with his doughy weirdo of a son, Brayden (Sky Elobar). When a sexy, alluring woman named Janet (Elizabeth De Razzo) comes to take the tour, it begins a competition between father and son for her attentions. It also signals the appearance of an oily, slimy inhuman maniac dubbed "The Greasy Strangler," who stalks the streets at night and strangles the innocent. The father-son relationship is pushed to its breaking point when Brayden begins to suspect that Ronnie is moonlighting as the grease-covered killer.
If this brief, yet perplexing plot summary for The Greasy Strangler intrigues you, then Jim Hosking’s directorial debut may definitely be right up your sick and twisted alley. It's crude, unapologetically grotesque and slathered in an undeniable feeling of unease...and I reveled in its every moment. The film is totally fucked up, but in a mischievous and juvenile kind of way. Think Napoleon Dynamite meets The Taint (Never heard of it? Look it up!).
Hosking and co-writer Toby Harvard have created an entire film devoted to the art of repulsion, but it's also an impressive offering of world and character building, with a city full of eccentric strangers and disco enthusiasts, and a very strong set of actors who are totally invested in the insanity. St. Michaels, Elobar, and De Razzo are all wholly willing to degrade themselves and if they weren't, the whole production may have been undone. St. Michaels and Elobar perfectly portray a father and son trapped in a match of domestic tug of war inside their decrepit humble abode, both baiting each other with claims of being a "bullshit artist", though there's a undeniable feeling of distorted love for one another under it all. De Razzo is confident, brazen and incredibly human as Janet, spouting out "Imagine if I farted right now” while Brayden fingerbangs her from behind. That last sentence probably weeded out a lot of potential viewers. St. Michaels ultimately steals the show as the self-proclaimed "Spider-Man of Cocktown”, Ronnie, with his hilariously absurd prosthetic penis (that's practically a supporting character) and magnetic charm he dials up the film's strangeness to astronomical levels. Hosking deserves massive amounts of praise for his casting.
Adding to the overall insanity of the film is the compellingly odd, yet indisputably catchy synth throb score from composer Andrew Hung and Mårten Tedin's masterful cinematography that brings beautiful aesthetic and composition to a very unpleasant world.
Frankly, I really don't have anything negative to say about The Greasy Strangler. It's savagely unique, perverse and distasteful, and I somehow couldn't take my eyes off the screen, no matter how many times the film challenged me to do so. I imagine this is what it'd be like if David Lynch directed a Troma film.
If you desire more after the credits roll, MVD and FilmRise have included a handful of extras on the Blu-ray, including a commentary track with Hosking, St. Michaels and Elobar, wherein they discuss the film's production and share hilarious stories from the set. Also included are interviews with St. Michaels, Elobar, De Razzo, "tourist" actors Carl Solomon, Abdoulaye NGom, Holland MacFallister, and Sam Dissanayake, producer Ant Timpson, production designer Jason Kisvarday, and prop department employee Zack Carlson. All of these interviews offer insightful looks at cast & crew experiences and motivations, production predicaments, director impressions, and much more. The interviews alone add over an hour of greasy goodness to this already stellar release. A Theatrical Trailer, Red Band Trailer, and a Teaser Trailer are also included.
Let's face it, The Greasy Strangler is indifferent to the mass audience, it doesn't care if you're turned off by its gloriously blatant stupidity and copious amounts of poop and fart jokes. This is a weird movie. This is a vile movie. This is a movie with heart, a lard covered, perverted heart. If you're a gutter-dwelling freak such as myself, you absolutely cannot go wrong with the hideous monstrosity that is The Greasy Strangler.