UK Release Date: 7th October 2016
Runtime: 93 minutes
Director: Jim Hosking
Writer: Jim Hosking, Toby Harvard
Starring: Michael St Michaels, Sky Elobar, Elizabeth De Razzo, Gil Gex, Jesse Keen, Joe David Walters
Synopsis: A dysfunctional father and son end up squabbling over the same woman, but it seems as if one of them may enjoy slathering himself in grease and murdering people.
The Greasy Strangler is not for everyone. To be honest, it’s barely for anyone. The Greasy Strangler is hard to review because your enjoyment is going to come completely depend on how much you gel with its humour.
Normally I’d give a plot synopsis, but that’s kind of hard to do here. Basically, it’s about a father and son (Michael St Michaels and Sky Elobar) and the father is secretly a serial killer who covers himself in grease and goes on murder sprees. Other than that, the plot goes in atypical directions and oddities. There’s romance, betrayal and grease. So much grease.
The film likes to play with non-traditional plot developments to add to the comedy. It loves to set up what looks like it could be a traditional plot structure, before ripping the rug out from under the audience. Some of the biggest laughs of the movie come out of sheer disbelief at what is happening on screen. Personally, I think the movie is hilarious. It’s very similar to Tim and Eric in its use of non-sequiturs, non-professional actors and bizarre repetition. How much enjoyment you get out of the movie is completely dependent on this.
There are other aspects of humour in the movie that worked less for me. There’s quite a bit of gross out humour involving flatulence and sexual comedy which didn’t land as well, but the audience I was with actually laughed at those moments more. The Greasy Strangler is really an eclectic menagerie of low-brow comedy that throws a lot at the wall to see what sticks. When it does stick, it sticks like a delicious, greasy hot dog shot at the wall from a naked elderly man’s anus.
Special commendation should go to the soundtrack from Fuck Buttons. There’s a jingle that plays throughout the movie as a recurring motif, which has a rambling and hoppy tone that you’ll be whistling long after the movie ends. It’s a very unique soundtrack as a whole and a real standout part of this entirely unconventional, but completely memorable, movie.
Maybe there’s more to The Greasy Strangler than what I saw. Maybe it’s an existential, Dada-esque piece on the malleable relationships between father and son where the only way to mend these fractured patriarchal relationships broken down by showdowns of masculinity is to allow move past them and let the relationship grow naturally, lubricating the cogs of the relationship with grease being the metaphor for this lubrication that allows the father and son in the movie to come together in strangulation.
Or maybe it’s just a silly movie where an old man blow dries his triangular penis after he greases himself up and eats fried eyeballs.
For more on The Greasy Strangler, read our interview with writer-director Jim Hosking.
Pop or Poop?
There’s no getting away from the fact that The Greasy Strangler is one of the most unusual movies released in cinemas this year, which is no mean feat given the presence of movies like Sausage Party and Swiss Army Man. It’s funny, horrifying and absolutely unique.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.