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In 2016 it would seem as if anything and everything offends people. We’re living in an age of excessive political correctness and internet activism. Therefore, it’s refreshing to see a movie like The Greasy Strangler come along that’s unashamed to revel in bad taste and not care who it offends. Not only is The Greasy Strangler disgusting, it’s so downright intentionally awkward and weird that it’s almost daring you to turn it off. And rest assured many will walk out of the theatre or clamour towards the stop button as soon as soon as the first frame is shown. But at the same time it’s for these reasons that people are going to fall head over heels in love with it too, and undoubtedly cement its place in history as a cult classic among midnight movie aficionados for years to come.
The Greasy Strangler is about a father and son with a strained relationship. Together they run their own disco tour scam business which entails them dressing in pink shorts and telling lies about the Bee Gees and Earth, Wind and Fire outside of boring buildings in their small town. The dad, Big Ronnie (Michael St. Michaels), is a pathological liar with a grease addiction and homicidal tendencies. The son, Big Brayden (Sky Elobar), is a sweet natured middle aged loner with aspirations of becoming a fantasy novelist. Each of them spends the majority of the film in their underwear or with their genitals on display screaming “bullshit artist.’’
One day, on one of their disco tours, they meet a woman named Janet (Elizabeth De Razzo) who is initially smitten by Big Brayden. They start dating and having lots of sex. This incurs the jealousy of Big Ronnie though, who uses his sweet talk, stories of Michael Jackson and rad disco moves to seduce Janet and steal her from Big Brayden. More sex ensues. And Big Ronnie can’t stop greasing himself up and strangling people. That’s basically the plot in a nutshell.
Almost every scene in The Greasy Strangler is drawn out, repetitious and difficult, but that’s the point of it. The jokes are absurd, puerile and as low brow as they come. There’s toilet humour and then there’s The Greasy Strangler, and that’s one of the biggest compliments I can give this movie. It’s always refreshing to see a film which marches to the beat of its own drum not necessarily trying to appeal to anybody. If we choose to join the march we’re welcome to, even if it’s not going to inspire any profound awakenings within us. It’s a weird movie for fans of weird movies made by fans of weird movies.
Yet despite its oddball antics and gross-out sensibilities, there’s a genuine heart to the story and affection for the characters which gives it a warped, off-kilter charm. By the end of the film, you’ll love these people who’ve spent the majority of the running time doing everything in their power to make you physically sick with their flaccid penises, unkempt pubic hair, fart gags, greasy strangling’s and awkward sex scenes. Again, that’s a compliment. John Waters would be proud.
Whatever director Jim Hosking’s does next I do not know, but I’ll be there with bells on, naked and covered in grease. This is the type of genuine outlandish depravity that the best cinema was built on and I can’t recommend it enough if you’re into that sort of thing. At least half of you will hate it and that’s the beauty of it. There is no middle ground with movies like this. Prepare to be bewildered, grossed out and maybe even offended, but don’t be surprised if it strangles its way into your heart and touches your feels.