The Greasy Strangler (Monster Fest)
Michael St Michaels, Sky Elobar, Elizabeth De Razzo
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…a unique film by an emergent auteur that truly wallows in the abject and is all the better for it.
In the car wash, standing naked, his pale flesh slathered in layers of lard and cooking fat, his penis flapping in the wind, stands The Greasy Strangler, hiding the evidence of his latest crime as the massive cleaner de-greases his skinny old body.
Welcome to the world of The Greasy Strangler.
Wearing matching pink outfits, father and son team, Big Ronnie (Michael St Michaels) and Big Brayden (Sky Elobar), earn their living taking small groups of tourists on disco history tours. During one of these guided tours, following a fight between Big Ronnie and a party of tourists, Brayden meets Janet (Elizabeth De Razzo). But while Brayden lacks any sexual confidence with Janet, his father has the cool moves of a true player, and soon starts muscling in on his son’s relationship with the girl dubbed The Hootie Tootie Disco Cutie. And then the trouble really starts.
With an atmosphere that combines the kind of family dysfunction that comes straight from psychoanalytical case studies, punctuated with disco gloom and blood drenched murder, all slathered in vats of grease, and downtown rot, The Greasy Strangler positively oozes grime. Amongst its various inventive murders, it also boasts one of the funniest sex scenes to have graced cinema screens in recent years. The Greasy Strangler probably isn’t a movie for everybody; it searches out the gross and celebrates it with a deadpan sensibility.
Superficially, the movie could be compared to the early works of John Waters and the wild genre-bending films of George Kuchar; it certainly shares an interest in exploring similar areas of heightened rule-breaking melodrama. But there is a camp aesthetic in Waters and Kuchar that is not present in Jim Hosking’s film. The Greasy Strangler inhabits a darker realm, though it’s too thematically transgressive to be simply a horror film. While it has genre elements in its grotesque serial killer and gory violence, the film eschews an atmosphere of fear for something more nihilistic and humorous.
Ultimately, The Greasy Strangler is its own beast: a unique film by an emergent auteur that truly wallows in the abject and is all the better for it.