Film: The Greasy Strangler (2016)
Directed by Jim Hosking
Available on Amazon Prime
this shit is written by eric
Spoiler Alert: This film contains gratuitous amount of prosthetic penis. If you are a fan of that one scene in Boogie Nights, you will fall fast in love with this cutie of a film from 2016. The Greasy Strangler was directed by British filmmaker, Jim Hosking who is also known for the highly sexualized gore-fest The ABCs of Death. The film centers around a father and son as they search for life and love while guiding Disco Tours through some desolate commercial dead zones in some non-descript Northeastern textile town that lost all of its jobs to China. The world consists of dialogue so dumb it gleams brilliant and characters defined by their crazy sexual predilections. It’s also perfectly acceptable to wear a disco one-piece with the crotch cut out to expose one’s monstrous uncircumcised penis…
Big Brayden and his father, Big Ronnie, played to disgustingly incredible effect respectively by Sky Elobar and Michael St. Michael, live together and create lies about the local community’s involvement in the history of disco. Ronnie loves his food as greasy as possible, piling on what appears in the film to be just hyper-viscous petroleum jelly onto everything he eats. Brayden loves cooking for his father and writing fantasy novels with Rastafarian leads. Brayden soon falls for Janet, played by Elizabeth De Razzo. She also portrayed Maria in Eastbound and Down, and is an absolute delight in this film; thankfully not being typecast as the stereotypical Mexican woman with a thick accent. In a film full of the wide gamut of acting ability, she comes across as a shining light. Brayden and Janet soon fall for each other and Big Ronnie steps in the way, seducing Janet by being his “smoothie” self. On the side, Big Ronnie runs around the B-plot as The Greasy Strangler, a serial killer who greases up his entire nude body in order to strangle the locals.
The film revels in its true strength, which is making you feel uneasy about certain social and tactile conventions. In a way, the atmosphere is quite reminiscent of Eraserhead, insomuch as the exterior shots feel oppressive with desolation, and the interior shots tend to disgust with their abrasive visions of human and animal biological function. It is quite easy to find yourself as turned off by Ronnie eating a greased up sausage as it is in the scene of Brayden masturbating his comically microscopic penis to completion while on the phone with Janet. It is hysterical in its dark and grotesque humor and I feel like that may be where the film falls short. While it is weird and often times hard to watch, I cannot not say it is all that original in the ways it tries to shock you. I applaud its use of male nudity, but it is nothing more offensive than one would see in the YMCA locker room; old and ugly penises grow stale quite easily.
Overall, the film’s casting is pretty great. Michael St. Michael has face appeal that is so fucking great in this latest resurgence of cinematic weirdness. He looks like Karl Lagerfeld meets Klaus Kinski meets Denis Lavant (especially in that UNKLE music video, “Rabbit in your Headlights”) and has a deep and gruff voice that simultaneously makes him seem smooth as grease and greasy as grease. While some of his line delivery is suspect and feels read from an off-screen placard, there is no denying it matches the tone of the film. Brayden looks like what you imagine every neckbeard nice guy to look like, but exudes a certain charm like the guy outside the convenience store you can’t help but be polite to, despite the fact he has been giving you the same sob story about trying to get enough money to get to Denver for two years.
This is one of those films that is weird and probably just for weirdness sake. But if you are into that sort of thing, definitely check it out. You’ll dig it, probably.