Elijah Wood and Ben Wheatley lend their producer credits to The Greasy Strangler, which on first impressions appears to be influenced by the likes of early John Waters and the best of Troma. It certainly doesn’t mince words or ideas and at a fair ninety minutes or so will certainly be one to look at again and again to deduce its ideas.
Geek Big Brayden lives with his father Big Ronnie in an L.A. shack, where they organise disco-themed tours of the local community with all manner of deceitful lies (one of the key phrases that comes out of their mouths is ‘Bullshit Artist’, which can be heard umpteen times throughout). Ronnie, however, does seem to have a fetish for excess grease on his food (a point that Gordon Ramsay would not take lightly in the grand scheme of things) which also provokes an extreme side-effect, transforming him into the titular ‘Greasy Strangler’ The relationship between father and son gets complicated when a big woman called Janet who they meet on one of their tours decides to go out with Brayden, much to the chagrin of Ronnie, who has also taken a fancy to Janet….
THE GREASY STRANGLER is a traditional gross-out comedy horror. It certainly was the strangest viewing experience I have had since the very first Human Centipede and American Mary at recent FrightFest. Although at times, the film is a little uneven in terms of performances and some repetitive dialogue, there is a rather peculiar charm within the film that provides sufficient attention to the intended audience, which is why I feel that in time the film will gain a suitable cult following amongst horror fans.
The use of the woman Janet is clearly a nod to Waters with people like Tracy in Hairspray and The Strangler himself is reminiscent of Troma’s The Toxic Avenger. There are some cheap and cheerful gore effects like the heady days of Re-Animator three decades before and you probably will not look at grease in the same way after viewing this film.
There is a lot of potential in the concept and is an example of a film that suffers from its low-budget foundation. I was expecting more laughs and extreme horror a la Evil Dead and Brain Dead in addition to that which is on show here. That said, there are some moments of gross sexual interaction that compensate and provide humour also.
On balance, though, The Greasy Strangler is a reasonable offering.
THE GREASY STRANGLER / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: JIM HOSKING / SCREENPLAY: TOBY HARVARD, JIM HOSKING / STARRING: MICHAEL ST. MICHAELS, SKY ELOBAR, ELIZABETH DE RAZZO / RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 7TH (LIMITED), OCTOBER 10TH (DVD/VOD)