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Directed by Jim Hosking and written by Hosking and Toby Harvard, The Greasy Strangler is a deliberately awful and crass gross-out comedy that might get a few laughs against your better judgment.
Ronnie (Michael St. Michaels) runs a Disco walking tour of the city with his son Brayden (Sky Elobar), who also lives with him. When a woman named Janet (Elizabeth De Razzo) who was on the tour starts dating Brayden, Ronnie grows jealous and starts competing with his son for her love. While this is going on, a serial killer covered in grease stalks the streets of the city at night, killing people.
Everything about The Greasy Strangler is intentionally horrible. The writing is stilted and the acting is wooden in a way that successfully emulates a terrible B-movie, although whether that is something worth bragging about is up for debate. The comedy is almost entirely based around shock values and gross-out gags. Nudity is a near constant, with particular attention being drawn to Ronnie’s penis. Whether it’s close ups or him wearing “hilariously” transparent outfits that draw your attention to it, expect to become very familiar with what his penis looks like by the end of the movie. Fart jokes, things being covered in grease, eyeballs popping out when someone’s being choked, only for The Greasy Strangler to eat them right afterwards – at the very least, the movie is unapologetic about what it is and perfectly willing to go to any extremes. It’s predictable, but committed and there’s probably a niche audience that could appreciate it.
I laughed a few times, but I could say the same for horrible comedies like Meet the Spartans or Disaster Movie. When you are being constantly berated with jokes, every once in a while one of them will stick and when The Greasy Strangler revels in its own vile absurdity, it can be somewhat amusing – that does not mean it’s funny or a good comedy.
The soundtrack is deliberately obnoxious and mind-numbing. The Greasy Strangler wants to test your patience, which is why every once in a while it has a long, drawn out scenes of characters repeating the same lines of dialogue back and forth for what feels like eternity. Examples of such moments of brilliance include Ronnie and Brayden screaming “Bullshit artist” at each other constantly, and a painfully unfunny conversation where two tourists are trying to overcome the language barrier of comedically exaggerated accents.
The ending abandons what little semblance of internal narrative logic the movie had going for it, opting instead for complete and utter absurdity, which is more off-putting that it is funny.
Much like Weiner-Dog, you can tell right away what kind of movie The Greasy Strangler is going to be and whether or not you will find any enjoyment in it or not. I certainly did not and I imagine audiences in general will have a hard time finding it worth their while.