The Greasy Strangler
the greasy strangler | jim hosking | toby harvard | michael st. michaels | sky elobar | elizabeth de razzo | comedy | united states | arthouse | gil gex | abdoulaye ngom | holland macfallister | sam dissanayake | joe david walters | john yuan | matt yuan | mel kohl
Film: The Greasy Strangler
Director: Jim Hosking
Writer: Toby Harvard and Jim Hosking
Starring: Michael St. Michaels, Sky Elobar and Elizabeth De Razzo
This was a movie that when I started to get into podcasts, the name would pop up. I knew this was more of a movie that non-mainstream horror fans watched. It went on a list of movies to check out, but hadn't gotten around to it. All I knew was that it was outrageous. I finally gave it a viewing as part of the Summer Challenge Series for the 2010s over on the Podcast Under the Stairs. The synopsis here is Ronnie (Michael St. Michaels) runs a disco walking tour with his son, Brayden (Sky Elobar). When a sexy woman takes the tour, it begins a competition between father and son for her love. It also signals the arrival of an oily strangler who stalks the streets at night.
Now I'm going to start stating that this is a weird movie. We are following mostly the father and son duo of Big Ronnie and Big Brayden. Brayden wakes up his dad with coffee and Ronnie states that no one takes their coffee oily. This grosses out Brayden and Ronnie states that his son probably thinks he's the greasy strangler. As it sounds, this is a serial killer that prowls the streets at night, covered in lard and choking his victims to death. This causes Brayden to think his father is joking.
As the synopsis states, these two have a walking tour where Ronnie tells those that partake about the history of different buildings and disco legends that have a connection to them. The first tour we get to see doesn't go well. Ronnie is temperamental. When an Indian tourist, played by Sam Dissanayake, asks about free drinks they saw in the brochure. This upsets Ronnie. A Senegalese and Scandinavian tourist who are also with them join in a chant for free drinks. These other two are Abdoulaye NGom and Holland MacFallister. Ronnie ends the tour early in anger. There is another member, Janet (Elizabeth De Razzo), and Brayden apologizes to her.
Later that day, Brayden relays that he is going on a date with her. Ronnie doesn't believe it and thinks that she is going to break his heart. He tries to convince his son not to go, but it doesn't work. Ronnie decides he will try to steal her away from his son instead. This creates an odd competition between the two.
Ronnie is also the greasy strangler. The first victims we see him attack are the foreign guests on the tour. Ronnie is covered in lard and he uses a local carwash to clean himself after he's done. It is run by a friend of his that he used to go to disco clubs with by the name of Big Paul (Gil Gex). I should point out that he's blind.
When Brayden's best friend of Oinker (Joe David Walters) is murdered by the greasy strangler, he decides to solve the case of who this serial killer is. Ronnie tries to break his spirits by seeing Janet and he also poses as a detective to dissuade him. Brayden will find a part of himself he didn't now he had and possible lose his humanity to solve this mystery.
Now I'll be honest, it feels like I'm deepening this movie more than what it really is with that recap. This movie just has an odd, surreal feel to it. It really is more of a comedy with some really horrific aspects to it. The interactions between Ronnie and Brayden are odd with the dialogue they are reciting and how they're reciting it. While chatting with Jake while doing Side Quest Podcast about this movie, which was partially what they were going for. They are repeating the same dialogue over and over to make it feel almost as mundane as every day conversation. I'm going to warn you here, this movie isn't for everyone and to take it farther, I think most might not enjoy this.
With that established, this is absurd. The tour this father and son do doesn't seem like it would make money. They claim history of all of these buildings and there really is nothing to back it up. This is partially what upsets Ronnie when challenged by the Indian tourist. I actually don't believe a lot of what he's saying. He tells Janet at one point he had a wild night with Michael Jackson. Brayden informs her it was really a Michael look-a-like that was a male prostitute. Ronnie is full of it in my opinion and just feeds lines to everyone.
Delving more into Ronnie, he's also a horrible father. I do believe that he had Brayden a bit younger and had to give up things in life. I think he resents him. Since Ronnie thinks more of himself than what he should, that is why he goes after Janet for validation. Even though a lot of things he says and does are funny, it is pretty sad to see what he says to as well as does to Brayden. There is some serious mental abuse that is going on here. I can see why Brayden has the low self-esteem.
Shifting from here, I do want to go to this serial killer of the greasy strangler. It is absurd, but the concept makes sense. When I told Jaime, she looked at me funny. What I thought about first was the serial killer from Stephen King's The Dead Zone. The lard that is on him would make it harder to fight. It also might make it harder to keep your grip when choking someone to death. Regardless, it is a wild idea and I kind of just enjoy it for that.
Since I've talked a lot about the characters, I'll go next to the acting. St. Michaels is wild. I know him originally from The Video Dead. It is fun to see that he's back into acting. Elobar is weirdly odd as his son. De Razzo and Gex are also pretty solid. What I should point out here is that no one is good. They're not playing characters that are normal. This is by design. What I'm going to say is that they work for what was needed. I can't fault them if they're supposed to play it awkward as that works.
Going along with how weird things are, I want to go to the effects. You can tell that St. Michaels is wearing a suit of sorts when he's the greasy strangler. I'm fine with that personally as it would be difficult to grease him up for long stretches. It works for me. They do go odd at times with the effects as well, like when someone's eye balls pop out. They're going over the top with it which fits the tone of the movie. What I do want to give credit for is the cinematography. I think they add character there and it was really well done.
Then finally I want to go into the soundtrack. I'm going to be honest with you, I love it. It is probably my favorite part of this movie. It helps the vibe they're going for. The music just hits a spot for me that has love for 1970's films. I don't necessarily think it falls in that same category, but my love for weird music from this era is probably why it works. This will a soundtrack I seek out for sure.
So then in conclusion here, I will reiterate this movie won't be for everyone. It isn't played straight. This is an odd comedy that is horrific in some of its nature. Not all of the comedy works for me, but I will admit, I did legit laugh out loud at some things. This is just a different type of movie. The acting is odd, but that is what they were going for. The effects aren't great, but much like the soundtrack, it fits. I can't recommend it to everyone. If you like schlocky films, I think you can really appreciate this one. I'm not the biggest fan that they set out to make a movie like that, but I can respect what they're doing here. This is just over average for me though.
My Rating: 6 out of 10