The Greasy Strangler (2016)

This tender-hearted, father and son comedy…no wait, what am I talking about? What I mean to say is this truly tasteless, gross-out comedy is not for everyone. Seriously, this is a film where you’ll either laugh hysterically at the ridiculousness of it all, or have a complete opposite reaction of “what the hell is this crap and why does it exist”.

Sometimes it’s hard to describe an enjoyment of a silly movie. The film revolves around a father and son (Big Ronnie and Big Brayden, respectfully) who live together and give disco-themed walking tours around town. Brayden starts flirting with one of the tour customers, Janet, and soon his father becomes jealous and starts competing for Janet’s affections as well. Meanwhile, people are being murdered around town by a maniac known as the Greasy Strangler, and Brayden starts to suspect that his father may be the titular character. Sure enough, Big Ronnie does happen to be the Greasy Strangler. He dips his body in a vat of grease, goes around town strangling victims, and then heads over to the local car wash to clean up.

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It’s the only way to get rid of that greasy feeling

What I like about this movie is that it exists in its own world, where all the characters are eccentric and outrageousness is the norm. There’s also plenty of profanity, nudity, and gross-outs (the grossest scenes involve food, such as Big Ronnie dunking a hot dog in a bucket of grease). Lines of dialogue are repeated over and over, making for a very quotable film, and some scenes are intentionally and uncomfortably stretched out too long.

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If this looks gross, don’t worry, it’s supposed to be

As a movie lover, I enjoy watching movies at my local theater. This has become an affordable hobby for me, and I’ve also made some great friendships with other film lovers as a result. Last summer I had the opportunity to attend an advance screening of this movie as part of a small film festival that my local horror movie club was hosting. I had seen the trailer a few weeks prior, and when I went into this film I was feeling nervous. I had these expectations that maybe this film would be too gross and maybe I couldn’t handle it. But I ended up being surprised. The movie was absurd, hilarious, tasteless, and not meant to be taken seriously. I laughed hard, and so did the rest of the audience. And when the movie was over, those of us who had seen it were now happily calling each other “bullshit artist”. We all had this crazy shared movie experience, and we were now proud members of The Greasy Strangler fan club.

I’ve officially seen The Greasy Strangler three times at my local movie theater (we love it enough that the theater brought it back a couple more times). Now, I can’t even think of another movie that I’ve seen more than twice in a theater, so why this particular one? For me, I feel this film is best enjoyed with a crowd that wants to see this type of film. If I were viewing this at home on my own I really don’t think I would enjoy it as much or have the same experience. It just needs that group setting, and it makes for a fun movie experience. So if you’re willing to watch this movie, do so with a group and just enjoy the ride.

As a final note, if you dig soundtrack scores, Andrew Hung (of the electronic music duo Fuck Buttons) composed a great synth score for this movie. I highly recommend the soundtrack, even if you don’t ever see the film.

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