Rated G for excessive greasiness and a good time

Lars Torres, Staff Reporter

So begins the time of the art films, intellectual blockbusters and innovative features, all put together in the late quarter of the movie year known as “Oscar Season.”  Here comes a standout film from all of those descriptions, something that can stand toe-to-toe with some of the greats, something that should be celebrated for years to come for its ingenuity and its spectacle of bewildering wonderment. That film today is known as “The Greasy Strangler,” and it is a sight to behold in all the right and wrong ways.

This eccentric film follows two family members, Big Ronnie (Michael St. Michaels) and his son, Big Brayden (Sky Elobar), who run an embarrassing disco walking tour in an unspecified city as they show odd customers various points of interest where famous disco bands seemingly worked. One of these customers is Janet (Elizabeth De Razzo), a seemingly normal woman who takes a liking to Brayden, much to the chagrin of his immediately jealous father. To cool off, Big Ronnie does what he does every evening, take on the mantle of an infamous serial killer known as “The Greasy Strangler.” His alter-ego is a monstrous individual covered in thick, pasty grease who kills not just by strangling, but in other disturbing ways, with the victims usually being those who do Ronnie wrong or simply annoy him.  

In between these moments of craziness is a brewing love triangle with father, son and Janet, and as the murders become more frequent and hit closer to home, Brayden vows to stop the Strangler by any means necessary.

This film does not hold back with its display of madness, starting with an odd comment on how grease should be applied to coffee. The grease commentary makes up over half of the film’s dialogue, which itself fluctuates from bizarrely intriguing to ridiculously awful.

The acting is also all over the place, with St. Michaels pulling off the best performance as the titular Strangler/Big Ronnie with all the weird gravitas of a third-rate Clint Eastwood. Elobar plays the role of the “cheesy-odd-cornball” Brayden well, portraying a character that reminded me of Napoleon Dynamite, but much heavier and beaten down by the tribulations of life.  

Due to the key aspects, this is quite possibly the most grotesque film you may see this year. Each scene has a loose and shameless aura, with genitals, breasts and other body parts being let loose on the screen, especially with Big Ronnie. Dance numbers come out of nowhere, with one standout being a long take shot of Big Ronnie dancing nonchalantly yet calmly across a street with a mysterious spotlight following him, his massive genitals shown front and center throughout. The soundtrack is eclectic, with synthesizers and what sounds like cats making the majority of the music touches. The gore is not extreme at all, but what is shown is still freakish to the eyes. The plot is nonsensically put together and does not flow properly. It also never reaches a satisfying ending in either its love triangle or its murder mystery aspect.  

However it does manage to overcome some of this with its eccentricities, but it is reaching. The 93 minute runtime could have been shortened significantly, perhaps to the length of a short film.

“The Greasy Strangler” has all the makings of a cult film, and it is pure fun to watch visual madness happen onscreen. Thank the twisted minds of director Jim Hosking, co-writer Toby Harvard, Alamo Drafthouse founder/producer Tim League and renowned producer/actor Elijah Wood for discovering and making this film work, mostly. As the main character ends up doing (for the most part), stay greasy, my friends.

Film: “The Greasy Strangler”

Directed by: Jim Hosking

Release: Oct. 7

Rating: 4 out of 5