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John’s Horror Corner: The Greasy Strangler (2016), a disgusting, awkward, exploitative, gross horror comedy.

May 4, 2017


MY CALL: This trashy movie aims for discomfort, awkward hilarity and excessive disgust. If you like that, then you should like this.  MOVIES LIKE The Greasy Strangler: Movies like Street Trash (1987), Class of Nuke’em High (1986), Mutant Hunt (1987) and The Toxic Avenger (1984) come to mind. Perhaps even Manborg (2011), Turbo Kid (2015), Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky (1991) and Kung Fury (2015).

Director Jim Hosking’s (The ABCs of Death 2 segment G is for Grandad) film is weird AF, socially awkward AF, perverted AF and gross AF. It’s important to be in the right frame of mind before venturing such deliberate filth.  The social awkwardness blares in the opening scenes during a strange (almost stale) childish exchange between father and son. It smacks of a hard-R Napoleon Dynamite (2004). The gross-out factor also tiptoes the unease of The Human Centipede (2009), except that it makes Centipede feel more mainstream while sparing us any “realistic” situations or gore.

Father and son team, Ronnie (Michael St. Michaels; The Video Dead, Another) and Breyden (Sky Elobar; Son of Zorn), share the family business. During their “walking” disco tours they lead dumbfounded tourists to mundane locations while citing stupid facts about 70s music icons.  These scenes seethe idiocy.

There’s an alarmingly heated debate over “free drinks” and, while drunkenly entertaining, this scene appropriately forecasts the bombarding lunacy to come. This belabored exchange is one of many that will induce uncomfortable “marijuana giggles.”  It’s actually painfully shocking how many times the characters repeat essentially the same inanely argumentative lines—as if to nail an awkward joke, kick a dead horse until viewers are impatiently confused or uncomfortable, and then keep kicking that horse carcass until it’s perhaps funny again.  At this point, films like Idiocracy (2006) may come to mind.  But Idiocracy (2006) was far more intelligible and way less perverse.  You know that extremely uncomfortable feeling you may have when you oversee something disturbing like a severely mentally disturbed person dry-humping a hand-rail or pooping, pants down, in the front lawn…and you just want to NOT be there?  Yeah, a lot of the scenes are like that.

Our source of conflict is discovered when a young woman attends Breyden and Ronnie’s historical disco tour. Breyden is smitten, whereas Ronnie is awash with skepticism, fear of abandonment and jealousy.

The title may suggest this to be more of a slasher/killer flick, but such concepts take a back seat to the strange father-son-love relationship. This is more of a psychologically abusive, perverted love story. The gore was limited to a few scenes and, despite an obviously low budget, included playfully rendered imploding face punches and cheap “choking until their eyes (literally) pop out” scenes. These effects are super cheap, but solidly amusing in their deliberate silliness.

This movie may not feature much gore or sex, but it remains quite graphic. We endure lots of wrinkly old man butt, old man banana hammock, chubby men in skibbies, ding dong dangling, windblown (fake) old man weenis in the numerous “car wash” scenes, and full frontal (fake) nudity. It’s hard to explain, but all of these elements are pushed to weirdly excessive limits.  For example, whereas full frontal nudity or sex scenes may make you uncomfortable watching a movie in certain company (e.g., your parents, kids or spouse), “this” full frontal nudity and “this” sex scene made me uncomfortable even though I was watching alone and free of judgment. Giant fake pubic wigs are just plain weird, especially when worn while having deadpan-straight-faced conversations about a father-son love triangle spewing dialogue fit for a 2nd grade reading level.  Good Lord, this is weird. LOL.  Let’s not even get into the “food” scenes…which were frequent and strangely disgusting on their own.

This film is for people who love weird, raunchy and perhaps somewhat exploitative films. I often felt as if every seen was specifically designed to incite discomfort and awkward giggles, and it does so obnoxiously. But despite this, I just shook my head, smiled and somehow enjoyed it.  I enjoy a lot of weird, “extreme” cinema.

Some may find the lunacy of this film to be a rather novel flavor, others may simply find it exhausting after a while. I believe where you fall on this spectrum will depend as much on your taste as it does your expectations and mood when viewing something like this.  Loads of “fake penis” scenes and rerunning the same retarded gag over and over can take its toll on someone who isn’t in an adventurous mood when hitting the “play” button on this. Contrastingly, some people might be looking for exactly this kind of hilarious ridicule.

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