Usually, movies with names like this one has – titles that stir up all sorts of ideas in the back of your imagination about what possible absurdities and madness lie within – don’t deliver and if they do it’s one scene out of twenty, at best. It’s a holdover from the era when VHS ran the game and cover art Russian roulette was the order of the day I guess. Either that or it’s because it’s way easier to come up with a cool sounding name than it is a story to actually support that name – see The Bunnyman Massacre. In a welcome turn of events,The Greasy Strangler actually delivers on its title’s promise for the most part. The Greasy Strangler feels like Napoleon Dynamite meeting Hobo with a Shotgun for some acid and crack in a darkened doorway down on East Hastings.
The Greasy Strangler is much more of a comedy than horror, despite what its violence promising title might have you believe. Another welcome turn of events because let’s face it, we have more than enough generic “killer in the shadows” movies filling our movie shelves and streaming queues. We need something bizarre right now (outside of the complete absurdity of real life right now), and this movie is just that, whether we can handle it or not. Especially if we can’t handle it. Following a father and son team who lead “disco tours” (see: ripping tourists off and walking them around a run down neighbourhood spouting that the Bee-Gee’s hung out “in that very doorway” and other absurdities) and reside in near squalor; the American Dream realized. Being that the point of the movie isn’t for us to wonder who the killer is, that particular sheet is lifted in the first few minutes. You see, dear old Dad seems to have a penchant for strangling anyone and everyone who he disagrees with, which is almost everyone he crosses paths with except for his son.
The Stranglers son functions as his business partner, room mate, caretaker and grease sloper, all while being the constant target of abuse and ridicule. Their world is upset though with the introduction of a “hootie tootie disco cutie” by the name of Janet, causing a power struggle as the younger of the gruesome twosome realizes that there might just be life beyond his current existence. He quickly falls for her, because pretty much anything is better than dispensing grease for your Ronnie James Dio in his twilight years look-alike dad. Needless to say there are plenty of gratuitous nude scenes, complete with micro AND painfully inflamed looking peni. There’s actually an unapologetic amount of dick,ass and tits in this movie, which you would think would have a desensitizing effect but it didn’t really for the DIAG crew present. For every micro or red and inflamed penis that filled the screen, our discomfort grew in equal measure.
When The Greasy Strangler decides to let its horror side show, it manages to be gruesome without sacrificing its humour. Not hard when your humour is coal black, but worth noting. Sometimes black humour can just come across as edgelord fuel but that isn’t the case here thankfully. The kills use the mechanics you would expect given the title, but the set ups to them and subsequent clean up make up for the lack of variety. The Greasy Strangler isn’t for everyone, but this movie is too weird to pass up at least giving it a try. Even if you don’t make it through, I’m sure you will witness some memorable shit, for better or worse.
– Scotty Floronic