Justin C. here,..
Correct me if I’m wrong, but at one time the term “cult film” referred to a movie that failed at the box office during its initial release but eventually found its niche, either through home video release (The Evil Dead) or midnight screenings (The Rocky Horror Picture Show). Nowadays, it seems as if certain filmmakers have grown disinterested in commercial success and are instead targeting that fringe audience they consider underserved by mainstream fare.
Such is the case with The Greasy Strangler.
It’s unlikely that director Jim Hosking ever thought that this movie (and I’m using the term loosely) would appeal to the masses. As a friend of mine said, this is the kind of movie where you receive a T-shirt if you’re able to sit through the whole thing. I don’t have a T-shirt for my troubles, but then I also didn’t watch the movie in one sitting. I don’t think I could have.
The plot, such as it is, revolves around a father and son, Big Ronnie (the human embodiment of Stripe from Gremlins) and Big Brayden (the unsuccessful love child of Will Ferrell and Judah Friedlander), a couple of down-on-their-luck individuals who run a walking tour that showcases the history of disco. When Brayden unexpectedly falls in love with one of the female tourists, it creates a rift between father and son and Ronnie’s (I’m spoiling absolutely nothing here) nefarious activities as the Greasy Strangler increase in frequency.
Why is he called the Greasy Strangler, you ask? Because he covers his naked body head to toe in grease and then strangles his victims to death. One of the most prevalent gags, if you will, is the sight of Ronnie’s ridiculously long penis. It’s rarely hidden from view and oftentimes accompanied by full-frontal nudity from one or more additional cast members. I would guess that there are less than half a dozen scenes in the 93-minute runtime where someone isn’t either naked or working on getting naked.
While watching The Greasy Strangler, I was struck by how much of it seemed to ape Napoleon Dynamite, which in my opinion is a much better film. From the set design to the outlandish characters and costuming, there’s definitely a correlation there, but Strangler lacks the humor and compassion that ultimately made Napoleon work. Instead, it oftentimes relies on the old Family Guy trick where if at first the joke doesn’t succeed, we’ll repeat it half a dozen times or more so you’ll understand that it was meant to be funny. Get ready to hear the phrases “bullshit artist” and “hootie tootie disco cutie” an absolutely ridiculous amount of times.
Or make the wise decision and just avoid The Greasy Strangler altogether.
My advice: anyone who tries to tell you that you should see this movie is a bullshit artist.
(The trailer below is seriously NSFW. Or any other environment, for that matter.)