Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A Rootie Tootie Disco Cutie, or Thoughts on The Greasy Strangler

The Greasy Strangler (2016) is the strangest movie of 2016; absurd, surreal, yet oddly compelling it is the love child of David Lynch and John Waters; completely original and unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.  Well that’s not entirely accurate; imagine if The Human Centipede (2009) was a Monty Python skit and you have an idea of what this movie’s about and where it goes.
Written and Directed by English filmmaker Jim Hoskins, The Greasy Strangler stars Michael St. Michael as Big Ronnie, the patriarch, naturalist and owner of a walking disco tour of Los Angeles.  When he isn’t demanding greasy breakfasts from his middle-aged son, Big Braden as portrayed by Sky Elobar, Big Ronnie covers himself in grease and stalks the night streets as the (inexplicably nude) Greasy Strangler.  The audience is treated to full-frontal nude scenes of a grease covered old man with a turnip shaped thingy as he throttles his victims until their eyes pop out.  Everything seems to be proceeding on a dysfunctional status quo until the introduction of Elizabeth De Razzo, who upsets the slippery balance by falling in love with Big Braden and then being seduced by Big Ronnie.
Both Big Ronnie and Big Braden enjoy walking around the house in their underwear; out on the streets they wear matching pink hotpants.  And then there’s the scene where Big Ronnie’s dancing on the sidewalk in his crotchless purple velour pantsuit.  The filmmakers dwell on the unflattering, lumpy nudity, as if attempting to create an anti-aesthetic.  We’re used to seeing toned and tanned bodies in popular media but Big Ronnie and Big Braden are presented with a kind of pathetic, flatulent dignity.  It’s not cool or edgy, in fact the movie is deliberately anti-cool, as if challenging or daring the audience to watch it.
With oddly repetitive, circular dialogue and a catchy 8-bit videogame soundtrack, the film is oddly hypnotic and takes the audience down its greasy path until it almost makes sense.  It is perhaps 10 minutes longer than it needs to be, or maybe I just needed a ten-minute break from seeing another shot of Big Ronnie’s bushy old man pubes.  I have a high tolerance for cinematic depravity (you know I saw The Human Centipede), but even have limits.
The fact that Jim Hoskins, an Englishman decided to film his movie in LA is significant because this is his vision of America; he didn’t shoot in London or Liverpool, he wanted to make a statement about life in the States.  I’m not entirely certain what that statement is, except that involves disco, an obsession with nudity and violence, and a lot of shouting.  Which i suppose doesn't make it that much different than any other movie we've reviewed in this blog.



my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hour diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).