Tuesday, 1 November 2016

The Greasy Strangler

Go home, Hollywood. We don’t need you anymore. After years of futile attempts at originality, you can all stop trying to give us something fresh now. Stick to your reboots, remakes and sequels. Jim Hosking has us covered in the originality department, and boy has he given us a doozy.

I have no idea where to begin in reviewing this absolute masterpiece of the macabre and depraved. The Greasy Strangler is an often hideously uncomfortable horror/comedy that may make you feel physically sick if you’re not used to this sort of film – but in the best possible way. It is easily one of the finest films of the year…and it involves a naked old man covering himself in grease and committing violent murders, when he’s not dancing in a crotchless disco jumpsuit... We don’t need hard-hitting dramas, we don’t need depressing romance, we don’t need thrilling action, we don’t need anything other than this anymore. The Greasy Strangler has it all. If this is the last film ever made, I will be content. It cannot be topped. This could be the end of cinema. The art form began with Louis Lumiére’s 46 silent film of workers leaving a factory, and it has ended with The Greasy Strangler.

Okay, maybe cinema will go on…but bloody hell, it will take something special to beat this already-iconic piece of work. Big Ronnie (Michael St. Michaels) runs a disco walking tour with his son, Big Brayden (Sky Elobar). When an attractive young woman named Janet (Elizabeth De Razzo) takes the tour and is inexplicably interested in the two men, it begins a competition between father and son for her love. Oh, and there’s a serial killer on the loose who covers himself in grease and strangles people who have pissed him off. Could it be grease-loving Big Ronnie? Will his socially awkward son Big Brayden expose and stop him? And who will Janet choose?!

When a film is this divisive and Marmite-esque in its splitting of the public, then I know it’s likely going to be my sort of film. Without sounding like a hipster I’ve been fed up of the ‘mainstream’ in cinema for years, always desperate for the smallest glimmer of originality. Some people don’t feel like this. They want to be spoon-fed explosions and car chases. They want Michael Bay. But other people, like me, want something a bit different. For every person that wants to watch a Transformers, there’s someone out there who wants to watch a High-Rise. And like High-Rise, The Greasy Strangler’s IMDb average rating is currently around the 5/10 mark – meaning some loved it and some hated it. I know that some of you reading this will be on my side of cinephile depravity. I know I’m not alone.

The Greasy Strangler is one of those films that I could rant about all day and tell you every single bit of it I love (well, every single scene) – but I don’t want to spoil the many greasy and uncomfortable surprises in store for you. The performances of the entire cast are perfect; a monotonous deadpan delivery is used for almost all dialogue and the film’s jokes are often repeated or dragged out to an uncomfortable length (“Porto!”), but while for other films this would be a criticism, here it is praise. And while we’re dishing out praise, I have to mention Michael St Michaels. You will struggle to find a funnier, more intense and braver performance this year. My goodness, it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Again, I don’t want to spoil any of the best bits but…just…ah, it’s perfection. This whole film is perfection. I adore it. I adore everyone involved in it. This film is my forever love.

This film, man. It’s an absolute delight. Yes, it really is an exercise in boundary bushing depravity and bad taste, but it has a certain charm that makes it impossible to look away from. It’s unforgettable. It’s a film that will be with us forever. It takes a certain mind to have this sort of response to it – and maybe my high praise here is, in fact, making me look like a sick and twisted individual – but if you’re looking for something fresh and different, The Greasy Strangler delivers originality in buckets. I’m no bullshit artist – this could just be the film of the year.

The Greasy Strangler is an oiled-up masterpiece that you will never forget. 5/5, and even that doesn’t feel like enough.


Sam Love

Greasy Strangler at CeX

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