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Review: ‘The Greasy Strangler’ Performances are Deliberately Stiff

Review: The Greasy Strangler Performances are Deliberately Stiff

The Greasy Strangler. Ok… Where to start with this one? It has to be the most bizarre film made in at least a decade. Imagine if John Waters directed Napoleon Dynamite with a little help from Taika Waititi.

Michael St Michaels is Ronnie, a grease obsessed father who runs a fraudulent disco walking tour with his virginal middle aged son Brayden (Sky Elobar). They end up fighting for the affection of Janet (Elizabeth De Razzo) and in the process we’re treated to several uncomfortable sex scenes complete with grimly detailed prosthetic genitals.

Between the Happiness inspired, cringe inducing scenes of intercourse and comedy routines based on repetitive dialogue we discover Ronnie moonlights as the Greasy Strangler, a naked oil covered serial killer who stalks the night, killing those who have annoyed him during the day. The murders have the same absurd violence as in Basket Case 3.

Despite the build up of vulgarity and depravity we’re never really treated to the gross out final act we’re promised. Instead the last few minutes devolve into surrealism in a disappointingly lazy way. The Greasy Strangler isn’t for everyone. Some will find the comedy of repetition tedious and the electro chipmunk soundtrack will either engage or grate on your brain.

The self aware performances are deliberately stiff and awkward for the sake of humour in a very Lynchian way. The actors literally bare all, allowing their bodies to become grotesque punchlines for the frequent vile fart and sex jokes which dare the audience to laugh while they gag. I for one consider it oddly refreshing, like the wave of relief that comes straight after vomiting. It’s hard to think of a more original film from last year. Certainly one of 2016’s best. It will haunt me (in a good way) for the foreseeable future.