Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Greasy Strangler


   "What the fuck did I just watch?" so said myself and every single other person who ever watched this movie. I've never seen anything quite like this, and I've seen a movie where a one eyed ex priest went to hell to kill a super rapist, but ended up sexing his hot sister giving precisely zero fucks. This movie however, is about a father and a son who live together, and run a walking Disco tour. But, when a sexy woman shows up on the tour, a weird semi-oedipal competition breaks out between the father and son, as they both vie for her affection. Oh and as the title plainly states, there's a grease-covered serial killer going around who strangles his victims to death.

   What the title doesn't let on is how much gross sex, bad full frontal nudity, and all around nastiness this movie has to offer. User Andrew Jupin on Letterboxd said in his review, that the movie is "like Napoleon Dynamite, The Room, Swamp Thing and Todd Solondz beat each other to death inside a Tim & Eric sketch-" and I couldn't agree more. In fact it was that quote that got me to see the movie in the first place. I mean, The Greasy Strangler is like the soap opera from hell, but a hell run by John Waters. It's so gross, but not necessarily in the most relentless way you'd expect. The movie makes grease as gross as an old man bare-assing it and farting in someone's face. I don't think I'm gonna eat anything with more than an ounce of grease in a long... long time.

   The movie is not really a comedy as much as it is just pure absurdism. It's one of those things that you won't believe until you see it, and once you see it, you're not sure you believe it. You can't really say it's "good" or "bad", because it's precisely what it wants to be. Subsequently, you can't really recommend this movie to anyone, because it's not really the kind of movie you can enjoy in a straightforward manner. It's not a comedy. It's an intentionally bad drama, mixed with absurdist punchlines, and gross-out vulgarity. If that happens to make you laugh, hey, wonderful. I know people who laugh through horror movies- but that doesn't mean The Exorcist is a comedy.

   All the actors in the movie filter their performance through a practiced ignorance about acting, like someone who's aware of the concept of movies, but has no idea how to make dialog flow organically. The dialog was written, it seems, specifically to look a certain way on the page, and sound absolutely retarded when spoken. It works. It's absurd and at times hilarious, as it was no doubt intended to be. I'll leave it to you to look up all the juicy greasy details about how the movie was made. Sometimes it's just as bad/absurd as the movie itself.

   At the end of the day, you already know if this movie is for you. It's not a fast movie, or a particularly visually exciting movie, but it's crazy, gross, slimy, sticky, vulgar, and stupid. Eventually, as one would expect, it goes right off the goddamn rails, embracing it's rampant absurdity wholeheartedly. My lack of shock at that point was due to exhaustion. Because, yes, The Greasy Strangler is an exhausting movie, but in some ways it's kind of a rewarding one. If aliens were among us, and they made a movie to try and fit in, it'd probably be this one. This is their attempt at creating a compelling murder mystery with a family/romance drama at it's core. They don't quite get humans, and it shows. But, the fact it was made by people and not aliens is all the more delicious. Fully not-quite-recommended.

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