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  Greasy Strangler, The Sausage FestBuy this film here.
Year: 2016
Director: Jim Hosking
Stars: Michael St. Michaels, Sky Elobar, Elizabeth De Razzo, Gil Gex, Abdoulaye NGom, Holland MacFallister, Sam Dissanayake, Joe David Walters, John Yuan, Matt Yuan, Mel Kohl, Sal Koussa, Jesse Keen, Carl Solomon, Dana Haas, Darrell Keith Harris
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Trash
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Big Brayden (Sky Elobar) is a middle-aged man who lives with his father Big Ronnie (Michael St. Michaels) in their dusty, run-down house. When he brings up the old man a cup of coffee, he gets nothing but complaints as Ronnie wants to know why he cannot have grease in it, because he believes it would improve the flavour: Brayden is unconvinced, but his dad insists on the benefits of a cup of greasy coffee. Once they have discussed that, it is time to seize the day and set about conducting their walking tours of the neighbourhood where they make claims to visiting tourists that the entire area has seen many a disco legend haunt these streets, including the Bee Gees who wrote the lyrics for Night Fever in that very doorway. But what about the free drinks?

The tourists were promised free drinks. Free drinks. Free drinks. Free drinks. Free - well, you get the idea with that, but this was the approach to humour that the British team of writer and director Jim Hosking and his co-screenwriter Toby Harvard adopted. If it wasn't funny at first, appeared to be the method, then simply repeat it over and over until the audience start laughing, a tricky proposition when that enormous degree of repetition could very well test the patience within about ten seconds of it being implemented, and so it was that the audience was divided on whether The Greasy Strangler was actually funny or not. Most seemed to think not, though they might not have necessarily been fans of this sort of twisted comedy in the first place.

On the other hand, even if you were you could still find tedium encroaching on your movie watching experience, for this was basically variations on a theme of grease and related matters, worried over by the script again and again for around ninety minutes. The idea was apparently to separate the men from the boys as to how much you could tolerate from your entertainment as far as bad taste went, much as this team's previous collaboration, a segment of The ABCs of Death 2, had been on a far briefer scale, though the humour was predictably similar. "Predictable" was the operative word, since within five minutes they were reluctant to offer a whole load of variation, leaving the impression of going to watch a confrontational stand-up comedian to find he had hardly any material.

And he was going to repeat what material he did have throughout the evening's set. Are you getting the idea now? It was repetitive. Whole sketches went by with characters saying the same phrase to one another ad nauseam, without even a hint of a punchline as eventual pay-off, the whole point was the monotony which you either found amusing or you did not. But who or what was the titular strangler? As admitted during the first scene, he was Big Ronnie, a grease-obsessed elderly gentleman, though it took the whole movie for his son to believe this was the case in spite of all evidence to back up the old man's claim. Ronnie was deliberately cantankerous and perverted, as his habits included voyeurism, bullying, lying for money and more, without even getting to his murderous tendencies.

To commit his acts of murder, he greased himself up (actually a costume the actor put on) and throttled his victims, various eccentrically-essayed characters ranging from foreign tourists to local vendors who refuse to put enough grease on Ronnie's fast food. As a slight turn of interest, Brayden starts up a relationship with Janet (Elizabeth De Razzo, the only woman in this, treated as if the creators have… issues), who wants a change of pace from the rougher blokes she has been seeing, but the draw of his father proves too strong, at least for a while, leaving Brayden even more hopelessly adrift. As a mark of the particular sense of humour, this would see all three principals spend the greater percentage of their scenes either in their underwear or naked, with only prosthetic genitals (too big or too small) to spare the actors' blushes, which might have raised a giggle the first time you saw it, but the cinematic flogging of a dead horse that ensued was only for the hardiest viewer. Some held this up as a transgressive treat, but most would appreciate its commitment while finding it difficult to accept that it was anything but a deadpan sleazy yawnfest, which was an achievement of sorts. Purposefully annoying music by Andrew Hung.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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