Film Review: The Greasy Strangler

Punk Cock Disco Strut

2016 has been a terrible year for the death of creativity, the list grows exponentially of the artistic greats that blew our minds for generations with their ever inventive creations/manifestations/works of art. Both them and their art seemingly born on other worlds, other strata of consciousness, that once seemed extraordinary almost incomprehensible on first exposure, but inspired the world forever more.

Such creativity is the anathema of death. The spirit, wanton abandon, instinctual trust, care free smile and feral chaotic delight of being in the creative zone is a proper ‘Fuck You’ to Death, as for the briefest of moments, you completely forget about it. Dance like nobody is watching… then teach the world that dance.


I’m not about to place the creators of mind lubricating genius of ‘The Greasy Strangler’ (2016) on the same pedestal as the masters who have moved on this year, it’s a wee bit early for that. But even the great masters were inspired by many many things, and there is just so much creativity going on in this movie that I’ve zero doubt it will inspire future wonderment/warpedment.

Born from frustration of unsuccessfully trying to get a movie made with various scripts, writer/director Jim Hosking and writer Toby Harvard embarked on an concept/script/development email tennis match of batting complete caution to the mainstream wind and embarked on a slippery adventure of what they’d genuinely like to see, that more importantly hasn’t been done before, effectively implementing their instinctive creative ID survival net. It has to be said that it’s quite a unique net (it’s definitely no pottery class), but it’s all the more wonderful for it.

The set up is pretty straightforward, father and son team Big Ronnie (Michael St. Michaels) and Big Brayden (Sly Elobar) run a small somewhat dubious business venture called ‘Disco Walking Tour’ in the bowel end back streets of Los Angeles. Sporting their trademark uniform of shocking pink turtle necks and pink knitted shorts they strut and sashay the lanes of L.A. regaling ‘tales’ of disco memorabilia/anecdotes harvested from the apparent memories of Big Ronnie’s early career to hapless tourists.

The relationship of the duo is laden with failures, disappointments, loss and yearnings, but it’s still held together with a timeless bickering love and a vat load of grease. Brayden tenderly and dutifully brings his grumpy/belligerent dad a fresh cup of tea every morn to which he gets a response of… well you’ll see.


The wife/mum left years ago, so in all those years the two of them have to a greater extent become a married couple. Bumping the needle of this 12 inch classic functioning unfunctional dynamic remix shimmies in tour punter Janet (Elizabeth De Razzo). A endearing first love strikes up between Brayden and Janet, much to the ire of Ronnie who can see his routine being changed. He likes his broken record.

Young love is tempestuous and trial ridden at best, but there’s also the overhanging oily cloud of fear in the recent local brutal murders by a culprit known as The Greasey Strangler, who glides around with impunity dispatching folk. He’s not leaving living finger prints at the scene of the crimes, just mutilated bodies and splotches of grease.

But the power of love reigns supreme and to defend his beloved Brayden must take on the Herculean task of degreasing the Strangler.

All seems simple enough, except for the fact that NOTHING will prepare you for this audacious journey. The creators have wonderfully and most importantly successfully created an entire world where everything seems familiar, but immediately and gleefully knocks/slips you off kilter. It’s a delightfully warped universe with it’s own rules, nuances and traits. It bring idiosyncrasies to previously uncharted levels, and it is AMAZING!

The sooner you accept this new creative elevation the more you’ll enjoy it (the Timspon Films opening title card will be a good indicator). I’ve seen it a couple of times now, and the befuddled confusion/battle that was going on in the initial viewing moments completely evaporated in the second viewing. Don’t get me wrong, I laughed non stop the first time, just the second time I was laughing before the movie even started as I knew what was sliding towards me.


Part Nickelodeon kids show, part David Lynch ‘Eraserhead’, part Peter Jackson’s early masterpieces ‘Bad Taste’ (1989) and ‘Braindead’ (1992), but wholly unique. It looks fantastic with an superb use of locations, a truly wonderful early casio keyboard exploitation vibe soundtrack by Andrew Hung (of Fuck Buttons) and some of the most quotable movie lines that have been written (they’d make Tarantino want to throw away his crayons). The entire cast are excellent, going above, beyond and below anything they may have done before, and it has to be some of the best casting of anything really.

It’s not going to be every-bodies greasy cup of coffee, but that’s why it works so well. It’s an instant cult classic, and as such what’s one person’s classic is another’s aberration… but of course they’re wrong, I implore you to release and embrace your inner grease.


‘The Greasy Strangler’ is out from 7th October.