The horror-comedy “The Greasy Strangler” is a bizarre and often strangely funny and affecting exercise in escalating repulsiveness and bad taste. Director and co-writer Jim Hosking makes his feature film debut with this tale of father-son rivalry, love triangles, disco history, murder and a man who just can’t get enough grease.
Michael St. Michaels plays Big Ronnie, grease connoisseur and father to Brayden (Sky Elobar). The duo live together and give disco tours around Los Angeles in matching pink outfits. When Brayden woos a tourist, Janet (Elizabeth De Razzo), his father becomes jealous, and their rivalry escalates along with the body count of the Greasy Strangler, a murderer who slathers himself in a thick, Crisco-like oil before killing his victims.
The film is forthright in its pushing of gross-out boundaries, from the vats of grease to the extremely awkward sex scenes and constant nudity. The actors deliver their lines in an artificial deadpan tone, and the humor comes from the sheer repetition of nonsensical lines and gags.
There’s something weirdly appealing about the performance of St. Michaels. He’s so game for anything, including dancing in a crotchless purple jumpsuit and sporting a thin, white mustache and braces to disguise himself as an investigator in one of the truly laugh-out-loud moments of the film.
So while “The Greasy Strangler” eventually becomes tiresome in its relentless repellence, it’s just so odd it deserves to be lauded for simply existing.
‘The Greasy Strangler’
Running time: 1 hour, 33 minutes
Playing: The Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre, Hollywood