What Did I Just Watch: ‘The Greasy Strangler’


The Greasy Strangler is not one of those “so bad, it’s good” horror movies. With very little redeeming qualities, I can only say it’s “so bad, it’s bad”.

I don’t even know where to begin with this one. May as well post the trailer before anything else to let you know what we’re working with:

First, I suppose I’ll start by mentioning something. I am a huge fan of horror comedy flicks. Movies like Killer Klowns from Outer SpaceBubba Ho-tep, and The Toxic Avenger are among my most favorite films. Sometimes, it’s fun to step away from the genuinely terrifying horror films and just spoof them a little bit.

The aforementioned movies are examples of doing that right. The Greasy Strangler, unfortunately, does not follow suit.

I’ll give you a quick, basic rundown of the plot. A mentally disturbed middle aged man named Big Brayden lives with his wretched old man of a father, Big Ronnie. For some reason, Big Ronnie has an insane obsession with grease and oil, to the point where he covers himself in it to strangle people at night. Tensions rise as Big Brayden begins to suspect that his father is the infamous “Greasy Strangler”.

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Admittedly, this idea sounds hilarious in writing. But I think the problem here was that writer/director Jim Hosking and co-writer Toby Harvard didn’t know where to go from there. Branching out that idea into an hour and a half film was probably easier said than done.

For one, the film relies too heavily on sight gags. Its most favorite one is having Big Ronnie constantly walking around naked. You can tell Hosking really thought it’d be hilarious to spend so much time showing a naked old man flashing his prosthetic penis everywhere. Unfortunately, the novelty wears off about five seconds in, but the unpleasant nakedness is just getting started.

For the film’s “conflict”, a tourist named Janet winds up dating Big Brayden. She sexually bounces back and forth between both Brayden and Ronnie, with some of the most awkward sex scenes you’ll ever see. That quickly evolves into many, many scenes of the three of them just casually walking around totally naked. It might be worth a giggle at first, until you realize that this is basically the entire movie.

The death scenes themselves are few and far between. When they do happen, they’re ridiculously disappointing. Early on into the film, they make it apparent they are not going to treat the deaths even slightly seriously. As was the case when the Greasy Strangler punched a man, turning his face into something made of Play Doh:

The Greasy Strangler – Courtesy of FilmRise

This is somehow the least ridiculous part of the film.

The other death scenes don’t play out much better, and they’re all basically the same. Ronnie starts to strangle someone, and their eyeballs immediately pop out each time. He makes it a habit of always eating the eyeballs, presumably to up the gross-out factor.

The Greasy Strangler includes so many disgusting scenes. Aside from the uncomfortable nudity, it’s full of jokes about things like flatulence, masturbation, ejaculation, urination, and defecation. Despite all that, it’s still somehow just… boring. Making it to the end is a chore. It felt like every few minutes I was checking the clock again, seeing how much time I had left.

“Man, I still have an hour left to go?”

“Are you kidding me? 50 more minutes?!”

“Still another 45 minutes? Oh, my god.”

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Somehow, I trudged on through and made it to the end. If nothing else, I wanted to see how this trainwreck would conclude. I won’t spoil the ending other than to say that it’s a convoluted mess and probably the most over-the-top moment of all.

I admire that the film is different, but my list of compliments ends there. Would not recommend, will not watch again. I give it 1 out of 10 greaseballs.