The Greasy Strangler


The makers of “The Greasy Strangler” won’t be offended when I say that it’s not a film so much as an endurance test, an intentionally off-putting anti-comedy meant to try the patience even of people who like this sort of thing. It’s about Big Ronnie (Michael St. Michaels), a vulgar old man, and his oily loser son, Brayden (Sky Elobar), who finally gets a girlfriend (Elizabeth De Razzo) but has to compete with his dad for her affections. At night, Big Ronnie slathers himself up in Crisco and murders people.

The film’s perverse, grotesque style recalls the tacky camp of John Waters, the absurd, low-budget non-humor of “Tim & Eric,” and the thrift-store wardrobe and deadpan cast-your-friends-in-a-movie feel of “Napoleon Dynamite.” Add filthy nudity, comically fake penises, and gross food; dialogue repeated to the point of annoyance, then hilarity, then annoyance again; and deeply committed performances by people who surely aren’t professional actors, right? Most of the humor derives from the aggressively depraved presentation, which is hard to sustain for 90 minutes. But as trashy, you-gotta-see-this provocations go, well, you gotta see it.

B (1 hr., 30 min.; Not Rated, probably R for abundant harsh profanity, graphic nudity, general grotesquery, and graphic violence.)