director Jim Hosking
Horror-comedy The Greasy Strangler has been considered somewhat polarizing in audience response from its initial showing at Sundance in 2016. Letterboxd listed it as the Most Divisive film of 2016 regarding user reviews.
So, it just figures that I find myself on neither far end of the spectrum but smackdab in the middle.
I think of it a bit like Napoleon Dynamite (2004), a film decidedly off-kilter in tone and humor, essentially a movie made to be a “cult” film. The Greasy Strangler is somewhat atonal in its humor, delivery and characterization, intentionally flat and out of step in rhythm. But it’s also intentionally gross.
The gross-out stuff is two-fold. Greasy foods, greased-up bodies, occasional gruesome kills. But also body horror of a kind, with a lot of nudity sort of warts and all of people whose bodies are far from perfect and in some cases even far from normal. Add in prosthetic genitalia both large and small and pubic areas hairier than many wild animals. Michael St. Michaels lets it all hang out and given the context of the characters and their physiques, I don’t think the film is asking us to love and accept them, but rather to be further disgusted.
So, there is that.
But it’s also kind of interesting. I’m not entirely sure what it’s all supposed to be about in the end, but Elizabeth De Razzo who also lets it all hang out is the one likable figure in the strange twisted affair.
I neither loved it nor hated it.