Monday, October 17, 2016

THE GREASY STRANGLER


Hailed as "The Weirdest Film of the Year" by several critics who must not have seen Guy Maddin's THE FORBIDDEN ROOM, Director Jim Hosking's debut feature THE GREASY STRANGLER is still a strange one: part horror, part comedy, and all bizarro. The easiest way to describe this is PINK FLAMINGOS meets SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER on the set of POULTRYGEIST. This will either scare you away or grab your attention like few other films out there.

Michael St. Michaels (some might remember him from the 1987 gem THE VIDEO DEAD) stars as Big Ronny, who both lives and works with his son Big Brayden (a fantastic Sky Elobar, who you may have seen on an episode of CONAN O'BRIEN). By night they eat greasy sausages and walk around the house in their underwear, farting every chance they get, and by day they run a walking "disco tours" business where they bring patrons to different L.A. sites as Ronny delivers trivia. Of course it's all BS, and most of what he has to say is hilarious, especially one comment about the band Earth, Wind, and Fire. They both dress in pink tops and shorts, and every tourist in the film is wonderfully strange, especially Janet, who falls for Brayden and is then stalked by Ronny. Janet is played by Elizabeth De Razzo (from the TV series IDIOTSITTER) in an absolutely ballsy performance. Janet is among the first group of tourists we meet, which includes three others in a politically incorrect sequence that was refreshing to see in a modern film.


At night, people are being strangled to death by a man who is covered head to toe in grease, and Brayden eventually decides to find out who it is. Big Ronny IS The Greasy Strangler, and when he isn't choking his daytime clients or hot dog vendors, he's busy disco dancing with his blind pal Big Paul (played by Gil Gex). Big Paul also runs a car wash where Ronny cleans himself off after he strangles people. Oh yeah...Ronny also likes to pop out his victim's eyeballs and saute them in a frying pan full of--you guessed it--extra grease.

THE GREASY STRANGLER has the aura of a classic John Waters film, with a touch of Troma films-type toilet humor. Unfortunately, a bit TOO much toilet humor, which the film didn't need to be as funny or strange as it is. Fart jokes get old fast, and they wear their welcome out here, but the rest of the insane goings-on should keep any lover of weird cinema's interest enough to overlook all the flatulence. (Note to makers of bizarro films and books: PLEASE cut it with the poop/fart jokes already! It wasn't too funny ten years ago in POULTRYGEIST and it isn't much funnier now).


Big Ronny is a genuine creep, from the way he stares at his son (and Janet) as he scolds them, to his old man dance moves at the disco. His love for greasy food is beyond obsessive, despite his son's warnings to tone it down ("I read it's bad for your cholesterol in a magazine I found on the bus"). He's an instant cult film icon, yet despite this, I found myself more fond of Brayden. He's a beer-bellied, turtle neck wearing, balding yet long-haired geek who is busy writing the great American novel when not spending time worrying his father will steal away Janet. He loves his father and cooks for him daily despite constantly being yelled at. He wears glasses that seem to have been stolen from an elderly diner waitress, and he has a sleazy way about him that brings Raymond Marble from PINK FLAMINGOS to mind.

In the end, Brayden discovers he not only can't live without his father, but he is destined to become just like him.

THE GREASY STRANGLER's first 30 minutes are hilarious. We're thrown into a surreal version of L.A. and are entranced by the strange people inhabiting it. The film then loses its pace for a bit, but (director) Hosking manages to keep you from drifting by introducing another outrageous situation just when you think the film's about to fall. It doesn't. Ronny and Brayden are two misfit low lives that we somehow cheer for. We laugh at their constant bickering and repetitive arguing. And when we see what becomes of Janet, we're somehow happy how things turn out.

Unlike films that attempt to be "cult films," THE GREASY STRANGLER actually is one, and it will surprise me if it doesn't find a dedicated midnight audience (or at least a strong following on video).

Major kudos go to Andrew Hung, who has created a wonderful soundtrack that sounds like an old Atari video game has exploded and taken on a life of its own. The music is weird, quirky, catchy and fits this project to the tee.


It's never explained just why Ronnie submerges himself in a 55 gallon drum full of grease before he kills, and in a way we really don't care. Like classic John Waters and Ed Wood films, we're so fascinated by the cast that the plot becomes unimportant. We just wait for weird things to happen, and when they do, we're onboard. There are some incredibly uncomfortable sex scenes, and the endless shots of Ronnie walking around with his long penis flopping about (I was glad to read this was a prosthetic) not to mention Brayden with his exposed teeny weenie just about guarantees the film will not see an uncut (full pun intended) cable TV run anytime soon.

THE GREASY STRANGLER will make you feel dirty, but you'll laugh anyway and probably hate yourself in the morning for liking it so much. I'm looking forward to a second viewing...

-Nick Cato

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

On Hiatus!

We're taking the summer off. Check the theater links to your right to see what's in store for the weekend. See you in October. Cheers!



Monday, June 13, 2016

NYC Midnight Offerings for the Weekend of June 17, 2016

Unless otherwise noted, all films screen at midnight Friday and Saturday

Check each theater's website during the week as additional features are ocassionally added




ERASERHEAD (1977) at the Nitehawk Cinema


GREEN ROOM (2016) at the Nitehawk Cinema (Starts 11:45 PM / NOTE: Friday only)


DICE RULES (1991) at the Nitehawk Cinema (35mm presentation / Starts 12:15)


INSEMINOID (1981) at the Spectacle Theater (NOTE: Friday only)


EMBRYO (1976) at the Spectacle Theater (NOTE: Saturday only)


CRUISING (1980) at the Landmark Sunshine


DEPARTMENT Q: A CONSPIRACY OF FAITH (2016) at the IFC Center (NOTE: Friday only)


DREAMCATCHER (2003) at the IFC Center (35mm presentation)


THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST (2009) at the IFC Center (35mm presentation / NOTE: Saturday only)


THE HOLY MOUNTAIN (1973) at the IFC Center


TAXI DRIVER (1976) at the IFC Center


RAIDERS! THE STORY OF THE GREATEST FAN FILM EVER MADE (2015) at the IFC Center (Starts 11:30 PM)


THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975) at the Bow Tie Chelsea Cinemas

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

NYC Midnight Offerings for the Weekend of June 10, 2016

Unless otherwise noted, all films screen at midnight Friday and Saturday.

Check each theater's website during the week as additional features are occasionally added.



DESPERATE TEENAGE LOVEDOLLS at the Spectacle Theater (NOTE: Friday only)


LOVEDOLLS SUPERSTAR (1986) at the Spectacle Theater (NOTE: Saturday only)


GREEN ROOM (2016) at the Nitehawk Cinema (Starts 11:45 PM)


THE BIG LEBOWSKI (1998) at the Nitehawk Cinema


RICHARD PRYOR: LIVE ON THE SUNSET STRIP (1982) at the Nitehawk Cinema (35mm presentation)


PEE WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE (1985) at the Landmark Sunshine


YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974) at Videology Bar and Cinema (NOTE: Saturday only)


EL TOPO (1974) at the IFC Center (35mm presentation)


JAWS (1975) at the IFC Center (Starts 11:45 PM)


PET SEMATARY (1989) at the IFC Center (35mm presentation / Starts 12:15)


PURPLE RAIN (1984) at the IFC Center


TAXI DRIVER (1976) at the IFC Center


THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975) at the Bow Tie Chelsea Cinemas

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

NYC Midnight Offerings for the Weekend of June 3, 2016

Unless otherwise noted, all films screen at midnight Friday and Saturday.

Check each theater's site during the week as additional shows are occasionally added.




EL TOPO (1970) at the IFC Center (35mm presentation)


JAWS (1975) at the IFC Center (Starts 11:40 PM)


PURPLE RAIN (1984) at the IFC Center (Starts 12:20)


THE SHINING (1980) at the IFC Center (Starts 11:30 PM)


SILVER BULLET (1985) at the IFC Center (35mm presentation / Starts 12:25)


THE ROOM (2003) at the Landmark Sunshine


THE OMEN (1976) at the Landmark Sunshine (40th Anniversary Screening)


EMMANUELLE (1974) at the Nitehawk Cinema


EDDIE MURPHY: RAW (1987) at the Nitehawk Cinema (35mm presentation / Starts 12:20)


WILD BEASTS (1984) at the Spectacle Theater (NOTE: Friday only)


SHAKMA (1990) at the Spectacle Theater (NOTE: Saturday only)


SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD (2010) at Videology Bar and Cinema (NOTE: Saturday only)


THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975) at the Bow Tie Chelsea Cinemas

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

NYC Midnight Offerings for the Weekend of May 27, 2016

Unless otherwise noted, all films screen at midnight Friday and Saturday.

Check each theater's website during the week as additional features are occasionally added.




 WIZARDS (1977) at the Nitehawk Cinema (35mm presentation / Live score performed by Black Lodge)


SHAUN OF THE DEAD (2004) at the Nitehawk Cinema (Starts 12:20)


GREEN ROOM (2016) at the Nitehawk Cinema (Starts 12:25 on Friday, midnight on Saturday)


AKIRA (1988) at the Landmark Sunshine (Also screening midnight on Sunday, 5/29)


DEATH PROMISE (1977) at the Spectacle Theater (NOTE: Friday only)


DIGITAL MAN (1995) at the Spectacle Theater (NOTE: Saturday only)


VALERIE AND HER WEEK OF WONDERS (1970) at Videology Bar and Cinema (NOTE: Friday only)


ALIENS (1986) at the IFC Center (NOTE: Starts 11:35 PM Fri-Sun)


JAWS (1975) at the IFC Center (Also screens Sunday 5/29)


PURPLE RAIN (1984) at the IFC Center (Starts 12:20 Fri-Sun)


THE SHINING (1980) at the IFC Center (Also screens Sunday 5/29)


WEINER (2016) at the IFC Center (Starts 12:15 Fri-Sun)


THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975) at the Bow Tie Chlesea Cinemas