M.L. Miller aka the @$$hole formerly known as Ambush Bug here! I posted my very first horror reviews on October 1, 2010 and have been posting every Friday ever since on AICN until just recently. I’ve uprooted the show and taken it to my own site just in time for this year’s Best of the Best in Horror Countdown. It’s going to be running all through October, counting down to the best horror film of the year. Some of these films can be found in theaters, but others have unfortunately only seen the light of day on Video On Demand or simply go straight to DVD, BluRay, or digital download. I’ve tried to indicate in the reviews where you can check these films out.
As far as how I compiled this list? Well, I simply looked through my reviews over the last year since October 1st, 2016 and worked and reworked the list until I had 31. No real method to my special brand of madness. We’ll be counting down every day until Halloween to my favorite horror film of the year. I’ll also provide a second film suggestion at the end of each post that is worth nothing or missed being on the list by a little bit for those who can’t get enough horror.
So let’s get to it! Chime in after the article and let me know what you think of the film, how on the nose or mind-numbingly wrong I am, and most importantly, come up with your own list…let’s go!
#19 THE GREASY STRANGLER #19
Why is THE GREASY STRANGLER #19? There probably wasn’t a more divisive film released over the last year than THE GREASY STRANGLER. I’m in the camp of getting, digging, yet still being repulsed by it, but I know this is the equivalent of nails on a chalkboard in film form to a lot of folks. Still, there are horrors in this film that I can’t unsee and unfortunately will never forget, and for that, it deserves a spot on this counddown. You can find it here on iTunes and Amazon here!
THE GREASY STRANGLER (2016)
Directed by Jim Hosking
Written by Toby Harvard, Jim Hosking
Starring Michael St. Michaels, Sky Elobar, Elizabeth De Razzo, Gil Gex, Abdoulaye NGom, Holland MacFallister, Sam Dissanayake, Joe David Walters, John Yuan, Matt Yuan, Sal Koussa, Jesse Keen, Carl Solomon, Dana Haas
Find out more about this film on Facebook here
You’re probably going to characterize your life as; what I had going on before watching THE GREASY STRANGLER and how to put my mind back together after watching THE GREASY STRANGLER. I know I am.
There is not an easy way to describe THE GREASY STRANGLER, but I’ll try. The story revolves around a father (Big Ron played by Michael St. Michaels) and son (Big Braden played by Sky Elobar) who live together and work together on a walking disco tour that attracts gullible foreign clientele. On one of these walks, Braden meets Janet (Elizabeth De Razzo) on one of these tours and the two immediately fall for one another, which causes Big Ron to don a layer of grease from head to toe and go out strangling people. Things get complicated after that.
This is not a movie for those who live a conventional, logical life. It’s a film for folks who are willing to take a leap into the insanity pool and try to touch the bottom even though there may not be one. It’s the kind of leap of faith film that you just kind of go with, despite the fact that no one in the film seems to be from this planet and the world they live in certainly isn’t our own. If you have difficulty disconnecting from the reality we all live in, I’m sure you’re going to be one to check out of this film early.
Even if you sit with this film and wallow around in all of its grease, it still will try its damndest to annoy the shit out of you or nauseate you or both. The cast repeats lines over and over. There are long uncomfortable pauses between characters in scenes that should cut to another scene, but instead forces us to uncomfortably sit there with these people you wouldn’t want to share space in on in an elevator. And just in case those qualities don’t repel you, THE GREASY STRANGLER bathes itself in every kind of body fluid and greasy substance you can and can’t imagine. Things are tasted. Things are spat forth. Things are lathered around on all of the nethers and this film shows it all in graphic and gross detail. I winced more than once at this film and even joined in the crowd and cried out “Nooooo!” and I consider myself to have an iron constitution.
All of that said, this is probably the most memorable, most quotable, and most entertaining film I saw recently. I can’t get it out of my head. I can’t stop repeating lines to my friends I saw it with. This is a film that, like it or not, burrows into your brain and nestles its greasy buttocks in and refuses to get out. All of the gratuitous nudity (Big Ron likes to walk around naked to show the world his enormous and misshapen schlong), the cartoonish kills, the uncomfortable family relationship interactions, and just plain goofy bits and pieces are undeniably creative, unique, and hard to forget.
Michael St. Michaels (who most will not remember from THE VIDEO DEAD, I sure didn’t) is the epitome of the creepy old man as Big Ron. Blatantly flaunting his large penis around Janet, he tries his best to be the disco superstar he used to be without much regard for his son’s feelings. Both St. Michaels and Sky Elobar offer up star making performances here and I hope to see their offbeat style and humor again soon. Elizabeth De Razzo is also pretty brave in this film, baring all, despite being not your Hollywood ideal when it comes to body shape. The three of these stars are going to be seen again, I guarantee. They are just too infectious not to.
In the end, THE GREASY STRANGLER manages to be rather sweet within all of its absurdity. Big Ron is obviously lashing out as the Strangler and hitting on Janet because he is frustrated and scared that his son is leaving him with no one to make him greasy meals. It’s a story of a father and son, getting to know one anther at a late stage in their lives after simply functioning for all these years. It’s a tale of love…and grease. So despite all of the disgusting things going on, those who look through their fingers and choke down their own lunch will find some redeeming and even heart-warming qualities about it.
You’re going to want to have repeated trips to the car wash sans car after watching THE GREASY STRANGLER. It’s an unforgettable movie experience that feels like a flash forward sequel of NAPOLEON DYNAMITE at times and embraces its absurdity much like Quentin Bupieux’s RUBBER did. THE GREASY STRANGLER is the film equivalent of an inappropriately tight and uncomfortably long low hug and I love every second of this film for that very reason.
WARNING: This trailer is not safe for anyone to view anywhere at any time! You’ve been warned!
Worth noting: BAG BOY LOVER BOY!
Another plunge into oddity is the twisted comment on art and society called BAG BOY LOVER BOY which was released this year wide. This one, like THE GREASY STRANGLER tries desperately to disgust the viewer, but is surprisingly more thematically dense in terms of being a substantial moralistic and cautionary tale. You can find it here on iTunes and Amazon here!
Available on BluRay from Severin Films!
BAG BOY LOVER BOY (2014)
Directed by Andres Torres
Written by Toni Comas, Andres Torres
Starring Jon Wachter, Theodore Bouloukos, Kathy Biehl, Karah Serine, Adrienne Gori, Tina Tanzer, Marseille Morillo, Teena Byrd, Sarah O’Sullivan, Saoko Okano, James Elwood, Norman Outlaw, Peter Trojgaard, Ryan Preimesberger, Amanda Charles, Carlos Garcia, Richard Meiman, Danielle Joy, Helene Eidsvåg, G. Paul Salvetti
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
This week in the theater of the odd is BAG BOY LOVER BOY by director Andres Torres and his co-writer Toni Comas. Reminiscent of films like A BUCKET OF BLOOD with a heaping dose of Hennenlotter’s authentic New York Groove and sleaze cocktail seen in films like BRAIN DAMAGE, BASKET CASE, and FRANKENHOOKER, BAG BOY LOVER BOY is an unflinching, sordid, and filthy little tale of depravity and misguided ambition.
A weird hotdog vendor named Albert (Jon Wachter) is noticed by a New York photographer named Ivan (Theodore Bouloukos) who asks Albert to come to his studio and pose for him. After a surreal shoot with a half-nude model that ends with a simulated murder by trash bag asphyxiation, the naïve Albert decides that this life is much better than anything he has going for him at the moment and wants to become a photographer with only his depraved experience with Albert to act as a template. Wanting to impress a young gal named Lexy (Adrienne Gori) who frequents his hotdog stand, Albert sets out to become a photographer and with Ivan called overseas for a shoot in Milan, this opens up the opportunity for Albert to lure drunk and homeless women into the studio for him to photograph and kill for the sake of art and his muse Lexy. What could possibly go wrong?
A lot actually, and it’s absolutely fascinating and nauseating all at once to watch. This is a super fast rise to stardom then crash and burn story about the dangers of aspiration and power going to one’s head. Seeing Albert being treated lower than dirt is an uncomfortable experience and at the beginning you are rooting for him to succeed. But this film tells the tale of how that fame and power given to the wrong person can turn into a horrible and ugly thing. Things don’t work out well for anyone in this film and it’s kind of fun to watch in a cathartic/I’m glad that’s not me sort of way. Filmmaker Andres Torres captures the seediness of the streets of New York in a way that only filmmakers Abel Farrera and Frank Hennenlotter have been able to do in their films. It’s sweaty and stinky, rat infested and perverted, and filled with all sorts of lowlifes. This is not a pretty New York, but it’s one of the more realistic versions of the city I’ve seen recently.
Jon Wachter is a true find as Albert, the monotone hotdog vendor turned wannabe artist and murderer. Sounding almost exactly like Peter Sellers playing Dr. Strangelove in DR. STRANGELOVE, Wachter truly is an interesting human specimen that most likely will show up in other genre roles once discovered. His day to day scenes of monotony are pretty brilliant be he staring at a wall, frying burgers made of human flesh, or masturbating in his stand to porn mags. There is a dream sequence of Albert dancing to techno that can’t be unseen and his blank slate demeanor is truly unique offering up powerful waves of both disgust and sympathy all at once. Wachter carries the entire film on his sloped shoulders and does so with ease.
This film would make for a great double feature opener with THE GREASY STRANGLER as it functions on its own twisted state of reality, but under all of that weirdness is an ugly truth about society and the art world. BAG BOY LOVER BOY is not going to be for everyone. It’s the kind of grungy film that really gets under your fingernails and you need multiple washings to get out. But it is effective in the message it sends and offers up an unfiltered look at the horrors of society that most fear to accept exist.
THE COUNTDOWN SO FAR…
#31 – THE DEMOLISHER
#30 – PLANK FACE
#29 – LAST GIRL STANDING
#28 – DEVIL IN THE DARK
#27 – HELL HOUSE LLC
#26 – XX
#25 – THE SUBLET aka THE RESIDENT
#24 – PATCHWORK
#23 – Morgan Spurlock’s RATS
#22 – SPLIT
#21 – ANNABELLE 2: CREATION
#20– I AM THE PRETTY THING THAT LIVES IN THE HOUSE
#19 – THE GREASY STRANGLER
Best of lists from previous years;
2015-16 #1 – THE VVITCH
2014-15 #1 – THE CANAL
2013-14 #1 – PROXY
2012-13 #1 – MANIAC
2012 #1 – THE WOMAN
2011 #1 – THE LAST CIRCUS
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of MLMILLERWRITES.COM. Follow Mark on the Twitters @Mark_L_Miller.
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