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Not Rated
Copyright 1972 Greaser's Palace Ltd.
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 17 February 2001

The Characters:  

  • Jessy - Christ wearing a zoot suit. You don't believe me? Keep reading heretic; it just gets less coherent.
  • The Father - The lead part of the Trinity, he enjoys lazy afternoons shooting hapless women with his air rifle. As in pantomiming holding a rifle and firing, he doesn't shoot people with a real BB gun. Honestly, why would you think that? God walking around shooting people with a BB gun. Ludicrous!
  • The Holy Ghost - Bet you didn't know he wears a sheet (with holes cut out for the eyes and mouth) and black derby. Displays an attitude about his lot in theology and why not? Everybody understands the Father and the Son, but the Spirit gets little press.
  • Lamy Homo - He could be Greaser's illegitimate son. Keeps getting killed, but Jessy brings the little guy back to life every time. His description of the afterlife has me rather worried.
  • Cholera - Daughter to the evil Mr. Greaser and main attraction at the Palace. She might represent the Church of England. Maybe. I think. Regardless of that artsy stuff, she is capable of having multiple orgasms with all her clothes on.
  • The Pioneer Woman - When God first kills your family and then is continuously shooting you, life looks bleak. Bottom line is that she is wandering around the desert while God tortures her for no obvious reason. Guess whom she represents?
  • A French Padre, a Male Nun, the Agent Morris, Vernon, the Man Who Couldn't Crawl, and others - Man, this movie is weird.
  • Seaweedhead Greaser - Constipated owner of the theater/saloon who represents the Catholic Church. (I'm going to try and explain all this in the plot section, but you will soon understand why I'm doomed to failure.)

Buy It!

The Plot: 

I am about to embark on the most pointless exercise known to man and I'm not talking about teaching a pig to fly. (Which actually works with a mildly sedated porker and a small trebuchet.) I'm going to try and explain "Greaser's Palace" to a group of people who probably have not seen the movie. Heck, even if you have seen the movie it's pointless.

You are probably thinking to yourself, "It couldn't be that outlandish. Could it?" Go and look up "naive" in the dictionary. Now.

The entire movie is an anecdotal allegory for religion, Christianity to be precise. If you want to start splitting hairs, I think Catholicism is the basis for everything that comes to pass. Greaser's Palace is a huge saloon in some tumbleweed town out west; we can identify it as being "a church" since people come running to watch the show whenever bells begin ringing. Seaweedhead Greaser is the Catholic Church as represented by a gunslinger with itchy trigger fingers. Why in the world does he have a mariachi band and his mother locked in wooden cages? The musicians are easy to explain; they provide entertainment while Greaser tries to have bowel movements (which he is unable to do). Did I mention the outhouse is on the second or third story, located at one corner? How about everyone watching anxiously, some even leaning over the railings, for signs of success?

Right from the start it is evident that Greaser hates Lamy Homo (pronounced as "lay me homo"). He shoots, stabs, and even dumps the little guy down a well. The Church's efforts to eradicate his homo problem are to no avail; Jessy keeps bringing the reluctant Lazarus back. Lamy consistently recites the same story upon his return from the other side and it's a trip. Readers old enough to remember when Puff relaxed immigration laws and all those runny noses invaded Honah-Lee (Honalee? Hon-a-lee? Who knows?) might identify with me. It's that weird.

Any movie about Western religion would be incomplete without Martin Luther; so where is he? He is the man trying to perform a card trick for Seaweedhead. Check it out, the would-be magician does the old "pick a card, any card" bit. He then holds up card after card, inquiring "This one? How about this one? That one?" Poor Martin Luther, trying in vain to decide which interpretation is correct. History says the man finally gave up and just wrote something to the effect of "Figure it out for yourself!" Then he went to get a hammer and nails, but I'm getting sidetracked.

Still with me?

Native Americans are evident through the film, though never really explored. They are just sort of there, like a whole generation looking for enlightenment in the guise of natural healing, drugs, and free love. No idea what they could represent though; I'm just not that clever. Anyway, you will see them engaged in normally cryptic behavior; self-flagellation with a boot for example.

Dressing sharp and resurrecting the dead are only two of Jessy's routines. He spends most of the movie with a small group following his every move and a memorable scene performing at Greaser's Palace. Singing and dancing doesn't seem to capture the hearts and minds of the townspeople, but when the blood starts flowing from his lacerated palms they go wild with adulation. That's right, Christ exhibiting stigmata. What in the heck? There is no way Christ can display a religious miracle based upon himself, maybe we can attribute it to foreshadowing.

The prodigal son has other tricks up his sleeve though. He can cure people of their ills, even without a telethon going on. When one dirty miner falls to the ground after discarding his crutches you think the miracle might have failed. Wrong! Don't try to anticipate this movie. Ever. The afflicted man begins to cry joyfully, "I can crawl again!" Hehehe! There is a whole scene of him slowly creeping across the floor as Greaser laughs hysterically.

Now, every single conclusion I have drawn is easily the subject of debate. Truth be told, if you came up with your own ideas about whom Cholera represents there is only one way to settle the dispute - trial by combat: two people hacking at each other with broadswords, with the winner (he who is still alive) getting to determine the truth. Don't get all huffy, go and read your history books. Who wrote those? A twitching pile of limbs and entrails or the victor? Case closed, I'm going to sharpen my sword.

However, if anyone has an explanation of how a rhinestone cowboy fits into Christianity, I'm all ears. Wait a minute. He represents the pageantry of the Church, all the shiny things intended to keep our minds occupied instead of a substantial representation of divinity. Now the question is: what place does Hervé Villechaize, living with a bearded hermaphrodite, have in Christianity?

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • When someone starts speaking in tongues it is because the Holy Ghost ground out a lit cigar on their chest.
  • Jesus has a parachute license.
  • Heaven is full of naked babies and rainbows.
  • Oral sex puts women to sleep.
  • The Church made a good choice in dictating only women could be nuns.
  • Christ can walk on water better than anyone else, but his floor routine needs work.
  • Everybody appreciates a naked woman on horseback.
  • Homosexuals cannot stand mariachi music.
  • Jesus is also a licensed chiropractor.
  • If you are going to end the movie with a sunset then please use time elapse photography.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 3 mins - One has to wonder if a song about the virtues of virginity is lost on this crowd.
  • 7 mins - Tithing?
  • 9 mins - I don't think that singing to the IRS would be a good idea either.
  • 15 mins - Somebody was nice and saved him from all that drug abuse...
  • 23 mins - The Church screwing over Native Americans? I dunno, but that is seriously disturbing.
  • 31 mins - How much do you want to bet she has thirty pieces of silverware? (You'll get it later - heathen.)
  • 43 mins - The horse shot her! Orwell was right!
  • 49 mins - You know what would spruce this place up? A... ...nope, on second thought, I'll stop. If I say it I'm certainly going to Hell. One hint: what do you usually see gracing the wall there?
  • 51 mins - "The Messiah! The Messiah!" Hehehehe!
  • 83 mins - A public service announcement from your local utilities company...

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note greasers1.wav Jessy: "I'm on my way to Jerusalem to be an actor/singer. It is written that the agent Morris awaits me."
Green Music Note greasers2.wav Lamy: "Dad, I was swimming in a rainbow with millions of babies... ...and they was naked... ...and then all of the sudden I turned into a perfect smile!"
Some Old Coot: "Put a rope around the son of a b*tch!"
Green Music Note greasers3.wav Afflicted Man: "I can crawl again!"
Green Music Note greasers4.wav Cholera: "A man with holes in his hands gets a bigger applause than me, and you talk of greatness?"
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipgreasers1.mpg - 1.7m
It is really difficult to appreciate this movie in the space of only twenty seconds. Just remember that the distinguished gentleman is Seaweedhead (aka: the Church) and this apparently represents what goes on in a confessional.

Go watch the movie. If you're going to be confused, you might as well be confused with the big picture.

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Comments:Write CommentPages: [1] 2 3 4
Greasers Palace
Reply #1. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Randall Frost
When I came across your review of "Greaser's Palace," I had to pull over and leave a comment. First and fore, most people have never heard of the movie, and you have to go to old-school, hole-in-the-wall video stores to find it.

If you're ever in Duluth, Minnesota, you have to check out "8th Street Video on 9th Street." Okay, so it's pretty much a house carved open and packed with video shelves, but they have everything ever committed to tape. The owner will actually size you up and saddle you with a movie of his choosing: "Here. You need to watch this." Weird? Sure. But never dull. "Greaser's Palace" was one of the videos he insisted I watch, and I loved every bizarre bit of it! MASH fans will recognize Alan Arbus ("Jessy") as psychiatrist Sidney Freedman. Kudos for and trying (and doing a good job) to explain this film to the B-Movie nation!
Greasers Palace
Reply #2. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Michelle
I just got this movie from netflix.  Hysterical review of an hysterical movie, however you left out the fact that most of the few lines of dialogue spoken in this movie are gross discriptions of sex acts.  Pretty weird, you know, for a movie about religion.  Anyway I kind of disagree (I can't totally disagree because who knows?) about Greaser representing the Catholic Church.  I thought this was more a psychological representation of the coming of Christ.  And speaking of the coming of Christ wasn't Cholera the devil because she "tempted" Him in the desert?  Save your flower...  
Greasers Palace
Reply #3. Posted on February 17, 2001, 07:23:21 PM by BoyScoutKevin
Another one to add to my must see list. Especially if it as unintentionally funny as the plot synopsis is intentionally funny. I have not laughed so hard in years.
Greasers Palace
Reply #4. Posted on February 18, 2001, 02:13:34 AM by Phantom 187
Where do you come up with this !@#$?
Greasers Palace
Reply #5. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by DJ MEAN
Well, I did not think it was possible, but I have witnessed an even stranger role for Herve Villachez than that of his role as King Fausto in "The Forbidden Zone".  Greasers Palace is a must see.
Greasers Palace
Reply #6. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Kurt
As Andrew pointed out, this doesn't even begin to cover the nuttiness of the whole thing.  Like the fact that the outhouse on the third floor has a chute out the bottom, and every time the old man goes in it people stand under the chute staring up expectantly in what is obviously the "splash zone."

The first picture in the gallery, by the way, is the scene I would have been choosing as a video clip.  The cowboy is visiting Mrs. Palmer and her five daughters while fondling a wooden Indian.  He eventually gets so into the act that he falls backwards over the wall (never slowing down).  Sick stuff.

Greasers Palace
Reply #7. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Michael the law student
Kurt tends towards understatement, the cowboy is not fondling the statue, the cowboy is not gently caressing the statue. The BRUTALIZING the statue. It was undoubtedly the single most disturbing thing ever committed to celluloid (worse even than the famed "call the police" episode of Ren and Stimpy)

It should also be noted that the nekkid, horse riding indian (hailed by Andrew during BFest as the saving grace of the film) is none other than Toni "Oh Mickey, you're so fine you're so fine you blow my mind" Basil

Greasers Palace
Reply #8. Posted on February 21, 2001, 04:38:05 PM by James Henson
After reviewing the sample mpg, I have got to watch this film. This has to be one of the most bizarre and must see films I have ever heard about. Right up there with Plan Nine from Outer Space!
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