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Rick McGrath [Film Festival 10.23.11] movie review horror

Year: 2010
Directors: Adam Brooks, Jeremy Gillespie
Writers: Adam Brooks, Jeremy Gillespie
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: Rick McGrath
Rating: 8 out of 10

I wonder how many times you’d have to watch Father’s Day before you could say with certainty you knew exactly what the plot was about. Fortunately, it’s probably immaterial. No, sorry: completely immaterial.

It’s only been 12 hours since Father’s Day carpet-bombed my brain, and already the experience has been reduced to myriad instances of abject hilarity and eye-averting grossness, spiced with liberal dashes of sex (straight, homosexual and incestual), nudity (male and female), and hat-tips to movies such as Star Wars and the Wizard of Oz. Really, I doubt if you’ll ever see anything quite like this again.

Given the enthusiastic audience response following its World Premiere at the Toronto After Dark film fest, it’s easy to predict that Father’s Day must certainly become a cult classic of the goofy/gory genre. It pretty well exceeds at both. Cleverly. And what also makes this film unique is its genesis: it was created by a collective, rather than the usual auteur offerings where one vision controls script, direction and editing. Yes, another crazy Canadian effort here, folks, as the Winnipeg filmmaking collective known as Astron-6 (Adam Brooks, Jeremy Gillespie, Matthew Kennedy, Steven Kostanski and Conor Sweeney) co-wrote and co-directed this wildly outrageous shocker of a comedy that’ll kill ya… after you bend over.

The plot is basic: a homosexual psychopath named Chis Fuchman (lurchingly played by Mackenzie Murdock) likes to sexually defile, kill and then eat Dads. Those out to stop him include Ahab, a well-armed, one-eyed vigilante (played to perfection by Adam Brooks), Twink, a gay street prostitute (nailed by cutie Conor Sweeney), Father John Sullivan (hilariously rendered by Matthew Kennedy), and the very nubile Chelsea, Ahab’s mostly-naked sister (the delicious Amy Groening). The story takes them everywhere, but nowhere as interesting as in the movie’s denouement, when our heroes chase Fuchman (say it out loud) right into Hell – well, Father John has to arrive via Heaven after threatening God. Must be seen to be believed!

In a nod to the comedy troupe Firesign Theatre, the Astron boys take the delightful step of packaging Father’s Day as an already-made movie being shown on late-night TV. This gives them the opportunity to jump away from the action to show a commercial for another movie, this one called Star Raiders (also hilarious) and generally futz around with the genre even further. The Wizard of Oz connection comes at the end, when evil is overcome with… maple syrup! (We see Ahab early in the movie trying to put a sap tap into a pine tree, so this is all previously predicted). We’re also treated to fun bits like an eyeball being cut open while still in a child’s head, Fuchman actually biting off a victim’s penis, Fuchman taking a knife to split open his own dick, a naked stripper wielding a chainsaw, lots of internal organs being eaten, heavy incestual sex as Ahab bonks Chelsea, a great hallucinogenic scene as the boys eat “toxic” berries, and one of the more imaginative – and funny – endings in grindhouse trash. Yes, it’s derivative and daffy, but it’s also oddly non-ironic, which only adds to the overall sense of being in a place that’s familiar, yet isn’t. Case in point: Ahab (yeah, Fuchman does look a bit like a big white whale) is questioning a dying stripper to find out where his sister was taken. She says she’ll tell him if he gives her a kiss, and then even more black blood bubbles from her mouth… the room is full of mutilated, red nakedness, and he looks at her and says, “Oh, gross”… terrific line deftly delivered by the surprisingly good Adam Brooks… in fact, all the principals do a great job – bonus!

In this instance I think Father’s Day could have only been done by a collective – it feels a bit like one of those stories in which a number of people contribute, one after another, each trying to outdo the prior chapter. It was probably done the hard way, with everyone agreeing on everything, but it’s also a case of film types with five different areas of expertise getting together to pool their talents in one project. The credits list tends to substantiate this thought. Regardless, rather than the result of five egos fighting it’s five jiveass experts doing the corporate thang. No wonder the production values are so incredibly high given what must have been a miniscule budget.

But wait, there’s more! View it in the next 10 minutes and we’ll double your fun with a really, very good soundtrack from the endlessly talented Jeremy Gillespie, who also did the surprisingly excellent digi effects. Co-credit Paul Joyce for music, pro editing by Adam Brooks, and killer visual effects by Steven Kostanski.

Father’s Day. What a weird double meaning that title suggests. Just the start of a neonized trip, a vigilante quest lit with greasy organs, a passle of penii and nubilities of female flesh that operates in a world of flophouses, religious warrens, rustic retreats, strip joints, overlit city streets and, of course, heaven and hell. With a surreal plotline, exceptional acting, a host of hilarious one-liners, and a large, beautiful cast of many many almost naked women this is one highly recommended giggle & gorefest you really shouldn’t miss. Dunno if I’d take Dad along, tho.\

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Colin Picalo (10 years ago) Reply

Best TROMA movie ever.
Apologies to Toxie, but it's true.

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