What is it with Canada’s love affair with the good old exploitation/grindhouse flicks of yesteryear? Don’t get me wrong; I’m not condemning our friends to the North. I think you all know me well enough by now that I absolutely adore the grindhouse genre that sprung up in New York City’s 42nd Street district. Sleazy theaters showing excessively gory, violent films with little plot, lots of nudity, and subject matter that would make Quentin Tarantino himself blush. Last year we saw Jason Eisener’s homage to this sub-genre in the form of HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN. This started off as a trailer he submitted in to a contest being held around the time Rodriguez and Tarantino’s GRINDHOUSE was released. Eisener won, obviously, and this ultimately led to him making a full length feature based on that winning trailer. The boys behind FATHER’S DAY had a similar start. This film started as a faux-trailer which they submitted to Troma Films, and much to their surprise they got word back that Troma was offering them $10,000 to turn the faux-trailer into a feature film. So here we are.
How to describe FATHER’S DAY … wow. The city, and specifically fathers, are being terrorized by serial killer-anal rapist-cannibal, Chris Fuchman (Mackenzie Murdock). Ahab (Adam Brooks), whose father was a victim of this ass-fucking maniac, track Fuchman down and kills him … or so he thinks. But years later it seems Fuchman is back, and more rapey and cannibally than ever. Fuchman rapes and kills a young street hustler, Twink’s (Conor Sweeney), dad. So Twink teams up with Ahab (after tracking him down and enticing him to end his self-imposed banishment and retirement) to track down and find out if indeed Fuchman is back or if a copycat killer has taken his place. To make things even more odd, Twink and Ahab are joined by a priest, Father John Sullivan (Matthew Kennedy). Just so you know, I’m making this sound way more coherent than what’s up on screen. Just like the good old grindhouse films of the 1970’s and 80’s, the plot is just a vehicle and excuse for some excessive violence, mayhem, lots of nudity, and lots of anal rape scenes. Lots.
If you need it spelled out for ya, nothing, and I mean nothing, in FATHER’S DAY is meant to be taken seriously. This plays out like both an homage and a spoof/satire of the grindhouse sub-genre. FATHER’S DAY is written and directed by Astron-6, a collective of five guys who are bat-shit crazy and love making films. Astron-6 is Adam Brooks (who plays Ahab), Jeremy Gillespie, Matthew Kennedy (who plays Father Sullivan), Steven Kostanski, and Conor Sweeney (who plays Twink). The best way to describe the tone of FATHER’S DAY is to appeal to those of you who saw HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN: Eisener wrote HOBO to be an authentic grindhouse flick. The humor found in HOBO was black humor that was an organic part of the story. The way it was done, the viewer felt almost uncomfortable laughing at some of the ‘humor.’ Example; when the guys went on the school bus full of kids with the flamethrower, I was laughing hysterically while my wife and the other few females around me were looking at me as if I were Stalin with a swastika carved in my forehead. FATHER’S DAY, on the other hand, was written more like a traditional Troma film. The entire film is absurd and filled with gross out humor that is kind of poking fun at the entire grindhouse sub-genre. This isn’t a criticism, per se, but if you’re looking for another HOBO-style film you may be disappointed. HOBO had more clever and, yes, sophisticated writing behind it while FATHER’S DAY was approached as more of a comedy set in the grindhouse universe.
FATHER’S DAY goes straight for the juggler but wants to have a frat party beer-kegger as that juggler drains out. Watching this with a room full of horror fans at the Texas Frightmare Weekend 2012 heightened this experience. There are scenes that are straight up ‘laugh out loud’ as well enough graphic dismemberment, anal rape, and cock ripping scenes to leave you wide mouthed and wondering, “Did that just happen?” The acting is good all-around with Adam Brooks’ Ahab and Conor Sweeney’s Twink stealing the show. These two, as well as the entire cast, look like they’re having a blast and that on-screen attitude becomes infectious. FATHER’S DAY is just a really fun, offensive, bat-shit crazy film that you’re either gonna love or hate. The one element that Astron-6 did fail on was the length of the film. Even with only a 99 minute run time, FATHER’S DAY felt like it dragged on about 20-25 minutes too long. Tightening up some of the scenes and re-working the ending that takes place in Hell (yes; in HELL) would’ve made the film flow a little smoother. As it is, FATHER’S DAY over-extends its welcome a bit.
FATHER’S DAY is one of those polarizing films that you’ll either love or hate. If you love films like THE TOXIC AVENGER, CLASS OF NUKE ‘EM HIGH, and TERROR FIRMER, then you’re gonna love FATHER’S DAY. If you’re down with bizarre plots full of gratuitous nudity (titties, ass, and cock), excessive violence, loads of gore, and some genuine laugh out loud moments, then this is the film for you. But love it or hate it, FATHER’S DAY will leave an impression on you (and will leave you with an aching feeling in your loins). Most of all, though, you’ll never be able to look at your father the same way again on Father’s Day!!
Directors: Astron-6 (& writers)
Plot: 3 out of 5 stars
Gore: 8 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Father-Raping Cannibals: 5 out of 5 prostate jabs
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer at the Texas Frightmare Weekend 2012