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Thursday, February 23, 2012

FATHER'S DAY -- movie review by porfle

I didn't know quite what to expect when I started watching FATHER'S DAY (2011), a condition which persisted throughout the entire movie.  Just when you think you've pretty much figured out what it is you're watching, it turns into something a whole lot weirder and several times nuttier.

Written, directed, and starred in by a group of Winnipeg filmmakers who call themselves Astron-6, it's an unashamedly stupid, gore-drenched grab bag of tongue-in-cheek tough-guy action-horror-comedy antics done in the fake-grindhouse style of PLANET TERROR, but with real grindhouse production values and attitude. 

Most nostalgic of all for me, it's presented as though home-taped sometime during the 80s off a late-night cable station called ASTR-TV, complete with promo bumpers, smarmy announcer, and a mid-movie faux trailer for something really, really cheesy called STAR RAIDERS.

The story begins in semi-sane fashion with corpulent "Father's Day Killer" Chris Fuchman (Mackenzie Murdock) raping and butchering dads, including that of gay street hustler Twink (Conor Sweeney).  This repellent character also killed the father of young Ahab and cut out his right eye in the bargain. 

Now grown up, Ahab (Adam Brooks) is a growly-voiced, eye-patched "Snake Plissken" type out for revenge along with his stripper sister Chelsea (Amy Groening), the addlebrained Twink, and a jittery young priest named Father John (Matthew Kennedy) whose blind, aging mentor also met a horrific Fuchman-related fate. 

What follows makes ARMY OF DARKNESS look like a Doris Day/Rock Hudson comedy as this simple revenge flick gets progressively more absurd.  Characters obsess "Monty Python"-style over simple figures of speech, as when Ahab tells Father John that it's time to harvest his maple syrup before it turns bitter and Father John wrongly interprets this as a metaphor for Ahab and his sister Chelsea, after which a confused Ahab spends five minutes trying to figure out why Father John just compared him to a tree.

Twink, meanwhile, begins the film as a deceptively serious character grieving over his dead dad (Billy Sadoo's acting while being murdered by Fuchman is strikingly realistic), making his descent into extreme goofiness even more pronounced.  Elsewhere, Father John's odyssey takes him from a meltdown in the pulpit worthy of Richard Burton on laughing gas (in a scene which may have been inspired by the opening to NIGHT OF THE IGUANA) to a hostage situation in Heaven with the desperate priest holding God (Troma head honcho Lloyd Kaufman) at gunpoint. 

While all this is going on, Fuchman continues his reign of terror complete with a cornucopia of wet 'n' wild gore effects including entrails, exploding heads, and one shocking moment that gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "eat me."  None of this, however, is quite as disturbing as the image of a full-on naked Mackenzie Murdock displaying his eye-watering genitalia and humping everyone in sight. 

Just when you think our heroes have defeated the bad guy and made everything right with the world again, FATHER'S DAY pulls out all the stops and goes totally off the deep end with Ahab, Twink, and Father John descending into Hell to rescue Chelsea, who's been kidnapped by Fuchman to be the bearer of his evil seed or whatever. 

While this may sound pretty horrible, it's all basically just an excuse to ramp up the bizarre off-the-wall comedy to even greater heights (or should I say depths) of calculated idiocy.  Along with even more squishy gore effects, of course.  Oh yeah, and I almost forgot to mention the extreme incest sequence and the buxom, chainsaw-wielding stripper played by my future wife, Zsuzsi. 

As nastily nostalgic as the more expensive, star-studded PLANET TERROR and packed with more grindhouse-verite' style than HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN, the gleefully horrendous FATHER'S DAY will be a riotous romp for some, a nauseating nightmare for others.  You probably know which camp you're in by now. 

Our coverage of the film's premiere

Official website

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