Father's Day (2011)
By: Stuart Giesel August 28, 2012 | Comments
Troma | Region Free | 1.78:1, 1080p | English DD 2.0 | 99 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Directors: Adam Brooks, Jeremy Gillespie, Matt Kennedy, Steven Kostanski, Conor Sweeney
Starring: Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy, Conor Sweeney, Amy Groening, Garrett Hnatiuk
Screenplay: Adam Brooks, Jeremy Gillespie, Matt Kennedy, Steven Kostanski
Country: USA
External Links
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It's gleefully sick, outrageously offensive, gory, repugnant, stupid and entertaining. It has to be Troma!

Granted, for every Troma release that's a Poultrygeist or a Terror Firmer, there's a Surf Nazis Must Die or Toxic Avenger Part II. Father's Day falls on the good side of their catalogue, but it's not quite the surefire winner I was expecting. Still, if you're in the mood for some exploitative sleaze and copious servings of gore, you could do a lot worse.

The plot of Father's Day is straightforward enough: Ahab (Adam Brooks), a one-eyed vigilante, sets out after ten years incarceration to kill his father's murderer, Chris Fuchman (played by Mackenzie Murdoch, done up like a fatter version of Rainn Wilson). Fuchman is also known as the "Father's Day killer", and is notorious for buggering and butchering fathers on Father's Day. Yes, you read that right, he buggers the fathers before dispatching them in gruesomely messy ways, often involving mutilation, disembowelment and cannibalism. Ahab teams up with a priest, Father John Sullivan (Matthew Kennedy), and a street-bound male prostitute named Twink (Conor Sweeney) to bring Fuchman down, but things get complicated when Ahab's sister Chelsea (Amy Groening) is kidnapped by Fuchman, and Sullivan discovers an age-old curse that will take them straight to Hell, literally.

Clearly Father's Day is a loving homage to the grindhouse films of yore, much like Hobo with a Shotgun, Planet Terror, Death Proof and Machete were. Unlike those other films, however, Father's Day is much more deliberately tongue-in-cheek, sometimes to its detriment. It has the similar scratchy, grainy post-production video tinkering that Robert Rodriguez applied to Planet Terror - most scenes have either had digital scratches, blurs or artifacts added to them, and there are some scenes that are overlit or overexposed, and colours are greatly exaggerated like in Hobo. The look and feel certainly puts you in the mood, and the disconcerting camera angles, extreme close-ups and out-of-focus shots help with that low budget feel. There is even a fake movie trailer in the middle of the movie (a badly VHS-tracked trailer for Star Raiders, starring "Captain Blake Starr", "Bric-a-Brac" and "Woman" - please tell me Astron-6 will be making a feature-length film out of this one!) and a fake Astron-6 channel setup at the beginning, as if we're watching Father's Day as part of a lineup with other exploitative fare. Both the fake trailer and the fake TV station are extremely well done.

So when Father's Day works - and much of it does - it's a winner. It's gloriously sick and depraved, with an expanse of gore (crushed skulls, decapitations, a chainsaw to the face, disembowelments, an eye slashing, genital mutilation, and more!), sex, nudity (both male and female) and sleaze (incest, anyone?). The no-holds-barred nature of the material and the often excellent gore effects, coupled with the fake grindhouse stock footage feel, make Father's Day look considerably better than its reported $10,000 budget. The synth-heavy score is eerily evocative of 80's era cheapies, and is wonderfully done. The actors mostly play it straight, even when the script goes into uncharted areas of silliness (there's a brief training montage that's a particular standout). A special mention must go to to Matthew Kennedy as the priest for providing many of the laughs, though Adam Brooks as Ahab delivers some hilarious lines completely deadpan.

If Father's Day does fall down, it's when it gets too ridiculous. Its first half is played fairly straight, though with some nods and winks to the audience, and it all works well. It's when it ventures into completely over-the-top territory with a possession subplot and a diversion into Heaven that it lost me. Maybe I was expecting a straightforward grindhouse-style slasher with some silly humour, but when Father's Day takes the characters into Hell some of that sleaze and atmosphere gets lost along the way. Still, Father's Day ends with a brilliantly conceived finale that you have to see to believe - it feels at home in something like the black humour of the British comedy series The League of Gentleman than in anything from Troma.

Like most of Troma's productions, this is pretty offensive stuff, so obviously if you found The Toxic Avenger too much to handle then it'd be best to steer clear of this one. The writing/directing fivesome who call themselves Astron-6 have done a tremendous job with what was presumably a limited budget and material.
Video
It's difficult to rate the video of Father's Day given that most of it has been post-processed to look as crummy as possible, in typical grindhouse fashion. I suppose if nothing else the Blu-Ray transfer picks up every scratch, every blemish, every imperfection in the source material as the makers intended. Detail is strong and colours are suitably garish (the blood is redder than red).
Audio
I figure the audio, like the video, has been "crappened" (I know that's not a word) to reflect late-70's/early-80's exploitation films. It sounds like a cheap mono mix, so mission accomplished if that was what Astron-6 intended. The terrific score blasts through in ear-clapping awfulness, and sound effects are suitably grisly and impactful when called for. Some of the dialogue is a bit hard to pick out, but that might have been intentional. Still, you have to wonder why the Blu-Ray only contains a 2.0 mix rather than a 5.1 track, or why both weren't included.
Extra Features
Troma is renowned for their extras-packed discs, and Father's Day is no exception. Unfortunately the typically excellent Troma making-of feature is absent. The US Blu-Ray release comes with four discs.

Disc 1: Father's Day on Blu-Ray. There's also the theatrical trailer for the movie.

Disc 2: Father's Day on DVD. The trailer's also on this disc, along with the deleted scenes that also appear on Disc 3.

Disc 3: The features DVD, containing the following:

Lloyd Kaufman introduction at Comic-Con - an intro from Troma founder Kaufman, who explains why the Father's Day making-of feature is not present on the Blu-Ray/DVD release.

Deleted scenes - short scenes cut from the film, nothing to write home about.

Original Father's Day Foreskin and Original Father's Day Extended Foreskin - two original trailers for Father's Day, with some different footage and alternate takes not seen in the final cut. The weird Animated Foreskin is another trailer with animated footage interspersed throughout, and TV Foreskin provides another trailer fashioned as a made-for-TV preview, complete with "we can't show you this on TV" warnings.

Behind the Scenes Slideshow is a series of making-of shots set to music.

Make your own Damn Fuchman - a makeup featurette with Chris Fuchman himself, Mackenzie Murdoch.

Make your own Damn Tire Iron - a featurette about the making of a fake tire iron. Not especially interesting.

Roll out the Blood Carpet: "Father's Day" Premiere Nights - footage from Father's Day premieres.

Troma & Astron-6 Charm Festival of Fear - Q&A session with Astron-6 members.

Create your own Damn Award Winning Movie Poster The Dude Designs Way - a fake documentary about the creation of the Father's Day poster; vaguely amusing but hardly essential.

Super Tromette Elena Recreates the Low Life - a bunch of nude shots.

"Father's Day" Article at Rue Morgue Magazine - shots from a Rue Morgue piece on Father's Day.

Babies the Fathers Gave Birth to Before Birthing "Father's Day" - amusing short films by Astron-6; "Lazer Ghosts 2 Return to Laser Cove" and "Cool Guys", both are decent riffs on the genres they spoof. Personally I'd like to see a double-billing of Star Raiders and Lazer Ghosts 2 at a drive-in some day.

Patricide Honor Roll - trailers for other Troma releases.

Make your own Damn Green Screen - Lloyd Kaufman shows how you can make a green screen for your own production.

How the Director Sells his own Damn Movie - James Gunn, director of Slither and Super, talks with Lloyd Kaufman about how the director has a part to play in promoting his or her film.

Radiation March - a weird dance routine that looks like it was made at the same time as The Toxic Avenger.

Interview with South Park's Matt Stone - Lloyd Kaufman interviews Matt Stone. Stone talks about his relationship with Trey Parker, his time at Troma and the peculiarities of the film industry. An informative and entertaining interview.

Disc 4: An audio CD of the film's soundtrack.

Bear in mind that Troma have released Father's Day in a limited run of 5,000 prints, so fans may want to pick up a copy quickly before they disappear.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Father's Day is exquisitely grotesque creation that is occasionally too bonkers for its own good, however Astron-6 and Troma have still created a better grindhouse homage than Rodriguez or Tarantino ever could. It's gleefully gory and sickening, whilst at the same time adept at taking the piss out of the genre it so clearly loves. The lack of a making-of is a detriment, particularly compared with other Troma releases, but the Blu-Ray is still a great purchase for fans of schlock.

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