FATHER’S DAY (2011) – The Dungeon Review!
I was making an effort this year to see some horror films from the past decade if it killed me. I thought I would kick off my viewing with a horror-comedy from a Canadian production/directing outfit Astron-6. The film was produced and distributed by Troma and even features a cameo appearance from Lloyd Kaufman who plays both God and Satan. Good fucking news! My first newish horror film in ages was a shitload of fun! All hail the Fuckmanus!
In the pre-credit prologue we get a glimpse of the father’s day killer. He has just killed a dad. We know this because they show us a DAD mug. He is noshing on the dead dad as Ahab makes his way up to the room. We know his name is Ahab because his license plate says AHAB*666. Ahab chases the killer down and wishes him a happy father’s day before he shoots him in the head.
A really nifty animated credit sequence follows.
We meet Twink who is being questioned at the police station about his father’s death. There has been a rash of fathers raped and killed. Father John Sullivan is waiting for Twink to offer him solace but Twink isn’t having any of it.
“Stay the fuck away from me Jesus freak.”
Father Sullivan visits Father O’Flynn and relays Twinks cold reception. O’Flynn tells Sullivan about “The Fuckman”.
“Many fathers were killed at that time. Not one was safe from the beast. Then one day he found Ahab’s father. I raised that boy as I would raise me own. He tried to kill The Fuckman. You must find this man Ahab”
Sullivan makes the long journey to Ahab’s remote home where he taps trees for maple syrup.
“Sorry, I’m tapping this maple tree.”
“It’s not a maple tree.”
Ahab is initially unreceptive but eventually agrees to meet with Father O’Flynn.
Ahab seeks out the last crime scene and runs into Detective Stegel. The two men have a history on account of Ahab’s vigilante past. There is no love lost between Stegel and Ahab. Stegel threatens to take Ahab and his little sister down if they interfere.
Ahab goes to see his little sister Chelsea who he has not seen since she was a child. Chelsea is working as a stripper in a bar run by Ahab’s former lover Sleazy Mary.
Ahab walks into the club’s dressing room to find this angry stripper with a chainsaw.
“How’d you get in here?” -Stripper
“Your doorman took a break.” -Ahab
“My god Artie, you got shot again?” -Stripper
Little sister Chelsea is understandably bitter about having to grow up in a nun-run orphanage. She tells Ahab to fuck off.
Twink and Walnut meet up with Chelsea. Twink is pretty choked up about his father and Chelsea invites him to stay with her. Suddenly the power goes out and Fuckman is in Chelsea’s apartment. Chelsea shoots the hell out of him but not before he rips out walnuts throat with his teeth. Ahab shows up too late. They need to take this Fuckman bastard down! But first they have to deal with Detective Stegel who is knocking on Chelsea’s door.
Twink and Ahab leave out the front door incognito as two of Chelsea’s girlfriends and head to the grave of Ahab’s father. They dig up the grave of Ahab’s father which is actually a coffin full of weapons.
“All hail Fuckmanus!”
Father Sullivan finds Father O’Flynn’s head in a box.
Father Sullivan joins Twink and Ahab on their mission to kill Fuckman.
They go to the strip club to retrieve Chelsea but Fuckman has been there and has laid waste to the staff. Chelsea is nowhere to be found.
Some shit happens and Ahab is badly injured. They are forced to lay low for the night. The hungry Twink and Father Sullivan finds some berries in Ahab’s pocket which they eat. The berries make them trip balls.
Ahab is just fine and dandy in the morning and the trio head out to find Fuckman and Chelsea.
“Did you guys see that?!” Things take a weird and supernatural turn at this point.
The film is presented as a television late show complete with Commercials. I wasn’t sure how I felt about this detail on my first viewing of the film. On a second watch however I thought it suited the campy comic book feel of the film. Also, the commercial is pretty damn entertaining.
Father Sullivan finds the ancient tome “The Fuchmanus”.
Hold on. Why is Ahab fucking his sister Chelsea? You are going to have to see the film to find out!
“I own upstairs and downstairs. You give the illusion of competition and it raises morale. Kinda like the movie business.” – Lloyd Kaufman as God and Satan.
They all end up in hell and have to fight a giant demon! I really could have lived without the Princess Leia and Jabba the Hutt Shtick. I thought this sequence was fabulous but I am so freaking sick of Star Wars references (and by the way I know Jabba the damn Hutt is from The bloody Empire Strikes Back and not Star Wars).
Father’s Day would have been a lot of fun to see at a festival with like-minded folks. It is campy, comical and its story and characters are outrageous. Creating visuals for your film that make it look like it was a seventies or eighties production seems to be a popular trend from the last few years. A trend that seems to have been inspired by Tarantino and Rodriguez’s Grindhouse. I’ve read a few negative opinions on the subject but I actually dig it. Granted it isn’t always done very well but when it is I enjoy it lots. Two of my favourite films from the past decade fall under that umbrella; Jason Eisener’s Hobo with a Shotgun (2011) and Scott Sanders’ Black Dynamite (2009). Father’s Day is made to look aged and doesn’t do too bad of a job of it but where it really succeeds is in the effects department. The giant demon in the film’s finale is super neato and there is plenty of gore. There is a delightful head-stomping, baby-stomping, a throat-ripping, explosive shot to the gut, blood/entrail vomiting and a few really nasty looking dead folks. Not all the humour made me laugh but there was more than enough that did; some great prop comedy and enjoyable performances too. I always enjoy religious folks doing sacrilicious stuff and the film’s two Father’s use the work fuck more often than Joe Pesci (okay, not more often than Joe Pesci but lots). Three of the film’s directors play central characters; Adam Brooks is Ahab, Matthew Kennedy is Father John Sullivan and Conor Sweeney is Twink. Twink was definitely my favourite character and would have been at home in any Troma film. I dug his Loverboy headband! Clearly the Astron-6 team are fans of low-budget eighties horror and Father’s Day fits the Troma label like a glove. I really look forward to checking out Astron-6’s Manborg now! For those of you who like corny, campy, gory fun you might enjoy Father’s Day as much as I did. Highly recommended!
Dungeon Rating: 4/5
Directed By: Astron-6 (Adam Brooks, Jeremy Gillespie, Matthew Kennedy, Steven Kostanski, Conor Sweeney)
Starring: Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy, Conor Sweeney, Amy Groening, Garrett Hnatiuk, Brent Neale, Kevin Anderson, Meredith Sweeney, Zsuzsi, Lloyd Kaufman, Mackenzie Murdock, Billy Sadoo, Falcon Van Der Baek, Kyle Young, Murray Davidson