Monday, September 25, 2017

#2,426. Father's Day (2011)

Directed By: Adam Brooks, Jeremy Gillespie, et al

Starring: Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy, Conor Sweeney

Tag line: "Sons, lock up your fathers... vengeance arrives on... Father's Day!"

Trivia: Initially, this film was banned in both its uncut form and a censored form in Australia

The opening sequence of Father’s Day gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect from the rest of the film. 

In a secluded apartment building, a killer dissects the remains of someone he has just finished off (after using his victim’s head as a masturbation toy, this clearly psychotic murderer gnaws on some exposed intestines). The killer’s “fun” is soon interrupted, however, by another man, armed with a shotgun, who marches down the hallway and breaks through the door. 

But the killer is already gone; having sensed the man's approach, he climbed down the fire escape. Rushing to the window, the armed man spots his prey limping into an alley across the street, and gives chase. 

Moments later, the killer is struck by a speeding car, and the pursuing vigilante (who was driving said vehicle) gets out, aims his rifle at the murderer’s head, and, before shooting, says “Happy Father’s Day”.

And with this bloody bit of mayhem, Father’s Day, a 2011 grindhouse throwback written and directed by a group of Canadian filmmakers known as Astron-6 (aka Adam Brooks, Jeremy Gillespie, Matthew Kennedy, Conor Sweeney, and Steven Kostanski), is off and running.

The shotgun-wielding dude in the opening scene is Ahab (Adam Brooks), who, as a boy, watched a deranged killer known as Fuchman (Mackenzie Murdock) rape and murder his father. It was Fuchman he was after in the above-mentioned sequence, but it wasn't Fuchman at all; the overzealous Ahab had inadvertently shot an innocent man! 

As a result of his mistake, Ahab was arrested by Det. Stegel (Brent Neale) and sentenced to 10 years in prison, during which time Fuchman continued to rape and kill every father he came across.

Over a decade passes, and Fuchman is once again making headlines. His latest victim was the father of a street hustler named Twink (Conor Sweeney), who just so happens to be friends with Ahab’s younger sister Chelsea (Amy Groening). When his attempts to console Twink fail, Catholic priest Father John Sullivan (Matthew Kennedy) is instructed by his mentor, Father O’Flynn (Kevin Anderson), to seek out Ahab and ask for his help in defeating Fuchman once and for all. Though reluctant at first, a now-free Ahab eventually agrees to assist the good father.

Ahab’s first stop is the strip club where his little sister Chelsea works, and he's surprised to learn she is also after Fuchman, and has done extensive research into his crimes in the hopes they’ll shed some light on where the sadistic killer might strike next. 

Despite her insistence that she tag along, Ahab refuses to put Chelsea in harm’s way, and instead enlists the help of Twink and Father Sullivan as he sets out to find and kill Fuchman.

But what the trio doesn’t realize is that Fuchman is not a “man” at all; he’s a demon from hell. And if Ahab and the others do, indeed, destroy him, a more powerful Fuchman will take his place!

Produced by the gang at Troma Films, Father’s Day is sheer, unadulterated, brilliant insanity from the word “go”, a blood-soaked, nudity-laced sleaze-fest with moments so disturbing that I had to occasionally look away (chief among them a scene where Fuchman mutilates his own penis with a carving knife). 

Yet underneath all the gore and debauchery (including incest, male prostitution, and anal rape) lies an intensely funny movie, with several laugh-out-loud moments (some involving the manufacturing of maple syrup). 

In addition to the humor, Father’s Day is very creative; there’s a hallucination sequence (brought on by Ahab’s “Toxic Berries”) that is damn cool, but best of all is the finale, in which the three leads travel to hell to take on the Fuchman demon itself!

Adam Brooks delivers a solid performance as Ahab, who has dedicated his life to destroying the monster known as Fuchman, and Matthew Kennedy is also strong as Father Sullivan, who quickly abandons his goody-two-shoes persona once he’s in the thick of things (he freaks out at one point while delivering a sermon, which ends with him pulling a gun from under the pulpit and running out the front door). Troma’s frontman, Lloyd Kaufman, even has a brief but memorable cameo towards the end of the film, playing what amounts to two different characters.

The real star here, though, is the special effects work of Steven Kostanski (who would eventually lend his talents to such big-budget productions as 2015’s Crimson Peak and 2016’s Suicide Squad). What’s amazing about Kostanski’s effects is that he accomplished them all with next to no money; the estimated budget for the entire movie was a mere $10,000 (with its over-the-top violence and realistic gore, you would think Kostanski had ten times that much at his disposal).

Even without the superior effects, Father’s Day would have been a funny, entertaining schlockfest. With them, however, it’s something quite special. If excessive gore and wildly original storylines are your thing, then check out Father’s Day; trust me, you’ll love it!

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