Father’s Day (2012)

Description (from the DVD box):
Father’s Day follows the classic story we all grew up with: boy watches father raped and murdered, boy grows into a vengeful one-eyed man, man teams up with a priest and a male prostitute to take down his father’s killer.  Ahab is a revenge-crazed deranged psychopath/hero fresh out of prison for slaughtering the ruthless monster who raped and murdered his father. But fathers are still being violated in the behind, dismembered with hacksaws, and set on fire. A teen hustler and a hot young priest search out the reclusive Ahab, determined to finish the job he started years ago and send this degenerate demon back to Hell, literally.

Major Cast:
Adam Brooks as Ahab, Matt Kennedy as Father John Sullivan, Connor Sweeny as Twink, Amy Groening as Chelsea, Brent Neale as Detective Stegel, Garret Hnatiuk as Walnut, Meredith Sweeney as Sleazy Mary, Mackenzie Murdock as Chris Fuchman

Special Features (on 4 Disc Limited Edition):
Deleted Scenes, 2 SFX Featurettes, Original Theatrical Trailer, Original Short Teaser, Intro by Lloyd Kaufman, Tromatic Intro, Slideshow, Astron-6 Shorts, Soundtrack CD, and more

Written and Directed by Astron-6 (aka Adam Brooks, Jeremy Gillespie, Matt Kennedy, Steven Kostanski and Conor Sweeny)

 

I have been a staunch supporter of Troma for years and years now. Lloyd Kaufman was one of the inspirations towards me realizing that one could make a fun, worthwhile movie without millions of dollars. In general, I have to be honest: I’m not a huge fan of a lot of what Troma distributes. I like Lloyd’s movies, and there are the diamonds in the rough in the Troma catalogue, but overall there is a whole lotta turds in-between. Now, what makes a diamond and what makes a turd is all personal opinion, as is ever single word I write on my site here, so take that statement for what it is; there are people out there that think that everything Troma puts out is gold. Not I. When I receive a Troma movie to review, I’m always a bit leery. On the one hand, I do have that personal, hard-to-separate emotional connection to the name “Troma” because my first films ever seen by anyone other than myself were screened at the TromaDance New Mexico film festival, and Lloyd himself was kind enough to take a minute to shoot an intro video for my cable access TV show. On the other hand, I’ve seen a ton of Troma films that fall into the category of “I’ll never get those 90 minutes of my life back.”

"Have you ever seen your father burnt to death in front of you?" Yeah, now Twink has that to use on people.
“Have you ever seen your father burnt to death in front of you?” Yeah, now Twink has that to use on people.

Thank jeebus that FATHER’S DAY doesn’t fall into category B. As a matter of fact, how much more Troma could a non-Kaufman Troma movie be? The answer is: “None; none more Troma.” FATHER’S DAY is really what most of the movies Troma releases are aspiring to be – over the top offensive yet funny, with heaping doses of blood and sex – but it’s actually done right instead of just a mishmash of red tinged nipples between badly composed shots of horrible delivered dialogue. The plot for FATHER’S DAY is incredibly ridiculous: Ahab watched his father be raped and murdered by a serial killer/rapist of Dads, The Fuckman aka Chris Fuchman. Both emotionally and physically, he was scarred for life from the experience (like you are when you see your dad butt-raped and murdered), and he and his sister are split up and grow up in foster homes. As an adult he seeks vengeance on Fuchman, only to kill the wrong man and spend a decade in jail, followed by self-imposed exile as a maker of artisan maple syrup. Well, now it’s now, and Dads are getting raped and murdered again, and the Church (yeah, that Chrurch) needs Ahab to come out of hiding and finish what he started. In case this wasn’t convoluted enough, Ahab and his priest buddy are joined by a male prostitute that is a recent victim of the dadicide that’s going on. Oh, and there’s strippers. And I almost forgot, a good at least 10+ minutes of the movie actually takes place in Hell. Ok, I think we’re caught up.

Yes, in Hell.  That Hell.
Yes, in Hell. That Hell.

What makes FATHER’S DAY so much better than the average piece of schlock released by Troma is not the fact that it’s so absurd (because a lot of their movies are), it’s not the fact that it’s so over the top (again, this seems to be a prerequisite these days for getting distribution from Toxie), it’s not the doses of gore and boobs gone wild (most Troma is gonna have at least a little of this somewhere, otherwise it’s probably not a Troma film), it’s not even the fact that the plot is so incredibly wild. What makes FATHER’S DAY great is that fact that it does all of the above while maintaining a sense that it’s almost just maybe trying to be serious. You know it’s not, and the comedy abounds, so there is not a chance that anyone that pays any sort of attention would think that FATHER’S DAY is actually trying to be a serious revenge thriller or horror film, but FATHER’S DAY takes itself seriously, and THAT is the joke. This is not a parody of the “grindhouse” films that have been so frequent since Tarantino and Rodriguez decided to bring the phenomena to the masses a few years back, but it does play in that world and it does it very well. FATHER’S DAY is, on the surface, a revenge thriller of the darkest sort… but you wipe off that clown makeup and you get a clown underneath, and not the scary kind.

I'm just making maple syrup.  From these pine trees.
I’m just making maple syrup. From these pine trees.

Another aspect that takes FATHER’S DAY to levels not normally seen on the Troma label is the production values that Astron-6 created with their limited budget. To begin with: the video is HD and really beautifully shot. The images are well composed, and even while what you are seeing may be horribly disgusting, the way it is presented is always pleasing to the eye. My only issue with the video was that fact that they could not decide if they want to do fake film grain or not; some shots have it, some don’t, and I personally could do without it. We know FATHER’S DAY wasn’t made on film 30 plus years ago, we can get the style of film you are going for without messing up your image quality by adding some fake hair on the lens and scratches in the “negative.” To accompany the video, Astron-6 made the ever so important choice of GETTING GOOD AUDIO. I’ve said it many, many times before and I’m sure I’ll say it many, many times still, but bad audio is the easiest way to kill a good movie. Not saying that I made a good movie, but you’ll likely never get a chance to see it because of the audio, at least that’s been a pretty consistent theme in the distribution rejection letters! FATHER’S DAY has great audio, from the dialogue recording to the foley to the soundtrack, it’s all there and it’s all solid. The production is also bolstered by the production design, from the costumes to the props to the effects, again everything here is done well. Some of the gore effects are a bit outlandish, but how many times have you had a shot of a hypodermic needle injecting fluid into a penis? There’s not a lot of canon to base this on, here. We even get stunts, honest to god stunts, dudes jumping off moving vehicles stunts.

Only when you do-it-yourself could you afford to pay enough to get someone to do this.  Good thing Ahab is played by one of Astron-6.
Only when you do-it-yourself could you afford to pay enough to get someone to do this. Good thing Ahab is played by one of Astron-6.

Astron-6 has done some stuff with the budget they were given that just puts most of the rest of the Troma catalogue to shame, and they did it all themselves, which falls into that Troma aesthetic that drew me to the company in the first place. Along with that DIY feeling, the three “heroes” (if you want to call them that) are also portrayed by members of Astron-6, and all do great jobs on the acting front. This is another aspect in which FATHER’S DAY is putting a lot of the other Troma films I’ve seen in their place: the acting. Do not get me wrong: there will be no special Academy Awards for FATHER’S DAY actors, but what Astron-6 has done in their direction is well above the chaff that is usually stamped with the Troma name. [I realize a lot of this review is sounding very negative towards Troma, and I don’t want to be misunderstood: I really do enjoy a lot of their films, but I’ve also seen more than my fair share that are crap… ok, I think I said this already but I was feeling kinda debbie downer on Troma so I wanted to clarify really quick.] All three heroes are fun and overblown in the caricatures of what they are – the grizzled vigilante, the priest forced to do ungodly things, and the “twink.” The supporting cast are also really good, especially Fuchman (he is creepy, and gross, and just all around not someone you’d want to meet, pants on OR off) and Chelsea. The more minor characters portrayals vary in quality, but most are still above that your-friends-and-neighbors level that I often would expect from a movie of this budget, on this label.

Even the lighting in parts of FATHER'S DAY is way above par for the average Troma...
Even the lighting in parts of FATHER’S DAY is way above par for the average Troma…

Overall, FATHER’S DAY is really just an amazing Troma film. If you don’t like Troma, steer clear, because this will be one of the most offensive, heretical, nonsensical, gross, confusing wastes of time you’ve ever laid eyes on. If you heart the monster hero, if you think that movies that have equal doses of boobies and blood are the best, if you know what you are getting into and you are looking forward to that, FATHER’S DAY is going to deliver. From the crazy-ass plot to the ridiculous characters to the hilarious dialogue, this one has pretty much what any fan of the genre should be looking for. Is this the best non-Lloyd Troma film out there? It just might be, it goes to 11 on the Tromatic scale for sure.

 

Overall 9 / 10

FATHER’S DAY on the IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1727261/

FATHER’S DAY for sale: https://www.tromashop.com/father-s-day-blu-ray-dvd this is the 4-disc version I reviewed, which is out of stock, so here is the 2-disc version too: https://www.tromashop.com/father-s-day-2-disc-combo-pack-blu-ray

FATHER’S DAY site: http://www.thefathersdaymovie.com/

Father's Day (2011) Original Theatrical Poster
Father’s Day (2011)
Original Theatrical Poster
Father's Day (2012) 4-Disc Blu-Ray Cover
Father’s Day (2012)
4-Disc Blu-Ray Cover

 

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