The latter’s latest release under the Troma trademark, Father’s Day, perfectly encompasses the atmosphere, energy and insanity of the BIFFF and its BIFFFers. Co-wrote and co-directed by the Canadian filmmaking collective known as Astron-6, Father’s Day is an eccentric and schlocky mix of blood, sex, gore, stupidity and hilarity. A Midnight Movie in the classic sense of the term, Father’s Day is as trashy as they come and about as much fun as you can have in a cinema. For horror fans with a screw or two loose, it doesn’t get much better than this!
Father’s Day is in essence a revenge flick, as tough guy Ahab (Adam Brooks) hunts down Chris Fuchman (pronounced Fuckman, of course, and played by Mackenzie Murdock), the ‘Father’s Day Killer’ who murdered his Dad, and who continues to rape, torture and cannibalise many others. Ahab finds some unlikely help along the way in the form of a priest, a gay prostitute and a stripper, as Father John (Matthew Kennedy), Twink (Conor Sweeney) and his sister Chelsea (Amy Groening) join him on his quest. As the gang get closer to Fuchman, they fight their way from one bloodbath to the next on a journey that leads them to Hell and back. Literally.
It quickly becomes evident that the plot is not something of huge concern to Astron-6, preferring instead the challenge of repeatedly outdoing each other in terms of violence and absurdity. In their defence, though, Father’s Day began its life as a trailer and it wasn’t until Kaufman offered to fork out the cash that the directors were faced with the tricky task of stretching it out into some semblance of a feature film. With Troma behind it, the stage was set for an off the wall grindhouse cult classic in the making, and boy did Astron-6 relish it.
Inhibitions are kept to a strict minimum as heads are blown apart, eyes sliced open, body parts ripped out and penises bitten off, with chainsaw wielding strippers thrown in the mix for good measure. The collaborative flair for that authentic retro feel manifests itself again in a brilliant mid-movie ad break, and the goofiness increases ever further as Ahab et al eat some dodgy fruit, instigating a completely bonkers hallucinogenic sequence.
Although there is always a fine line between trashy fun and just trash, Father’s Day effortlessly falls into the former camp thanks in large part to its perfectly intonated dialogue and a constant barrage of hilarious quips. The performances are great and perfectly reflect the outrageousness of the script, particularly so in a prolonged scene in which our brooding one-eyed hero misunderstands Father John who metaphorically compares him to a tree. The cameo, while anticipated, is a great touch, as Lloyd Kaufman plays God (and later, the Devil) in a scene that further amplifies the film’s lunacy.
While brashly engineered to appeal to a very specific and decidedly small audience, Father’s Day is a hilarious grindhouse gore-athon romp with real zest, genuine nostalgia and a whole lot of love for the genre.
Head over to www.bifff.net to check out the BIFFF’s 2012 award-winners, and don’t forget to mull over the festival’s programme to find a hidden horror gem or two.