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  Father's Day Daddy Fearest
Year: 2011
Director: Astron-6
Stars: 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, Ted Kennedy, Wilmar Chopyk
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Trash, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: There is a serial killer named Chris Fuchman (Mackenzie Murdock) whose modus operandi is to prey on fathers, raping and murdering them in the most extreme manner possible. One teenager who knows more than anyone what it is like to have a parent slaughtered by this maniac is nicknamed Twink (Conor Sweeney) - he's a gay hustler who makes his money stealing from the men he rents out his body to, but now he has been brought in for questioning by the cops who suspect him of the murder of his father. Twink knows he's not the Father's Day Killer, but he will have his work cut out convincing the authorities, little realising he is about to embark on a journey straight to hell...

And that's literally straight to hell in the second feature from the Astron-6 crew, six Canadians with a love of trash culture who began their careers making shorts both spoofing and celebrating the exploitation cinema of their youth - you can imagine many a misspent hour was conducted in front of a VHS player or late night television station, staying up to catch some rare example of horror, science fiction or sleazy comedy or thriller. You can tell this straight away as Father's Day kicks off with a parody TV station promoting its wares for the early morning ahead - if this was genuine it would be followed by Space Raiders and Sexy Beach, making your movie marathon complete. It doesn't, though the film includes a trailer for the sci-fi epic two thirds of the way through.

Therefore you can see there was a particular irreverent sensibility at work here, not to be taken seriously at all, or at least as seriously as you take the business of entertainment at any rate. This effort represented a step up from the collective's first feature, Manborg, since they were offered a budget by Troma to make a movie out of one of their spoof trailers, and this was the result. It's important to note that the six directors (and stars) did not necessarily crowd onto the set at the one time, as they tended to shoot their own contribution individually and the fruits of their labours were then edited together in what they hoped would be coherent (or you presumed they hoped that, it could be they slapped it all together willy-nilly and kept their fingers crossed).

There was obvious talent and imagination here, though there was something to be said for self-discipline in creative matters, and the fact remained Father's Day was such a mishmash, taking abrupt turns every five minutes as if suffering a drastically brief attention span, that it was exhausting well before it reached the realm of the underworld for its denouement. There were three central characters who more or less appeared for the whole story, the aforementioned Twink, his well-meaning priest Father Sullivan (Matthew Kennedy) and the raving avenger (formerly maple syrup manufacturer) Ahab (Adam Brooks) who wants to catch the killer and slaughter him in turn, with other people such as Ahab's sister Chelsea (Amy Groening) showing up too.

With a self-consciously keen drive to break taboos not often dealt with in the movies like male on male rape or incest, you could rightfully accuse Astron-6 of treating their subjects without thinking through their implications - would these be quite as supposedly funny if it was women being raped, for example? The impression is they were less interested in raising issue than having their fun with controversy: gay priests, a penis bitten off graphically on camera as well as Fuchman slicing cuts into his own member for reasons best known to himself were going to give a mainstream audience something to complain about, and as this was part of the Troma stable it appeared the directors were straining that bit too hard to be outrageous as keeping with Lloyd Kaufman's brainchild (and he appears as God, it was that sort of in-jokey gag this thrived on). That said, if you had the stomach for it Father's Day was far more professional than almost everything else from the indie studio, and more inventive too - it wasn't all about pissing people off, they were stretching their talents too. Music by Jeremy Gillespie and others.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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