Written & Directed By: Astron-6
Media reviewed: Toronto After Dark Film Festival screening
If you’re anything like me (that is, under the age of 40) you probably don’t actually remember the “grindhouse” era. We’ve seen the films, sure, thanks to the home video boom in the 80’s and the recent grindhouse revival (and subsequent dead horse flogging) but the actual experience of seeing cheap, grainy, worn out genre films in a dank, smelly theatre populated with perverts is lost on us. Our grindhouse experience was the dimly lit horror section of our local video store, the shag carpet in the basement of a friend’s house, that one guy you knew whose extremely liberal parents had a satellite dish and pay-per-view. The worn, 4th generation tapes, the tracking lines that you could never quite get rid of, especially during the nudity…this was our grindhouse! The guys who form the Canadian movie-making collective Astron-6 must understand this because “Father’s Day” was the first faux grindhouse film I’ve seen that actually made me feel nostalgic.
The film begins as though it was taped off of a pay-per-view late night program, complete with tracking lines. The premise: a monster known as Chris Fuchman is raping and murdering fathers on Father’s Day. Fuchman is being tracked by Ahab (Adam Brooks) who seeks revenge for the death of his own father. Assisting him in his obsessive quest are John the priest (Matthew Kennedy) and Twink the street hustler (Conor Sweeney). I won’t spoil the rest and honestly, the movie gets so ridiculous that you simply have to see it to believe it. All you need to know is that the gore is fantastic and completely insane, the performances are tastefully hammy and the commercial break in the middle had me instinctively reaching for the fast-forward button. The movie drags a bit toward the end as the increasingly nonsensical plot is fleshed out but the payoff of Lloyd Kaufman as God makes up for it.
Speaking of Maestro Kaufman, did I neglect to mention that this is a Troma film? The film began as a fake trailer (watch it here: www.astron-6.com/fathersday.
The generation that cut their teeth on VHS is now making movies and the aesthetic is creeping back in to fringes of the genre. Ti West kicked it off with the “House of the Devil” VHS release and other distributors have begun resurrecting the format for promotional or collectible purposes. Tape swapping events and even VHS screenings are popping up everywhere as the video/grindhouse (rewindhouse?) reminds the under 40 crowd why they like horror in the first place. So head to the thrift store and pick up a VCR or two for cheap, I have a feeling you might be needing them.