Much like found footage, the Grindhouse aesthetic has become an easy way to break into the world of horror. When you combine this with Troma, you’re forced to abandon all hope of normalcy, and this is exemplified in the collaborative Father’s Day. Written and directed by film collective Astron-6 and produced by Troma and Lloyd Kaufman, this throwback to VHS-era, late night cinema is an inspired mess of low-budget Grindhouse action and disgusting B-movie magic.
In the 70s, a man by the name of Carl Fuchman went on a rampage, raping and killing fathers. Thus was born the urban legend of The Father’s Day Killer. Fast forward thirty years and it appears Fuchman is back. Twink, a hustler with a record, returns home to find his father brutally raped and murdered. Teaming up with a priest named John, and Ahab, a one-eyed hermit seeking revenge of his own, the three embark on a journey to find the Father’s Day Killer. Hot on their heels is Detective Stegel, determined to get to the bottom of the murder. Grindhouse-iness ensues.
Non-sequiturs, one-liners, and outright absurdity prevail as our intrepid heroes seek vengeance on a serial homosexual rapist. While early on much of the humor is incredibly forced, it quickly fades when Ahab, played by Astron-6 member Adam Brooks, appears as a grizzled hermit with a maple syrup obsession. Missing an eye as opposed to a leg, the search for his “white whale” – in this case an obese white man – consumes his every thought, met typically with the sort of wit and dialogue you’d expect from a sketch comedy group. Father’s Day and the loose connection of scenes that form a plot are nothing more than a vehicle for the three principle characters to showcase their brand of offbeat and irreverent humor. The jokes aren’t necessarily relevant to the action, but damn it all if they’re not funny as Hell.
Father’s Day is pure Grindhouse with an added mixture of sinister stop-motion animation and acid trip-like scenes for the sake of…well, insanity. The deeper you get into the film, the more insane it gets, as if Astron-6 wanted nothing more than to pay homage to every aspect of late night cinema they could muster up. Given the film’s incredibly low-budget (IMDb lists it at approximately $10,000), it’s amazing they were able to pull off what they did. This is especially true for the special effects, a mixture of CGI and practical effects that gets pushed to the brink as the plot goes from downright weird to batshit insane.
Father’s Day is gross and stupid, but that’s sort of the point. It’s filled with enough clever one-liners and ridiculous jokes that, despite its disgusting, nearly non-sensical plot and graphic depictions of male rape, you can’t help but laugh like an idiot throughout.