• Father’s Day



    Released by: Troma
    Released on: August 14, 2012.
    Director: Astron-6
    Cast: Matthew Kennedy, Adam Brooks, Conor Sweeney,
    Amy Groening, Mackenzie Murdock
    Year: 2011
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    The Movie:

    Astron-6’s 2011 film Father’s Day got some pretty serious buzz after it won the Audience Award at Toronto’s After Dark Film Festival last year. Troma announced the Blu-ray, then announced it again, then re-announced it, then reconfigured it but after all of those delays, it obviously has finally made it out (though for more on that, see the extras section). So how does this $10,000 micro budgeted feature length exercise in the trash film aesthetic pan out? Really well, actually. Every penny of that budget is up there on the screen and the film looks like it cost a whole lot more than that to put together.

    The story is set in Tromaville where a deranged lunatic named Fuchman (Mackenzie Murdock) is running around raping and killing fathers, occasionally eating their genitals as well. When a teenage male prostitute named Twink (Conor Sweeney) finds out that his own father (Billy Sadoo) has been added to the list of Fuchman’s victims, he sets out for revenge. He knows he won’t be able to go this alone, however, so he teams up with a Roman Catholic priest named Father Sullivan (Matthew Kennedy) to convince a one eyed man named Ahab (Adam Brooks), the toughest of the tough in Tromaville, to join their cause.

    It takes some convincing but soon enough, Twink and Sullivan have talked Ahab into helping them out and added Ahab’s sister, a stripped named Chelsea (Amy Groening), to their ranks. As they work together to scour the streets in order to find the killer, they realize that this won’t be as easy as they had hoped…

    Father’s Day has somewhat understandably drawn a lot of comparisons to Hobo With A Shotgun. Both films are low budget pictures made in Canada in a faux Grindhouse style and share a love of primary colored lighting hues and excessive gore. The similarities end there, however, with Father’s Day going in one completely different direction after another in contrast to Hobo’s more linear plot. Along the way we’re bombarded with scenes of excessive gore, bizarre sexual highjinks and completely absurdist comedy all played so straight that you never once doubt the entire cast has completely committed themselves to the film. All of this is wrapped up in visuals that recreate the late night TV movie experience, completely with bumpers and other inserts that work towards a fairly convincing effort in that regard.

    For a film made with less money than it takes to buy a good used car, Father’s Day looks fantastic. The film is very well shot and well edited and while it has some pacing problems and is probably more ambitious in the sub-plot department than it should have been, most of what’s been put into the film works and works well. Yes, there are some slower spots, but when this one fires on all cylinders it kicks like a mule. The score, done almost entirely on a synthesizer, definitely captures the early eighties vibe, channeling Goblin and John Carpenter here and there and really complimenting the action and style of the movie perfectly and the gore and makeup effects are consistently impressive. Though the film deals in what will surely be considered by many as offensive subject matter, it does so with such glee and relish that you can’t help but have fun with it all. The whole thing builds to one of the most delightfully insane finales you’ll see again anytime soon, taking what came before to heights of trash and lunacy rarely imagined, let alone filmed.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Despite the fact that Father’s Day pops up on Blu-ray using an MPEG-2 encoding job, the transfer looks about as good as it should. As this is one of those ‘grindhouse homage’ style movies there are plenty of filters and effects used throughout the movie to give it that rough and tumble style, to make it look like a worn out theatrical print. For the most part, this works well but underneath all that are some impressive moments of texture, detail and color reproduction. Primary colors are used a lot, loads of reds and blues here to give the movie an interesting feel, and though some scenes suffer from some crush and some compression artifacts, overall the movie looks pretty cool on Blu-ray.

    Maybe not so surprisingly given the studio’s track record with Blu-ray releases, we’re once again snubbed on the lossless audio front and the only option for the movie is a perfectly fine but unexceptional Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track, in English with no alternate language options or subtitles. The dialogue is easy enough to understand and the levels are well balanced and there are no hiss or distortion related issues but you’ve got to wonder as you watch the movie how much better it would have sounded in DTS-HD or even LPCM, particularly in regards to the soundtrack.

    Ok, this is a four disc set, so let’s break down the extras by disc.

    Disc One (Blu-ray): All it has, aside from the movie, is a trailer for the feature, menus and chapter selection.

    Disc Two (DVD): This DVD version of the movie includes the same trailer that was on the Blu-ray disc and two deleted scenes, both of which run under a minute each and which are fairly unimportant.

    Disc Three (DVD): This is more like it... or is it? This release was originally intended to include a feature length making of and a commentary from the Astron-6 team. Those aren’t here. What we get instead are a lot of Troma PR bits and a few things we’ve seen before, either on the Astron-6 youtube channel or the previous release. Why did this happen? Well apparently Troma wasn’t happy with the direction the Astron-6 guys took in their documentary and it pissed them off enough that they were going to instead release the movie more or less barebones. Fan uproar ensued, Troma cobbled together what we have here… and the feature length making of and commentary are nowhere to be found.

    Things kick off with a fairly snarky introduction from Lloyd Kaufman that most people will probably fast forward though. Also included here are, for some strange reason, the two deleted scenes that were on Disc Two. From there we get a mix of things old and new – a look at the design of the cover art is interesting and four different Father’s Day Foreskin bits from Astron-6 are amusing enough. There are shorts on some of the makeup effects and another on how to make a tire iron prop and we also get a behind the scenes slideshow. Some footage of Troma and Astron-6 promoting their stuff at the Rue Morgue Festival Of Fear is fairly superfluous but the sixteen minutes of footage from the Father’s Day premiere is more amusing than you’d probably think. We get a minute or so with a Tromette named Elena who shows off her birthday suit and a recreation of the Rue Morgue article on the film in very low res that’s hard to read. Two Astron-6 shorts are here: Lazer Ghosts and Cool Guys – both are fun but have been seen before.

    Aside from that? Kaufman hosts a sixteen minute lesson on how green screens work and for some reason James Gunn talks about how to sell a movie for five minutes. Matt Stone pops up for almost half an hour to talk about stuff and there are some trailers here for other Troma releases – but no real involvement from the Astron-6 team or any real insight into what went into making this movie. Curious…

    Disc Four (CD): This disc includes a selection of music from the film’s soundtrack that you can enjoy on your hi-fidelity compact disc player.

    The Final Word:

    As crass as it is crazy, Father’s Day certainly isn’t a film for all tastes but it is one that shows some seriously impressive creativity and ambition. More than just a throwback to seventies drive-in pictures it’s a trip to the lunatic fringe and a ridiculously entertaining one at that. Troma’s Blu-ray release looks good and sounds… okay, but drops the ball in terms of delivering any seriously in-depth extra features, instead content to fill the third disc in the set with fairly fluffy, goofy bits and pieces. Regardless, the movie is one worth seeing and at this point in time, this is the only way to do just that on home video.


    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!




















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