Ahab, the eye-patch sporting hero of the Astron 6 horror film Father’s Day is in my opinion the one true successor to Bruce Campbell’s Ash Williams. And considering how unfair the ending of this movie is for Ahab and his two sidekicks a case could even be made for them replacing Ash as the most royally screwed character in the history of gore-soaked horror comedies.
It’s difficult to review this dark, grotesque gem without resorting to a series of catch phrases like “Goes where Dead Alive and similar movies failed to go” or “What Grindhouse hath wrought” or even “Twink and Walnut: They’re NOT Muppets!” Let me start with a more practical line: Do not watch this movie if you can not handle the most offensive violence, concepts, gore and deranged sexuality imaginable.
The overall style of this flick is the faux-1970s grindhouse style made fashionable by (what else) Grindhouse but for my money Father’s Day is much more entertaining than Planet of Terror or Death Proof. It also doesn’t become a slave to its style like the faux-1980’s movies House of the Devil and Beyond the Black Rainbow.
Father’s Day deals with the Father’s Day Killer, a demented man named Chris Fuchman (pronounced … well, I’m sure you can guess) who rapes fathers, devours their penises and then kills them. Get ready for a series of scenes in which older men who have “Dad Bodies” with pudgy butts get taken from behind by the morbidly obese Fuchman (Mackenzie Murdock). No cutaways. The action is front and center. And that includes the penis-eating. At any rate the Father’s Day murders are just the tip of a Satanic iceberg of evil.
The nominal good guys of the movie are:
Ahab (Adam Brooks) – A taciturn man of action who is not as bright as he thinks he is. Ahab wears an eyepatch from when Fuchman cut out his eye while raping and murdering Ahab’s father when our hero was just a little boy. Brooks crafts a character who is hilarious with the comedy bits and badass with the action elements. He’s NOT an imitation Bruce Campbell, he just towers over other would-be heirs of The Chinned One, especially in terms of screen presence.
Twink (Conor Sweeney) – A sixteen year-old manwhore/ rentboy who often tries to pick the pockets of his Johns while kneeling to go down on them in the streets. His father falls prey to Chris Fuchman early in the film.
Father John Sullivan (Matthew Kennedy) – A young priest who experiences a crisis in faith over the Father’s Day murders when his mentor Father O’Flynn becomes a victim. Yes, Fuchman kills priestly “Fathers” as well as biological fathers. Sullivan sees the necessity of using violence to bring down the outrageous evil he and the others encounter in this story.
Chelsea (Amy Groening) – Ahab’s sister, whom he hasn’t seen since they were sent to separate orphanages long ago after their father was killed. She’s working as a stripper and has been doing her own research on the Father’s Day Murders over the years. She and Ahab turn out to be our romantic leads. (Yes.)
Zsuzsi (Herself) – Plays the stripper who wields a chainsaw against Fuchman in a very memorable scene.
God/The Devil – Troma provided distribution for this low-budget wonder, and Lloyd Kaufman does brief appearances as both God and Satan when our heroes pursue Fuchman to the depths of Hell. The final battle in Hell is sort of the ne plus ultra of gore sequences.
Father’s Day does virtually everything right. The humor is actually funny, the 70’s grindhouse homage is dead-on, the gore is over the top and the parodies of scenes from other movies are clever instead of cutesy. They blend seamlessly into the ongoing story and don’t play as if the characters are winking at the audience.
For just one small example of the film’s deadpan humor: All the characters say “fuck”, “shit”, “motherfucker”, etc but when it comes to “God Damn” everyone just says “G.D.” instead. And always as straight as Leslie Nielsen says his lines in Airplane and The Naked Gun movies.
If you’re tired of horror/ dark comedy films from teams who seem WAY too impressed with their own talents you need to watch Father’s Day. Watch it with your father, if your father is a cross between Charles Manson and Groucho Marx.
… And watch out for that ending!
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