Indie horror fans, forget what your calendar says: it's time to celebrate "Father's Day."
Created by Canadian filmmaking quintet Astron-6, "Father's Day" is an endlessly impressive debut feature, a work of twisted brilliance.
The core plot sounds like the set-up for a dirty joke: a priest, a one-eyed vigilante and a young male prostitute join forces to stop the Father's Day Killer, a serial rapist and murderer who is terrorizing the dads of Tromaville. Saying any more about what happens over the course of the film would be revealing too much about the mind-blowing, unpredictable proceedings.
After getting off to a somewhat shaky, overly serious start, the film settles into a comfortable groove reminiscent of John Carpenter by way of John Waters. At about the half hour mark things start to get silly, even downright satirical, and the humor goes a long way toward tempering the ultra violence.
The cast, lead by Astron-6 co-founder Adam Brooks as one-eyed Ahab, does good work here, nailing just the right tone somewhere between camp and grave seriousness that so many post-"Grindhouse" genre throwbacks can't seem to get right. And there's great technical work being done, too: the stunts are impressive, the makeup and creature effects are appropriately icky and the score - incorporating everything from Carpenter-style synths and surf rock to ominous ambient noise reminiscent of the early entries in the "Silent Hill" video game series - is, for lack of a better term, damn cool.
Make no mistake, this brilliantly-realized exercise in bad taste isn't for everyone: it's gory, gross and relentless, but if you have an open mind, a strong stomach and are ready and willing to go along for the ride, it's also hilarious, and a lot of fun.
Astron-6 were a hit with Asbury Park crowds two years ago when their campy short "Lazer Ghosts 2: Return to Laser Cove," screened at the TromaDance Film Festival. Wisely, Troma Entertainment, the studio behind oddball classics such as "The Toxic Avenger" and "Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead," has partnered with the Winnipeg collective on this feature. This is the type of cheap, weird brilliance that Troma does best.
For more information on Father's Day, visit http://thefathersdaymovie.com/.