Troma is many things to many people. Scratch that. Troma is either one of two things to some people. If you grew up watching classic Troma flicks like The Toxic Avenger, Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD, or Tromeo & Juliet, you probably have a soft spot for the low budget film company headed by icon Lloyd Kaufman.
If, however, you missed out on these classics and instead just picked up some of the more recent offerings, you probably think Troma is a pile of shit.
I have a lot of respect for Troma. I’m a big fan of Lloyd Kaufman and I’ve read three of his “Damn Movie” books. History should remember him in the same vein as Roger Corman – a low budget businessman with a vision. Few people have had a bigger impact on the world of independent film.
Even I must admit that in recent years, the offerings from Troma have not always been fantastic. Much like how Corman disappeared for years, Kaufman too shrank back from the public eye. Movies were made, but little attention was paid. With the recent success of his books though, Kaufman and Troma are coming back in a big way and leading that charge is Father’s Day.
There are at least twelve on-screen deaths and six bodies that we see, implying, of course, more deaths. It’s a bloody and violent film.
I left a lot of room in my notes to list all the sick shit I expected from this movie and Father’s Day more than delivered. There are at least four instances of gay ass rape, a dismembered body, a penis gets bitten off, bits of a guy are eaten, there are dozens of gunshots, heads are blown off, people are impaled, and a demon baby gets stomped to goo. There are a lot more crazy violent gore bits, including guns, bricks, and chainsaws, but you should just experience them. Much of the gore work is also excellent from a technical standpoint.
Again, I expected a lot of nudity from this film and it delivers. There is a strip club that gets visited at least twice, so we see five or six pairs of breasts. We also see a penis a few times, some old man ass, a homosexual blowjob, some bloody boobs, some testicles, a WINCEST sex scene, angel boobs, and one stripper fights the Fuckman without a top on.
God and Satan are the same person. Or absolutely nothing.
Father’s Day is sort of presented like late night cable programming. It starts off as such and ends as such with one commercial interlude, but mostly it plays out like a regular film – well, no. It plays out like the modern wave of Grindhouse-inspired films, and it actually uses the technique quite well. It never plays it off as a gimmick, there are no missing reels to cut out scenes, the film never leaves the track, and the look remains consistent. It’s far and away better than Tarantino’s Death Proof, both as a movie and as a technical exercise in creating a faux Grindhouse film.
The plot involves a city plagued by The Fuckman, a brutal rapist who goes around raping fathers. There isn’t much about the film otherwise that is suggestive of the title, but who cares? A fat man ass rapes old men, cuts them into pieces, and eats them. This is Troma to the core. A trio of men – an eyepatch-wearing badass, a priest, and a homosexual prostitute, set out to bring The Fuckman down and will chase him all the way to hell and back. Almost.
It’s a silly film with an odd sense of humor that works far more frequently than it doesn’t. The lead badass, Ahab, who predictably only has one eye, is obsessed with making maple syrup, despite the fact that he’s been tapping trees that aren’t maples.
Fans of Troma will know that the studio is well known for reusing footage or inserting stock footage – this isn’t done obviously in this film, but there is one insert shot of a large bear that I picked out as most likely stock footage – not in a bad way, but in a way that made me smile.
Written and directed by (and starring) Astron-6, a group of five filmmakers from Canada, Adam Brooks and Jeremy Gillespie get top billing as writer/directors, with Brooks also portraying Ahab. Despite an obviously limited budget (Troma never writes a big check), the filmmakers are clearly savvy artists who make use of good camera work and framing, which keeps you within in the movie despite cost saving measures like composing shots with all three actors in frame with no movement. Often, this looks like shit, but it works here. The creators also throw a few tricks at the screen – there are only a few instances of CGI, one is campy fine, the other could have been left out, but many of the effects are practical and grotesquely beautiful.
The film works as a fun Grindhouse movie most of the way through and then takes an unexpected and psychedelic turn with around thirty minutes to go. From then on out, the film is straight up weird, with journeys to heaven and hell, incest, demons, and tons of bloody wounds, from smashed demon babies to a dude throwing up his own internal organs. It is wonderful.
Father’s Day is definitely not a film for everyone, but it was definitely a film for me. This is what Grindhouse films should aspire to be.