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In nearly 40 years of producing movies, Lloyd Kaufman and Troma Entertainment have become a much-loved staple of the low-budget exploitation market, knowing merchants of such grindhouse delicacies as Tromeo and Juliet (1996) and the Toxic Avenger franchise. Their latest title, Father's Day, is a lovingly ironic re-creation of such VHS-era pulp, right down to hair and specks in the print and the “Late Night Movie” opening ident. The plot is insane: A serial killer who rapes and murders only fathers is pursued literally to hell by teen hustler Twink, novice priest John and his longtime nemesis, grizzled, one-eyed Ahab. There's also a chain-saw-wielding stripper, a terrific psychedelic berry trip and a great deal of weirdness and silliness.

Troma picked up on a mock trailer by the Astron-6 comedy collective, who write, direct and take the leads here (Adam Brooks' Ahab does a particularly good deadpan). Their irony is of the cake-having-and-eating variety: Their mockery of low-rent conventions and broad parody (along with a boy's club atmosphere and love/fear relationship with homosexuality) are inseparable from a genuine love and understanding of what makes this kind of film enjoyable (including spasmodic bursts of grossness, required to be taken not too seriously). The team's immersion in the models of their youth results in a spot-on re-creation, occasionally surreal, and frequently very funny.

Kaufman (whose cameo in the movie is great) will present the Father's Day midnight premiere in person. He'll be joined by a couple members of the Astron-6 team, Count Smokula in a post-screening performance of his contributions to the crazy patchwork soundtrack of synths, soft rock and surf-punk, Toxie, the Tromettes and other members of the Tromaville Circus. One night only! —Tom von Logue Newth (Friday midnight show, Feb. 24 only; Nuart)

LA Weekly