A Queer Horror Fan Says Thank You
So Troma's / Astron-6's Father's Day has been the topic of much debate tonight over on Facebook and while I won't get into some of the arguments made for and against it, I do wanna impart a wee bit of sincerity here. Years ago, one of the masters of our genre, Clive Barker, said that he would no longer pursue any cinematic endeavors until Hollywood got over its homophobia. By that, all Barker has been striving for was the option of creating a horror film with a leading gay character. It wasn't to be about him being gay mind you, he just was, end of story. Hollywood's reasoning of course was that unless they were acknowledging the gay factor in every scene, audiences wouldn't accept a gay character who just was (oh I dunno, like it was normal and everyday or something). As a gay film fan, I've been so over films beating me over the head with the gay shit for a decade now. I know that film has the ability to educate and enlighten and for those reasons the occasional story about queerness has it's place. However, as someone who happens to be gay yet is not defined by being gay, I want to see something a bit more close to the truth, something a bit more honest. Where is my gay hit man, action hero, super villain, scream queen or any number of other film defined characteristics? Nowhere in sight. Sadly us queers are still regulated to the stereotypical role of queen / gal pal. This is 2012 now right? Someone shoot me.
Which brings me to Father's Day. As a gay horror film fan, I can't express how much something so small has meant to me as Father's Day being inclusive of us homos....without making a big deal about it. Though there are leading gay characters in the film, I do not view Father's Day as a queer film, which is the point (and arguably what Mr. Barker has strived for). It is a grade A horror / exploitation / grindhouse throwback with gay characters, incidentally. The simmering homophobia that lurks under the surface in some reviewer's write ups about the movie is staggering. You'd think it was wall to wall cock and balls orchestrated by Chi Chi Larue if you were to listen to some of those asshats. It's not. The leading man is straight. There is more female nudity than male (yet 20 seconds of male genitalia is enough to send some nerds screaming back to their parents basement in order to denounce the film as a whole online....something tells me if you aren't mature enough to handle nudity of any stripe, you aren't mature enough to watching Troma's admittedly immature antics). One supporting player is questionable and finally another is in fact gay. But it isn't a big deal. It's neither a crutch or a crux that the film rests itself on. That queer character, though flawed, is ultimately as heroic and honorable as any of the movie's other monster fighters (an eclectic group comprised of a ex-con drifter, a priest and a stripper) and fits right in with the film's lead character who is unquestionably modeled after stoic, brawn, manly men (the antithesis of someone who would accept a fey thing named Twink fighting by his side, but accept him he does). It might not be a queer film per se, but strike a mighty blow it does for equality in the horror genre (it's s shame that in 2012 this is still something that I feel needs singled out and praised, but there it is nonetheless ladies and gentlemen...we still have a long road to hoe). Maybe Father's Day and its attendant echo of inclusiveness won't be heard by everyone, but I certainly heard it. And for this I would like to thank every one at Astron-6 (the Canadian production company behind Father's Day); Adam Brooks, Jeremy Gillespie, Matt Kennedy, Conor Sweeney and Steven Kostanski. Thanks to Troma Films and Lloyd Kaufman for taking a chance with this film and giving it a generous push and granting it distribution. Thank you guys first and foremost for making an asskicking, rude, anarchic, gory, fun horror film and thank you again for being a voice for gays and lesbians in horror films (whether you intended to or not) by making us gratifyingly....incidental. Either way, you would have had me at "Lock up your fathers." Now how about that sequel?
To visit Astron-6, you may do so by clicking here.
To visit the film's official site to discover what cities it will be playing and when, simply click here.