For the last Easter-related flick on this most bunny-filled holiday, filmmaker Brian Papandrea, the undisputed independent film King of Shrimp Cocktail (check out my review of The Big F during Bigfoot Month last November to know what I’m talking about), suggested I check out his holiday-themed psychological-slasher comedy horror flick that has a sharpened carrot pointed straight at the heart of such institutions as community theater, method acting, unrequited love, public access television, gun control and the plight of the homeless population in Ferndale, Michigan.
For Feaster Sunday, to borrow a phrase used by the Guy Whose Name Appears on this website, Papandrea wrote, directed, starred in and would have been the guy who was punching the little holes in on the side of the film if the flick had been shot on film. And while budgetary limitations undoubtedly limited the scope of the production (that’s what they’re called limitations, yo), Feaster Sunday holds up as a looney concoction of, oh let’s see, Deranged, Maniac and Magic. Perfect Easter viewing!
It starts out with a guy in black-and-white flashback who’s putting on the annual Passion play telling Dale, a guy who REALLY takes his method acting seriously and has been playing Jesus for 17 years, that his services will not be needed when they do the play next year. The last straw for Dale is when the rest of the cast gives him a cake BEFORE the show, sparking an unfortunate incident that is known as “Feaster Sunday” to the locals.
(An animated interlude later in the flick shows us what happened.)
Years later, a new theater director named Gideon (Dustin Mills) is going to do the play again, but his way. He delights in reminding everybody in his cast that they are f—ing replaceable and is obsessed with creating a new vision for a Passion play including floating jellyfish and incorporating a gigantic inflatable doughnut.
Eddie (Papandrea), a cameraman for the local public access channel who has the whole post-Downward Spiral Trent Reznor look going, ends up meeting Tess (Allison Maer), his high-school crush. Eddie’s mom recently died, Eddie inherited a house and has recorded 800 puppet shows on VHS that may or may not have been broadcast on the local public-access station.
All together now: NOR-MAN!
Pretty soon members of the play’s cast are ditching rehearsals because they’re fricking dead, you have killers sleeping with corpses and hallucinating that they’re having conversations about their relationships while simultaneously doing their best to prevent the rot from setting in, and poor Gideon is having the worst Easter ever because he’s probably going to put the show on by himself if things keep going the way they are.
And did I mention there’s also a killer in a bunny costume running around and plenty of puppet show interludes, too?
Plenty of opportunity for …
Best Examination of the Intrusion of the Secular into What Had Been Primarily the Most-Holy Feast Throughout the History of Christianity: It all makes sense in the last scene when you find out who the bunny-suited creep is.
Best Examination of the Plight of the Homeless of Ferndale, Mich.: How the bearded ranting guy with the hunter’s cap (Stefan Mantyk) lives in the closet of the Ringwald Theater and only emerges on special occasions to deal cautionary exposition to people too dumb to listen a la Crazy Ralph, but he’s actually the Equalizer. A dream YouTube video would be him and the Narrator from Jesus Christ, Vampire Hunter getting into a rant-off in a Zoom call.
Best Reconciliation: When the corpses of two victims decide to elope after all. (It’s hard to explain.)
Best Approach to Breakfast: “I’m not much of a cook, but I can pour the hell out of some cereal,” says Eddie.
Best Motivation: Director Dr. Gideon, who says: “Excuses are like asparagus. Everyone acts like they like it until the piss turns out green.”
Best Method Acting for a Hangover Scene: Papandrea might have to confirm this in the Facebook comments, but it sure looked like Patrick Dear, who played Darren Reen, actually barfed for his art.
Best Career Decision: When Stage Manager Lindsey decided to get out of Dodge.
Two and a half stars — you can snag it DIRECT from Rock Bottom Video’s online store in time for Orthodox Feaster Sunday.
Check it out, and save a couple of Cadbury Eggs for me!