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The Dead Father (1985)

The patriarch of a troubled clan dies, but the resentment and yearning of the eldest son conspire to bring the errant father back for periodic visits in an only partially living state. ... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
D.P. Snidal ...
The Dead Father (as Dr. D.P. Snidal)
Margaret Anne MacLeod ...
The Widow
John Harvie ...
The Son
...
The Daughter
...
Little Girl I
Jilian Maddin ...
Little Girl II (as Jill Maddin)
Stephen Snyder ...
Cesar (as W. Steve Snyder)
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Storyline

The patriarch of a troubled clan dies, but the resentment and yearning of the eldest son conspire to bring the errant father back for periodic visits in an only partially living state. These brief stop-overs are profoundly disturbing in thier incompletemess, and the boy finds himself driven inexorably to a final, frenzied act of self-loathing. Written by Anonymous

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Short | Horror

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1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Martwy ojciec  »

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Featured in Guy Maddin: Waiting for Twilight (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

An interesting and enjoyable introduction to the films of Guy Maddin
13 February 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

In a collection of memories, our narrator recalls the death of his father but not his actual departure. With the man's eldest son still feeling resentment, loss and guilt over the man's death bring the spirit of his father back in a semi-living state; ghostly if you will. These visits continue as the son finds himself driven to despair by his father's continued presence and he comes ever closer to a series of desperate acts.

Having been taken in by Guy Maddin's later work it was only a matter of time before I had a stab at his earliest film, specifically this short film that was one of his first forays into directing. Having gotten used to not understanding the narrative of any of his later films it was a surprise to find that not only did this appear to have more of a structure to it but that it also had a rather toned down visual style that I wasn't expecting even if this was his first film. Narrative wise it is still a bit thin but it produced enough to keep me interested and make me think more about the characters and the story I was being told, even if I could have done with a bit more in the way of explanation and background development. Ironically enough this is actually more accessible than some of his later work and could work as a way in for the uninitiated as well as some of his better films made more recently. Stylistically the film is very sparse and bare and may put some of his modern fans off who have come to expect great flair and style from him but for me both worked and this had enough going for it to be visually interesting without going over (or near) the top.

The cast are OK and do their part (posing well in the clever opening credits) but really Maddin is the star here as both writer and director. Overall this is an interesting short that is up to standard for the majority of Maddin's work. It may not win over those that find no value in any of his films (what would?) but it is a good short film that can be enjoyed on its own or as an example of the style and approach that he would continue to develop over later years.


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