Underground Film Journal

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Short Film: Captain Fork

By Mike Everleth ⋅ January 15, 2012

Father not only doesn’t know best, he wants to commit the worst: Kill his only son in G.J. Echternkamp‘s sick short film Captain Fork. Can humor be mined from a selfish single daddy having dreams of infanticide? Echternkamp happily trots along the cliff of “good” bad taste without falling over in this slick, well-executed — and hilarious — short movie.

What makes Captain Fork extra intriguing is that Echternkamp previously directed an autobiographical documentary that chronicled his own personal paternal issues. Frank & Cindy detailed the director’s unusual home life where his father figure was a washed up rock star.

Certainly, one doesn’t want to compare the genial, kind-hearted Frank to the monster in Captain Fork, but it’s hard not to wonder if some issues of parental abandonment didn’t inform the initial genesis of the short comedy, whether or not Echternkamp is aware of it.

Father and son wear birthday hats

Regardless, the tastelessness of Captain Fork‘s central conceit works as “good” bad taste in that the father doesn’t directly attempt the infanticide that the premise suggests. Instead, the humor comes from the Byzantine plans dear ‘ol dad concocts for the child to self-perish and for the elaborate postmortem fantasies, the same kind of fantasies a child might have if the fantasy were reverse.

Lastly, the film comes to a fully satisfying resolution, one that isn’t too vicious nor too saccharine, both of which would have destroyed its “bad” good-will intentions.

For more info on G.J. Echternkamp, please visit his Bionic Films website or check out more videos on Vimeo.