My Dead Dad's Porno Tapes (2018) - full transcript

A short documentary that follows director Charlie Tyrell as he tries to uncover a better understanding of his deceased father through the random objects he inherited, including a pile of VHS dirty movies.

This is Charlie.

He was just born.

These are his parents
Jenny and Greg.

In 20 years, Greg will be dead.

But Charlie doesn’t
know that yet.

Charlie doesn’t
know anything yet.

He’s just a baby.

This is where Charlie grew
up, his brother Geoff,

sister Meg, their dog Louie, and
the TV room where his dad hid

these, some of the tackiest
video pornography of the 1980s

had to offer.

Greg will be dead in 10 years.

But Charlie still
doesn’t know that yet.

This is Charlie’s first
project from film school.

Evidently, he loaded
the camera wrong,

so the footage
came out like this.

So he never showed his dad.

Greg will be dead in one year,
but Charlie still doesn’t know.

Charlie has a ticket to
see his favorite band.

It’s the same day
that his dad tells him

he’s gotten a diagnosis.

But he insists that Charlie
go to the concert and not

to worry.

So Charlie isn’t worried.

He doesn’t even know
what malignant means.

Then just before
Greg’s 52nd birthday —


Charlie’s mom calls to
tell him that his dad has

been hospitalized and
is basically comatose.

She explains, as delicately
as she can …

“This is to the end.”

At his hospital
bed, Charlie thinks

his dad gives him a smile.

Greg can’t speak anymore.

So they sit in silence.

In truth, this is not
so different from when

Greg was healthy.

They didn’t agree on much
and so they never really

spent time together.

But Charlie was
waiting for the moment

when they could see
each other as adults.

He knew that was when
the strange distance he

felt between them
would finally close.

But then —


This is Charlie’s dad today.

He’s been dead for nine years.

In the aftermath, a life’s
worth of weird stuff

is left behind, stuff that
Charlie hoped might explain

why his dad was the way he was.

Like maybe if Charlie
looked hard enough,

he could bring him
back from the dead,

at least long enough to
understand who he really was.

So it’s a pretty stupid plan,
but this is him trying anyway.


Gregory Allen Tyrell was
born November 14th, 1956,

in Hamilton, Ontario.

Parents, Dale and Stan.

Along with Greg, they’d all die
within a year of each other.

Dale was the last holdout.

Greg was a police officer.

He’d work long shifts
an hour from home.

But it was a job he kept
pretty tight-lipped about.


Being a cop just paid the bills.

So what did Greg choose to do?

Well he flew airplanes
in his spare time.

He’d often drag Charlie
to airstrips on weekends,

but always ended up chatting
with the other pilots for hours

while Charlie, bored
out of his mind,

would leave to wait in the car.

He fixed planes too.

He loved fixing things.

He left behind a
junkyard of tools.

And their house was in a
constant state of renovation,

right up until his death.

But what did any of this mean?

Greg: “So this is our —

[chuckles] not done yet kitchen,
12 years in the making, this.

This is our front hallway.

What a vast improvement.

It’s actually quite nice.”

“Well, I do nice
trim work, don’t I?”

He was pathologically
protective of his stuff.

Anything misused, misplaced,
or presumably used in a movie

would make him erupt.

So far this is going very badly.

It looks like
everything in this pile

is just as elusive as Greg was.

It’s just trivia.

Greg was hard to live with.

Greg had a volatile temper.

So what?

Unexamined for all
these years, this stuff

could have hidden
anything — revelations,

answers, catharsis.

Examined, it’s
looking more and more

like a big pile of nothing.

And he’s gone all the way
from birth certificate

to cancer diagnosis.

The doctors told Greg that
the most common causes

of this kind of cancer were
smoking, drinking, and stress.

Greg didn’t smoke
and he didn’t drink.

They nicknamed the tumor Dale.

So maybe Charlie’s been
looking in the wrong place.

Dale threw cocktail parties.

Stan was a pilot.

On the surface, they looked
like a pretty typical

well-adjusted family.

This was their house, a
monument to a respectable brand

of normalcy.

Dale’s cocktail
parties were showcases.

Her kids were props.

On Christmas mornings,
she would march

them downstairs in
matching uniforms

and make them write long
thank-you cards immediately

after every gift was unwrapped
to Santa, every single time.

Greg had a speech
impediment back then.

Dale would reluctantly drive
him to corrective lessons,

bullying him the whole

about what a burden
he was on her.

Decades later,
nothing had changed.

Charlie remembers how reticent
his dad got every time

they went to her house for
the mandatory holiday visits.

And then Charlie found this.

No, it’s something we
have to be aware of.

Every time you try to —

For a split second, it’s
like Charlie has his answer.

But all he’s really done is move
the question back a generation.

If she made him this
way, what made her?

A pattern starts to emerge.

But rather than see
how far back it goes,

Charlie focuses back on himself.

When Charlie was
a kid, he wasn’t

living in an abusive household.

He was just trying to avoid
another visit to the airstrip

with his dad, his
dad who was only trying

in his own naive and awkward
way to just spend time

with his son.

This wasn’t Greg failing.

This was Greg trying.

He just kind of sucked at it.

A cycle of abuse, echoing
from Dale’s father to her, to him,

left Greg hard and bitter.

But at some point,
he made a decision.

He was going to stop it
from going any further.

I’m dressing up for my
daughter’s birthday.

Get the wide angle
going to get this shape.


You wanna watch
me brush my teeth?


And after all those years
Charlie spent avoiding him,

Greg still supported Charlie’s
filmmaking ambitions.

And Charlie wasted all that
time at the airfield hiding out

in the car, like he
wasted so much time

combing through his dad’s crap,
clinging onto VHS porno tapes

like they were part
of this puzzle.

But Greg was never defined
by what he carried with him.

He was defined by what,
after multiple generations,

he was finally able to let go.

His loving and devoted wife
who would have happily spent

the rest of her life with him —

His son Geoff, now a father
to his own perfect impossible


His daughter Meg, who shares his
stubbornness, if nothing else.

And his youngest
son Charlie, the one

who thought his dad could
be a dick sometimes,

who felt like there always
was, and now always will be,

a distance between them.

But he still ends every single
movie he makes the same way,

even though his dad will never
see it, a single credit all

by itself that reads —