Remember the steak ghost in Poltergeist, the skyscraper-sized killer Stay Puft Marshmellow Man from Ghostbusters, or the shrimp cocktail from hell in Beetlejuice? How about killer culinary cult classics like Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes or The Stuff? If the answer is no, fear not dear reader, there is always time to catch up on your fearsome food flicks. Upon writing this review, The KVLT racked it's collective unconscious for scenes or entire movies about killer food, and realized that homicidal edibles have been a staple of the horror film for quite some time, but none have stretched the boundaries of extreme tongue-in-cheek tastelessness insofar as Lloyd Kaufman's Poultrygeist: Night Of The Chicken Dead.
American Chicken Bunker, a fast food fried chicken franchise is about to open a new store in Tromaville. Hordes of angry protesters gather to picket the restaurant's ribbon cutting ceremony. Caught somewhere between American Chicken Bunker's conquest for power and local entry level employment and the collective organizers rallying outside, are two former lovers, Arby and Wendy. Arby, is just a young man trying to make a meager living in the world working in the private sector, more specifically, at American Chicken Bunker, as well as regain the adoring affection his ex girlfriend Wendy, who is one of the protesters deadset on running American Chicken Bunker out of Tromaville. Unbeknownst to either side, American Chicken Bunker's new location was built atop a sacred Native American burial ground and all the recent commotion has stirred their long dormant spirits. Before you can say, "Kentucky Fried Carnage," American Chicken's Bunkers entire line of deep fried food stuffs become inhabited by the angry spirits, turning anyone who eats it into mutant chicken zombies who want human flesh added to the menu. Oh and did The KVLT mention that it's a musical?
In the tradition of Troma's long standing career of irreverent and over the top cinematic antics Poultrygeist: Night Of The Chicken Dead goes a few steps further than it's predecessors in providing a marathon of sick shock gags, the usual potty humor, nods of political satire, interlaced with intentionally crude yet catchy musical numbers. Troma Films, a bastion of bad taste independent cinema for almost 40 years now, stills seems to garner a very polarized reaction when mentioned amongst film geeks. People seem to love or revile Troma. This could be partly due to the fact that Troma, not only makes genre-defying movies for punks, geeks, and other weirdo stereotypes, but is also a huge distributor of low budget indie films. The list of financially acquired Troma Films by far outnumbers the in-house Troma productions and in most cases lack the unabashed low budget quality, and unflappable drive that a true Troma production possesses. Therefore, cult film aficionados assume that all Troma Pictures releases are Z-grade schlock of their own design, which is not the case. The list of Troma's flagship features is a rather short list when you consider how long the comapany has been spitting in the eye of in the mainstream film industry. Poultrygeist, like The Toxic Avenger films, The Class Of Nuke'Em High Trilogy, Sgt. Kabukiman, and Terror Firmer is a legitimate Tromatic effort made with the same fast-paced, unbridled insanity that made the aforementioned Troma titles cult classics. To further illustrate Lloyd Kaufman's love for his craft, there is a featurette at the beginning of the Poultrygeist dvd explaining how and why he spent much of his 41K to have it filmed in 35 millimeter instead of on digital. A bold move in a time when digital is the industry standard and the cost of film, film printing, not to mention editing has skyrocketed due to the shift in the technology and the demands of the modern film market.
Poultrygeist: Night Of The Chicken Dead is everything you've ever come to love about Troma, but for the new ADHD prescription drug addled, 24 hour media and internet obsessed, fast food addicted, secretly nihilistic culture that we live in today. With it's mile-a-second pacing, wall to wall spraying of blood, gore, fecal matter, seminal fluids, fast food stuffs, it's sharp eye for political absurdities, and catchy yet dirty take on showtunes, Poultrygeist: Night Of The Chicken Dead is a peerless original, well maybe except for the Troma-funded Trey Parker and Matt Stone first effort Cannibal: The Musical. Although, Cannibal: The Muscial does come with The KVLT's seal of approval, So if that old yellow Troma logo has let you down before, or you are still on the fence about Troma Films, rest assured, Poultrygeist: Night Of The Chicken Dead is the Troma film to end all Troma films. Seriously, if Poultrygeist isn't your cup of cinematic
Fun Facts About Poultrygeist: Night Of The Chicken Dead:
One of the original titles for Poultrygeist was, "Good Night and Good Cluck."
A scene that ended up on the cutting room floor reveals Trey Parker and Matt Stone as Arby's parents.
Poultrygeist's lead characters were named after popular Fast Food Restaurants Arbie (Arby's), Wendy (Wendy's), Micki (McDonalds), Denny (Denny's), Carl Jr. (Carl Jr.) and Paco Bell (Taco Bell)
When watching Poultrygeist, patient and observant Tromaphiles may spot the infamous penis monster prop from Tromeo and Juliet, and the obligatory car flip and explosion scene recycled once again.