Fast food corporations are the favorite kicktoys of the documentarians as of late who use gruesome slaughterhouse footage and damning statistics to make their points — some as sensational as Morgan Spurlock, spitting up a Big Mac like a fussy baby. But Troma Films takes a page from the Swiftian satirists of “South Park” and their death-shitting Wall-Mart, offering up a big, steaming, messy, disgusting, gloriously sexploitative feast with their latest, and absolutely greatest, picture: Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead. It hinges on a hilariously irreverent premise: a fast food fried chicken restaurant is built on an ancient Indian tribal burial ground, and a batch of veiny eggs cause people to turn into chicken Indian zombies who tear people limb from limb.
Oh. And it’s a musical.
Troma Films is the original grindhouse movie picture studio. It’s founded on over the top gore-fests, gratuitous and exploitative nudity, and low-production values. Lloyd Kaufman, the Larry Flynt of Film, is a golden god among the gorehounds, and the father of The Toxic Avenger and Sergeant Kabukiman NYPD. He constantly wages war on the MPAA in the name of independent film. His movies are cheaply shot, with non-union actors and crews in a matter of days on shoestring budgets. The plots are nonsense, and the acting varies from wooden to Travoltian stage scenery-chewing. The movies are pretty much vehicles for young women to take off their tops and engage in lipstick lesbianism or for weirdos to suffer horrible, head-smashing, intestine-splattering, limb-ripping deaths. That’s in-between fart jokes and scatalogical riffs, or cheesy dialogue and jokes about rape or incest. It’s everything Uwe Boll wishes he was. It’s a teenage boy’s wet dream. And it’s everything I love about movies.
As with most Troma Films, you expect a certain low-grade to the quality of the editing, shooting, dialogue, and special effects. You don’t go to McDonald’s for a steak. However, what sets Poultrygeist ahead of the rest of the Tromaville pack is that it has a ridiculously hysterical script, written by Gabe Friedman and Lloyd Kaufman. It’s the kind of spoof-satire Trey Parker and Matt Stone specialize in. A lot of the jokes are clunkers, and most of the songs suffer from a lack of musicality. But that’s like pointing out the zits on the pictures in the nudie magazines. You’re totally missing the meat. The meat here is non-stop, stomach-churning violence and the spewing of bodily fluids in all colors, thicknesses, and splatter-patterns. It’s no joke this was Not Rated by the MPAA: there exists no letter that could truly encapsulate the sheer voracity and explicitness of the gore. It would have to be some sort of hieroglyphic or some combination of a Greek letter and onomatopoeia: Sigma Boooooing!
Poultrygeist opens with two teenage lovers making out in the Ancient Indian Tribal Burial Ground. Wendy (Kate Graham) is about to go off the college, and she’s saying goodbye to her sweet nerdy boyfriend Arbie (Jason Yachanin), who must stay behind in Tromaville to take care of his two retarded and blind parents. Arbie fumbles with Wendy’s bra, complete with shaking water balloon sound effects as her breasts jiggle. As Arbie and Wendy start engage in a little “hide the salami,” zombie hands shoot up around them. One inserts and loses a finger in Arbie’s sphincter. However this isn’t what distracts the two swinging teens, instead it’s the Graveyard Peeper (John Karyus) who stands over them clutching an axe in one hand and his schlong in the other, pumping away vigorously. The two teens flee, and the Peeper stays behind sniffing Arbie’s underpants. A zombie hand reaches up the Peeper’s ass (all the way up) out through his mouth and yanks the underpants and most of the man’s organs out the other end. And that, my friends, will pretty much set the tone for the rest of the film.
Flash forward to a year later, Arbie has come back to the tribal ground where he consummated his love with young Wendy, only to find a protest outside a new American Chicken Bunker restaurant. The protest has been organized by College Lesbians Against Mega-Conglomerates or C.L.A.M. And who should be a new-found lesbian but our dear Wendy and her new disturbingly Alanis-Morissette looking gal-pal Micki (Allyson Sereboff). After breaking into an outraged song, Arbie decides to get revenge by joining the staff of ACB as a Counter Girl (complete with kilt and tutu). His boss is the stern black Denny (Joshua Olatunde), and the rest of the kitchen staff is comprised of a homosexual Mexican named Paco Bell (Khalid Rivera), a burka-wearing Arab named Hummus (Rose Ghavami), and a frozen-chicken fucking redneck named Carl Jr. (Caleb Emerson). In case you haven’t figured out yet, everyone’s got variations of fast food restaurants as names.
Green gooey alien eggs (from who knows where) somehow cause the frozen chickens to come to life, but this pretty much serves as a method for the chickens to commit disgusting bodily-function related murders that result in industrial-sized drums of blood on everything. One man shits himself to death, splattering the bathroom walls with thick syrupy chunks of feces, until he eventually explodes, releasing a chicken indian zombie. One of the workers gets his dick chomped on by a semi-defrosted chicken, which finally relents after someone shoves a mop up the worker’s ass. The mop then impales him through the shaft of his penis, leaving just the tip on the protruding handle before he dies in a sputtering puddle of green goo and meaty blood. The green goo splatters on buckets of fried chicken, which are fed to protestors outside, who are led to believe that the seething pustules are actually “flavor pods”.
Then all hell breaks loose. The protestors transform into Indian chicken zombies, which apparently means they get painted green, have beaks glued to their faces, have their arms covered with wisps of pillow feathers, and they wear little headbands with feathers on them or beaded necklaces. They begin assaulting those not transformed by tearing open their stomachs and feasting on the intestines, or ripping off arms, or in one particularly gruesome sequence, having their faces shredded by a meat slicer. This movie makes Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive look like “VeggieTales.” That includes the Director’s Cut of The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything, where the summer squash brutally rapes the tomato with a carrot. Arbie and a tight-knit group of survivors must fight or die, including Wendy whenever she’s not topless in a lesbian dream sequence.
It’s exceptionally campy, but the cast is absolutely fun to watch. They know the dialogue is corny, but it’s like watching a Naked Gun movie. For example, this exchange:
Micki: They’ll break through faster than the five minutes it took me to turn Wendy into a full blown lesbian!
Arbie: Damn it! Well, we need action before they turn the glass into lesbians!
Arbie looks like a nerdy version of Reese from “Malcolm in the Middle,” and Wendy has this kind of Reese Witherspoon meets Rachel Bilson vibe going on. There are cameos riddled through the crowd gore scenes including Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and Lemmy from Motorhead. Even Lloyd Kaufman, who usually rivals Shamalyan for self-promoting cameos in his movies, plays the Mysterious Old Man with a ton of humor. And waaaaaay to much wrinkly old man ass.
While it’s certainly not the finest film ever made, it’s easily one of the most fun movies to watch. If you enjoy watching buckets of messy fluid showered over every frame of your film. Troma may churn out the grindhouse, Z-grade quality films, but they are labors of love, and you can see that in the production. The title song was performed by one of the guys from New Found Glory for free. Most of the cast and crew were newbies working for peanuts. If you want to watch Oscar performances, go watch Denzel Washington or Cate Blanchett. But if you want to watch an Irish priest with one of the worst accents in movie history and an even worse wig get his head stomped into goo by what is clearly a giant rubber chicken foot, you need to get your head a little Troma.
Brian Prisco is a warrior-poet from the valley of North Hollywood, by way of Philadelphia. He wastes most of his life in desk jobs, biding his time until he finally becomes an actor, a writer, or cannon fodder in the inevitable zombie invasion. He can be found shaking his fist and angrily shouting at clouds on his blog, The Gospel According to Prisco.
Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead / Brian Prisco
Film | June 16, 2008 | Comments ()