Daniel Bova, Gabriel Friedman
Jason Yachanin as Arbie
Kate Graham as Wendy
Allyson Sereboff as Micki
Robin Watkins as General Lee Roy
Joshua Olatude as Denny
Caleb Emerson as Carl Jr.
By James “Crypticpsych” Lasome
“When watching a Troma movie, you must not only suspend your disbelief: you must lock it up in a small iron crate and torture it.”
-Lloyd Kaufman, co-founder of Troma Films and director of Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead
Methinks I’m horning in on The Zombie Master’s territory a bit here (hope he doesn’t mind), but I had to spread the word since this film is getting the most limited of limited releases until it gets its equally limited DVD release(rumored to be this October). Also, there’s a criminal lack of Troma films on this site. Before I begin, something important must be said. *clears throat*
DISCLAIMER: If you cannot handle the following, this film may not be for you: Explosive diarrhea, rampant racism, Ron Jeremy cameos, necrophilia, monsters that spawn from the groin area, murder involving deep fryers and meat grinders (at the least), lesbian acts, bestiality (for lack of a better term), gratuitous nudity, and bodily dismemberment. Even if you can handle these, it should be noted that it is physically impossible for me to accurately convey many of the things in this film or the level of twisted humor one must have to appreciate it in mere words. If you see this movie and vomit/hate it/leave the theater/are traumatized for life, I accept NO responsibility. (you’ll probably know within the first 5 minutes) Now then…
This movie may very well be the funniest, most twisted, goriest, Native American Zombie Chicken Musical Horror Comedy of all time. It certainly has one of the greatest taglines ever (see above). You may think you’ve seen independent horror. THIS is truly independent horror. Made by America’s longest running independent film studio (TROMA!…Of Course!), Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead is nearly impossible to accurately describe to a person who does not have the film directly in front of them. But that is the task I am undertaking today and attempt it I shall!
In 2006, Troma films, and director/company co-founder Lloyd Kaufman, began filming their newest movie following in the footsteps of their previous cult classics of gore, zany humor, and insane violence: “The Toxic Avenger”, “The Class of Nuke’Em High”, “Tromeo and Juliet”, and “Terror Firmer”. This particular film, shot on location primarily at a fast food restaurant in Buffalo, NY, would go on to be roundly called one of Troma’s best films and one of the more anticipated independent films of 2007 and 2008. But what is it you may ask?
Ahem…The movie begins with young, blissfully naive Arbie (Jason Yachanin) having a nice romantic night out with his girlfriend Wendy (Kate Graham)…in the Ancient Tromahawk Tribe Sacred Indian Burial Ground. Arbie is afraid Wendy will change when she goes off to college but she promises she’ll always be herself. That seems to assuage him until one college semester later when he returns to the spot hoping to reminisce about that night, only to discover that it has been bulldozed and replaced by the newest American Chicken Bunker franchise location. A gang of protesters has gathered outside both angry at the company’s horrible treatment of chickens and their desecration of the Native American graveyard. Amongst them…*gasp* Wendy! And her Collegiate Lesbians Against Megaconglomerates (C.L.A.M.) friends! After Arbie is less than successful in attempting to rekindle their romance because of Wendy’s violently activist new partner Micki (Allyson Sereboff), he decides to spurn Wendy and get a job at the Chicken Bunker as the counter girl alongside manager Denny (Joshua Olatunde (name pattern anyone?)), hillbilly redneck Carl Jr. (Caleb Emerson), Mexican Paco Bell(Khalid Rivera), and Muslim Humus (Rose Ghavami). But strange things are happening behind the counter….and what’s with those veiny green eggs in the back…and the old man Arbie meets who seems to have a suspicious amount of things in common with him(Lloyd Kaufman)?
As Arbie’s coworkers begin to die gruesomely and unexplainably, the owner of the American Chicken Bunker, General Lee Roy(Robin Watkins) attempts to cover up the deaths and manages to turn the protestors into hungry paying customers with his tasty fried chicken…with the suspicious bubbling green flavor pods from the spirits of the Native Americans displaced…….Soon, strange things begin to happen to the customers who eat the food. They die and are reborn with feathers….and beaks! THEY ARE….NATIVE AMERICAN ZOMBIE CHICKENS! MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Now Arbie, Wendy, and the rest must fight for their survival against the invading horde of ultraviolent chicken zombies! Can they survive? How will they do it? Who will make it out alive? Just what is inside a human head when you smash it open on a griddle? Which is more powerful: Jesus, Mel Gibson, or a zombie chicken? ALL THESE QUESTIONS AND MORE SHALL BE ANSWERED!
The acting in this film is very good with everyone hitting the right blend of insanity, exaggeration, and emotion. Particularly good are Watkins’ General, Kaufman’s old man, and Ghavami’s Humus. The dialogue is always painfully funny in a truly dark and twisted way (“THE CHICKENS HAVE DECLARED JIHAD ON US ALL!” -Humus). While some might get offended by the sheer quantity of racial stereotype-related jokes, it’s important to point out that the jokes are always clearly by a more naive or racist character and that no one group seems to get it harder than any other group.
The songs are brilliantly funny though the song near the final confrontation suffers only from being too far from the previous songs. Singing talentwise, Graham’s Wendy is probably best, but none of the rest is terrible by any means. Any singing flaws are less noticeable overall given that you’re watching this particular type of movie and that the lines are so damn funny.
The thing that many people come to Troma’s films for though is the gore. And if there were ever a film that appears to at least come close to Dead Alive/Braindead in amounts of blood, bodily fluid, green slime, body parts, etc., it’s this one. If you like your movies to paint the room red with blood…or numerous other colors and textures, this movie may be one of the greatest things you’ll see this year and maybe ever.
Overall, as I’ve mentioned this film is not for the faint of heart. It’s violent, over-the-top, crass, at times disgusting and racist, and all around insane. But if you can handle having your sense of disbelief waterboarded, it’s one of the wildest and best rides of the year.