Thursday, December 8, 2016

Repugnant Review: Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (2006) - Lloyd Kaufman

Do you have certain movies you watch several times a year, and never get bored with? Poultrygeist if definitely at the top of my list, and it's even become a Thanksgiving ritual for my friends and I. Directed and written by Lloyd Kaufman, and co-written by Gabe Friedman and Daniel Bova, Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead is an outrageous comedic horror musical, packed to the gills with enough blood, gore, and politically incorrect humor to cause a riot at both whiny college campuses, and grindhouse theaters. This movie doesn't shy away from anything, making you laugh and gag at every single scene you see. I've seen this a thousand times, so I could talk about how much I love everything about this movie, but I'll go into some of my favorite aspects of the film in great detail. This movie does not disappoint.

Poultrygeist follows a fast food themed cast of characters who work in a military themed restaurant called American Chicken Bunker, which happened to be built on top of the Ancient Troma-Hawk Burial Ground. The uncooked carcasses of the dead chickens are possessed by the angry souls of Native Americans, and begin to kill, and possess, all those who work, and eat there. It's a pretty incredible concept, and one of the coolest things about Troma films, is the political and environmental messages in their films. Lloyd practically takes a dig at everyone in this film, by calling out the unfair and disgusting work practices in fast food franchises, mega-conglomerates killing small businesses with cheap practices, the displacement of Native American land by corporations for profit, and the last one is even more relevant now, considering all the trouble happening at Standing Rock this year. Not only does he depict the right as fear mongering tyrants, he definitely picks on the left quite a bit, mostly by calling out trust-fund college protesters for being hypocrites and not really doing much to help anything. Not a whole lot of film-makers do that now-a-days, with most of Hollywood pushing their own ideologies on the world, both overwhelmingly liberal, and... uhhh, Clint Eastwood picking up the conservative rear. I personally lean towards the left, but the fact there are people like Lloyd Kaufman in the world, poking fun at both sides, is just wonderful. That is my favorite thing in this movie, and practically everything else he has written and directed.

With the success of The Toxic Avenger: The Musical, do you think we'll ever see a theater adaptation of Poultrygeist? With it's witty and satirical songs against fast food, and major corporations, I think it would be smash hit, and relatable in todays society. It's very reminiscent of another well known Troma musical, Cannibal! The Musical, by Trey Parker. The songs are catchy, well constructed, and absolutely hilarious. Even writing this now, all I can hear is "When I rolled out of bed today, little did I know Wendy was gay...", and so on. I could see this up there with The Book of Mormon, and I'm going to be surprised if this never gets any kind of theater adaptation.

Other than the movie itself, I absolutely love the documentary that comes with the DVD and Blu-ray. Poultry in Motion captures all of the disfunction and frustration that comes with making a Troma movie. I thought Lloyd was going to have a stroke the entire time, seeing him lose his mind over everything and everyone. It's a hilarious, but also an insightful documentary, literally showing you the day to day life of an independent film-maker working on his next masterpiece. It gives you a behind look at every job on the film; make-up, lighting, sound, director of photography, set building, everything. I've watched it a few times, and it's something I love to watch when I want to get motivated to work on my projects, and I wouldn't be surprised if film school teachers have shown their students this. I would.

Lastly, thanks to Lloyd Kaufman and the Troma team for uploading these movies on to Youtube for free, so that anyone who wanted to get into Troma, can see the best of his work, including all of the other films Troma produced and released. I already own Poultrygeist on DVD and Blu-ray, but knowing I could watch these for free on the go is just the coolest, and if it weren't for this channel I wouldn't of watched a lot of what Troma offers in their catalog. I want you to please check this movie out, you won't be disappointed, especially if you're a gore-hound who has a fondness for chickens and Native Americans. I'll link the movie, and the documentary below. Let me know what you think!

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