Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead

Film Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Musical Horror Comedy Funniest Film of Year Thusfar

General Lee Roy (Robin Watkins), a rank and file member of the Ku Klux Klan, also happens to be the CEO of American Chicken Bunker, a leading chain of fast food restaurants. The General has decided to go forward with plans to build his next franchise atop a sacred Native American burial ground, in spite of the presence of a plaque warning that, “Desecrators will be cursed to the full extent of the ancient tribal law.”
Ignoring some very vocal local opposition, he proceeds to bulldoze the graveyard, unaware that disturbing the remains of the Tromahawk Nation will trigger freaky fallout no one could have ever anticipated. For, the spirits of the ancestors magically merge with the fowl being served at the restaurant, turning the birds into a revenge-minded horde of man-eating zombies.
This is the point of departure of Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead, the latest offering from Lloyd Kaufman (The Toxic Avenger) of Troma Entertainment. This go-round, the legendary director has fashioned an alternately hilarious and shocking, gender-bending, genre-mixing, musical horror flick which defies description at every turn.
And while thoroughly entertaining you with everything ranging from blood-curling screams to gruesome displays of vivisection to a topless lesbian revue to bodily function humor to politically-incorrect ethnic jokes, the movie saves plenty of time to deliver some deadly serious messages about consumerism, sexism, racism and, above all, about animal rights .
The picture stars Jason Yachanin as Arbie, a recent high school grad who can’t afford to go to college because his mom’s retarded and his father’s blind. Meanwhile, his departing girlfriend, Wendy (Kate Graham), promises to remain loyal while away at school, only to fall in love with a gay, activist classmate, Micki (Allyson Sereboff).
The plot thickens after Arbie discovers that Wendy’s cheating on him when the two show up to picket the new restaurant on opening day. In an impulsive jealous reaction, he applies for a job there, and soon joins a staff with curious names evocative of famous fast food franchises. For instance, there’s store manager Denny (Joshua Olatunde), and co-workers Carl Jr. (Caleb Emerson) and Paco Bell (Khalid Rivera).
What ensues is a jaw dropping combination of silly, sexy and sadistic skits not to be missed. Accolades are in order for director Kaufman (who also plays Arbie’s elderly alter ego) for dreaming up a neverending array of imaginative ways to knock off the cast members in his high attrition rate production.
More importantly, he very powerfully drives home the point that it’s high time humans question the selfish practice of mass-production and harvesting of animal flesh merely for our consumption. I’m sure it sounds oxymoronic, but like a kinky cross of John Waters and John Woo, Poultrygeist is a sophisticated splatter flick as likely to enlighten as to keep an audience in stitches.

Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 99 minutes
Studio: Troma Entertainment

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