Friday, October 31, 2008
When Troma Entertainment asked if I’d like to review a “sneak beak” screener of Lloyd Kaufman’s latest Poultrygeist “Night of the Chicken Dead” I hesitated. Not only have I been a vegetarian for over two decades, but my friend Aimee, who I’ve known for nearly that long, is a tireless and inspiring fowl savior for the ASPCA and Farm Sanctuary. Then again I’m a sucker for the whole throwback to the 70s, “let’s put on a no budget midnight show” schlock, especially of early John Waters. Uh-oh. What to do? I decided to check IMDB for a plot synopsis.
“When the American Chicken Bunker, a military-themed fried-chicken chain, builds a restaurant on the site of an ancient Indian burial ground, local protesters aren't the only ones crying fowl! The previous tenants, fueled by a supernatural force, take "possession" of the food and those who eat it, and the survivors discover that they must band together before they themselves become the other white meat! Film lovers have been starved for sustenance. The relentless diet of predictability and pretense Hollywood has been serving up just doesn't cut it. Poultrygeist is hearty food for thought. In Poultrygeist, Troma takes on the fast-food industry – skewering the soulless restaurateurs – in the world's first horror-comedy film to feature zombie chickens, American Indians and a bit of singing and dancing! It's Poultrygeist!”
Well, if it’s “zombie” chickens I figured that was kosher. Though there is some dead bird eating and screwing (it’s a Troma film, people!), the fact that “Poultrygeist” is served deep fried in so much campy gore could do more to pass California’s Proposition 2 animal welfare ballot initiative (profiled in this week’s NY Times Magazine) than the most gruesome factory farming video. And, of course, also because it’s a Troma flick, it’s as silly and harmlessly sweet at its core as “High School Musical 3” (only with lots of girl-on-girl action, explosive bowel movements, references to Abu Ghraib, talking sandwiches – but, hey, the tunes are off-key catchy!)
And speaking of talking sandwiches, my favorite line in “Poultrygeist” comes courtesy of a puppet named Paco who laments, “America isn’t ready to accept a gay Mexican chicken sandwich.” No, Paco – though perhaps there’ll be a ballot measure soon.