JANUARY 4, 2009
It’s a shame that Troma has to make its living distributing garbage like Slaughter Party, because when they make a film on their own, such as Poultrygeist: Night Of The Chicken Dead, it’s a blast almost from start to finish. But all that other crap brings their reputation down, which bums me out. Best way to go about it – if Lloyd Kaufman actually directed it, chances are it’s gonna be pretty awesome, in that special Troma way. If Lloyd simply does an introduction... you probably want to steer clear.
Things get off to a great start: homoerotic dialogue, songs about lesbian sex, a broken finger being used as a butt plug, a reference to a pro vs anti bestiality debate in high school... everything one would want from a Troma film. And surprisingly, it more or less holds up over the course of its rather unnecessary 102 minute run time (90 should really be the max for any movie in which a guy literally shits himself out). It drags a bit in spots, and I really thought that I would get rather sick of it after 40 minutes, but I was still laughing and giggling by the time the credits rolled. Of course, the finale features a little girl running around with her mother’s decapitated head and then guzzling a beer, so even if the previous 90 minutes had been terrible, it would have gone out on a high note either way.
I was genuinely surprised at how legitimately funny the movie was too. The gross out gags and such are one thing, but what got me really rolling were the more random moments, like when a guy suddenly launches into a parody of Quint’s Indianapolis speech from Jaws, albeit about chickens in the city of Indianapolis (best line: “We didn’t have cell phones back then... and I couldn’t afford a pager.”). Also, the main character is prone to clueless meta dialogue, thanking his future self for inexplicably knowing so much about him and things of that nature. One line that didn’t really work though was when he says “this ends now!” and then turns to the camera and says “or in 15 minutes”. It wasn’t funny anyway, but it’s not even accurate, there’s another 25 to go at that point (again – the movie could be shorter).
Another bummer is that it stops being a musical after a half hour or so. The songs are cheesy fun, and a welcome change of pace from what could have been a Terror Firmer rehash. But they are dropped out rather unceremoniously, and replaced with rock songs on the soundtrack (the “Dream Police”esque theme song is a winner though). Also, the audio quality on the whole is rather poor – whenever things get loud, the sound drops down as if to adjust itself. Very annoying.
If you notice, I don’t list zombie as one of the genres. That’s because the zombies are only in it briefly, and don’t really do anything. Most of the carnage is caused by chicken-men and bodily fluids. You might be disappointed in the lack of traditional zombie action, but honestly, I never even really noticed until a brief moment near the end when they are tricked into walking away from the restaurant that the entire movie takes place at.
Final nice surprise – Caleb Emerson, of Die You Zombie Bastards fame (DYZB even gets referenced!), plays one of the characters and also worked as an AD. When I reviewed his film, I noted that he had sadly gone onto Splatter Disco, so I am happy to see him rebound with his work here. Let’s hope Uncle Lloyd keeps him around and gives him his own film. Both this and Zombie Bastards represent the type of no-budget indie films I wish I could see more often, instead of bullshit Saw/Hostel clones.
I didn’t get the 2nd disc with all the extras yet, but disc 1 has a great commentary by Lloyd and Nathan Fillion sound-alike Gabriel Friedman, the film’s writer and editor. It’s a great track, as they talk mainly about all the problems and things they needed to overcome when making the film. It was apparently a very tense shoot, with lots of fighting being discusses (or, more accurately, discussed around). And it’s just as funny as the movie: at one point Lloyd alludes to a crewmember demanding more money and “playing a certain card”, to which Friedman replies “A tarot card?”. Disc one also has a bunch of trailers and a music video for the theme song (which I have placed below in lieu of the trailer). When I get disc 2 I will update with whatever I watched. It’s kind of hard because, being a Troma film, it’s not something I can watch openly at work (I listened to the commentary with the movie minimized to the taskbar – luckily it’s not particularly scene-specific).
Obviously the movie’s not for everyone, but if you’re a fan of Toxie or Terror Firmer, it should be right up your alley. And as Lloyd points out, it’s the only 35mm movie made between 2005-2007 that doesn’t have any CGI, so there’s something.
What say you?