“As Jesus said as he died, yo biznatch please! Revenge is a dish best served fried”
Every now and then a horror movie comes along that takes you by complete surprise in ways you couldn’t even prepare yourself for. Just when you think you’ve seen the most grotesque, crude and utterly hilarious moment in the film, it hits you with something that takes it up a notch on the insanity scale. Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead does all of the above which makes it an incredibly difficult movie to review because it’s one of those “you really should see it for yourself” kind of things but I’m going to give it my best shot and try to do it justice.
Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead is a 2006 black comedy musical-exploitation film from Troma Entertainment, directed by Lloyd Kaufman. Troma films are Z-movies known for their surrealistic nature, along with their use of shocking imagery; some would categorize them as “shock exploitation films”. They typically contain overt sexuality, nudity, and intentionally sadistic, gory, and blatant graphic violence, so much that the term “Troma film” has become synonymous with these characteristics.
High school sweethearts Arbie (Jason Yachanin) and Wendy meet the day before Wendy’s departure to college to consummate their relationship in the Tromahawk Indigenous peoples of the Americas burial ground, promising to each other that no matter what happens, they will always stay faithful to each other. Wendy is grossed out after spotting a man getting off to their lovemaking; he is later killed by zombie hands spouting from the ground which tear through his system and out of his mouth, grabbing Arbie’s underwear that the peeper was masturbating with. One college semester later, Arbie returns to the spot of his one and only sexual encounter but is shocked to discover two unsettling realities: not only has the burial ground been bulldozed and replaced by an American Chicken Bunker, a mega-conglomerate fast food franchise, but college has turned his dear Wendy into a “leftist, lipstick lesbo liberal”, protesting the construction of the fried chicken menace with her activist girlfriend Micki.
Arbie does what we would all surely do in such a situation, he breaks into the first surprisingly catchy musical number of the film, that’s right. Out for revenge, Arbie decides to get a job at the American Chicken Bunker. Under the supervision of paranoid manager Denny, Arbie is thrust into the monotony of minimum wage with a variety of colourful co-workers: the effeminate Mexican Paco Bell, a redneck fry cook with a sexual fetish for uncooked chicken carcasses, the burqa-clad Muslim Hummus and a mysterious 60-year-old man in the restaurant’s basement who has worked as the restaurant’s costumed mascot all his life and has a virtually identical similar background to Arbie. Oh and then there’s Gen. Lee Roy, the antagonistic villainous founder of the American Chicken Bunker, modelled after Colonel Sanders, he apparently has a diaper fetish.
It soon becomes pretty obvious that strange things are afoot at American Chicken Bunker. While grinding meat, Paco is pushed into the meat grinder by an uncooked chicken. General Lee Roy decides not to do anything, and lets Paco get turned into a sloppy José. Arbie begins to unravel a sinister plot involving the spirits of disenfranchised Native Americans and the billions of slaughtered chickens sent to the “concentration coops” who plan on exacting their revenge in the most gruesome ways possible, after being told so by Paco (who is reanimated as a sloppy José). Carl. Jr, who is having intercourse with an uncooked chicken in the storage room, fights the uncooked chicken when it starts biting his penis. Hummus manages to kill the uncooked chicken by shoving a broom up Carl’s backside, though it tears off his penis (you read that correctly).
Soon after, Gen. Lee Roy uses Micki to convince the other protesters that his chicken is delicious, through song of course. The protesters enter the restaurant and begin ordering food, not knowing that it has become contaminated by the blood of Paco Bell and Carl Jr. It’s not long before many of the customers, workers, and protesters turn into psychotic, bloodthirsty, enraged zombie chickens.
This leads to one of the goriest scenes in the movie and quite possibly any movie I’ve seen, seriously its right up there with Braindead. The zombie chickens tear people apart, chop them into pieces, make puns and generally cause absolute bloody carnage, it’s a glorious feast for anyone that appreciates practical effects and creative kills in horror movies. It’s plain to see that the film is taking a clear stab at fast food restaurants and the ways in which they treat/produce their livestock. The chicken zombies pull one guy apart, using his legs like a wishbone and then we see one crack open someone’s skull like an egg and then proceed to fry their brain. Basically, they kill the people in all the sorts of ways that chickens are killed or prepared.
Following this is highlight after highlight of complete absurdness. General Lee Roy turns into a zombie chicken and then decapitates Denny (who is telling a story about the first time he encountered a chicken), it’s seriously funny. The mascot (Lloyd Kaufman) shoots all the chicken zombies inside with an M-16 machine gun. Then General Lee Roy zombie returns, but is shot down by the mascot. As the old man approaches towards the General, he gets his nose ripped off by a now zombie chicken Denny. Arbie then shoots and kills Denny but not before delivering possibly my favourite one liner of the film which I won’t spoil. Hummus drinks meat steroid in an attempt to save them, and accidentally kills herself in the process. It’s moment after moment and doesn’t let up for a second, say what you want about the movie but you definitely cannot accuse it of slow pacing.
I won’t say anymore, if I haven’t convinced you to see it for yourself by now then there’s nothing more I could really say anyway.
Not only is the film truly impressive in the effects and gore department but it’s just thoroughly entertaining thanks to its strong acting, relentless energy and the fact that it takes itself seriously but not so seriously that it loses the general sense of hilarity that binds it all perfectly. The dialogue is riddled with excellent one liners that will have you laughing but also deeply offend some but that is of course the whole point and it succeeds completely. It’s absolutely fucking crazy and I loved every moment of it. I had no idea what it was going to do next but it always managed to surprise me. It may not be a dramatic masterpiece or anything but it’s seriously entertaining and one hell of a fun ride from start to finish. Jason Yachanin is excellent as Arbie, he really goes for it in every scene and his delivery had me in stiches on more than one occasion. The characters, the gore, the songs, the comedy, I could talk about it for much longer but I’ll simply say it one more time instead; see it for yourself to truly understand.
Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead