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Fowl Play

Poultrygeist Lives Up To Its Moronic Moniker

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The first zombie chicken musical splatter flick, Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead is as good/bad as Troma gets. With their low-rent, late-'70s porno production values, actors with more enthusiasm than talent and Ed Wood-worthy F/X, Troma movies have always been something of an acquired taste. But for anyone with an abiding passion for The Toxic Avenger (or its myriad sequels) and who thinks that Tromaville - the setting of nearly every Troma brain cell rotter - looks like a fun place to live, Poultrygeist totally lives up to its moronic moniker.

Set principally at a fast-food emporium (American Chicken Bunker) inconveniently built atop an Indian burial ground (don't you hate when that happens?), the film is a typically broad, chaotic Troma mélange of subversive political satire, T&A, bargain basement gross-out effects and musical production numbers scored to South Park-ian songs. What little plot there is revolves around chickens - or "chicken-flavored foodstuffs" - returning from the dead to wreak havoc on the living. And these zombie chickens turn out to be one hungry bunch of flesh-eating fowl.

Ostensible hero Arbie (Jason Yachanin) still pines after high-school sweetheart Wendy (Kate Graham), even though she's become a proud, card-carrying member of CLAM (Collegiate Lesbians Against Mega-Conglomerates) who wants to close down the Bunker. And that's even before the chickens come home to roost. The lesbian angle is just an excuse for director/co-writer/Troma major domo Lloyd Kaufman to indulge in some salacious girl-on-girl action. Kaufman, bless his heart, is clearly an auteur who knows his audience.

Just how flagrantly un-PC is Poultrygeist? Burka-clad Muslim line cook Hummus (Rose Ghavami) gets to utter the movie's most immortal line, "Shi-ite!", after "filthy, illiterate, homo Mexican" co-worker Paco Bell (Khalid Rivera) is ground up into Sloppy José fixings by a pissed-off bird. If none of that sounds even remotely amusing, you're clearly not the intended audience for Night of the Chicken Dead. For everyone else, it's pretty clucking awesome. And as an added bonus, filmmaker Kaufman will attend both shows at the Cinematheque.

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