Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (2006)
Director(s): Lloyd Kaufman
Writer(s): Lloyd Kaufman, Daniel Bova, Gabriel Friedman
Starring: Jason Yachanin, Kate Graham, Robin L. Watkins
As I do with many of these FearTASTIC vaults, let’s delve back into my childhood for a bit before we get into this wonderful entry. Seeing that my journey into the world of horror genre started at a young age, by the time I was 10 or so, I found myself floating around the horror section of my local video store that boasted an impressive amount of movies and realizing that I have gotten to the point where I was renting the same movies for the second (or seventh) time! I moved on from the horror section and got my fill from the Sci – Fi area that had some decent horror flicks involving aliens and/or mutants and even made my way to the suspense section where a good number of flicks featuring stalkers / serial killers resided but nonetheless, stagnation in my horror realm was starting to creep over my psyche. Such was the feeling on a lazy weekend afternoon when I decided to move on from the horror section and maybe pick up a comedy to lift my spirits and that’s when the side of a VHS cover caught my eye with the word “TOXIC.” First thought that popped into my mind was why would the word toxic be in the comedy section? I picked up the box where the title alone was enough for me to bust out my wallet to pay for the viewing pleasure of The Toxic Avenger. This was excellent. A movie that was funny, bizarre and most importantly, had a monster walking around punishing evil – doers with great kill scenes. That was my entry into the movie company that is Troma Entertainment, led by the charismatic and eccentric director/writer/actor/President, Lloyd Kaufman.
I found myself trying to grab my hands around anything with the delightful Troma symbol which was quite the challenge in the days pre – internet (yes folks, I know I just dated myself *Sobs*). Enter the world of the San Diego Comic Convention. Now, I’ve been going to this convention since I was 14 and I remember almost being teary – eyed when I found out that Troma had its very own booth which featured a full set of their flicks, ready for the picking. Keep in mind that this was the adolescent years so the cash flow was not where it is today but the few bucks I did have, I spent mostly on movies that I could not find at my local video store, most notably, movies from Troma Entertainment. What was even more pleasant was that every time I would visit this booth there was a good chance that Mr. Lloyd Kaufman himself would be there greeting/schmoozing/pitching his fans. I’m not a filmmaker by any means and this FearTASTIC Vault is a temple for horror flicks that caught my attention but I’d like to think that if I were a filmmaker, I would bring the same joy, intensity and charm that Lloyd Kaufman has for his dear Tromaville world that he created from scratch.
Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead is an entry that I had picked up from Comic Con around 2006 and from the cover alone; I knew that this would be another great entry from Tromaville. This was a nice jab to the fast food industry mixed with an entertaining amount of comedy, gore and practical effects that I always come to expect from Troma flicks! The story takes place at the “American Chicken Bunker” which combines that ridiculousness of KFC and the stereotypical ignorance of the gun – toting extremists. This bunker however happened to be built at an Indian burial ground…covered in toxic waste (as such the case in most Troma movies set in Tromaville). It’s up to the band goofy folks including geeks, hot ladies and general FOOLS to stop the madness! The use of practical effects in these flicks is always a treat. I’m always up for some good mechanics and monster makeup than CGI any day because horror movies are always more fun when you can touch the thing your screaming / running from every time. This flick had a healthy amount of humor that ranges from the witty to the wonderfully stupid. Although this flick does not focus on the scares, I’ve always stated that as long as a horror movie entertains then it has more than done its job and this flick is entertaining on all cylinders. Most Troma flicks from my opinion focus on the fun of making movies and its reflection on the final product as oppose to tapping into the psyche of how to best make someone stay up at night which is COMPLETELY fine and welcome at this vault.
It’s easy to state that any movie from Troma Entertainment can easily be classified as cult, camp or fringe independent but to me, they are just entertaining movies from a unique point of view. The budgets are usually small, the stories hectic and plot lines have more of a social commentary that most would admit but I can’t help but smile, laugh and feel satisfied after watching something from Troma simply because it was obvious that a tremendous amount of heart and fun was put into every entry. Another admirable quality of the Troma world is its commitment to investing in future talent. There have been some memorable names that made their name in Tromaville like director James Gunn (from Slither and Guardians of the Galaxy fame) and South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The man leading the charge, Lloyd Kaufman, is the human embodiment of the best parts of Troma movies and it has been a pleasure to shoot the breeze with him and talk movies even for a brief period almost every year at Comic Con. So to Lloyd; thanks for making this kid smile…while mutant chickens peck off your nose.
Life is FAR more interesting when we take interest in things that scare us.