Toronto After Dark 2007: Poultrygeist Night of the Chicken Dead
After a year of college Arbie has lost his high school virtuous sweetheart, the beloved Wendy, to a lesbian activist group. They are leading a protest against the latest American Chicken Bunker being put up in their town. The thing is, this American Chicken Bunker was built on the Tromahawk Tribe Indian burial ground and the angry spirits of the deceased want revenge. Through a number of increasingly violent and bloody deaths it is just possible they may succeed. Only Arbie stands in the chicken zombie horde's way. Can he save the day, the restaurant and the girl before all is lost?
Kaufman’s film is an exercise in human filth, social impertinence, cultural intolerance, gore, nudity doused in profuse volumes of bodily fluid. But, Poultrygeist is also a celebration of American independent cinema. It is the example of that ‘do it your own damn way’ approach to movie making that makes it special; never bowing to the system even if it means financial loss. Is it irreverent? Yes. Is it borderline racist? Perhaps. Is it edifying? Not at all. Is it a lot of fun? Hell yes.
However, there’s a catch to being this lewd and crude and disgusting, and that this level of offensiveness doesn’t really lend itself to solitary viewing. Poultrygeist is at its best when viewed by a large audience. We groan and cry out at the massive spray of human liquid excrement together. We laugh and cheer at each death, at the guy with the huge pecks [literally!] and group vomiting. Someone finds you on your own watching this and suddenly you have to explain yourself and why medication is not the best answer for your problems. Poultygeist finds its success in the experience, not the execution, because we all know that Troma films are notorious for being weakly made, if only in comparison to their inside-the-box brethren.
And because Kaufman is not bound by the rules of convention or good taste he can make and damn movie he pleases. And even though we were offended, repulsed or grossed out you can’t say that there were many folks in that theatre last night who didn’t wish, even a little bit, that Mr. Kaufman find that money that he needs to make his next Troma film.