In retrospect, Poultrygeist probably wasn't the best film to be eating a large meal at. But I couldn't help it; Bear Tooth has such good food. I can't sit through a movie there without scarfing down a pizza, or their Pesto Treats, or their steak and cheese nachos. If there isn't a law against going to the Bear Tooth without eating, there should be. But still, had I given it much thought, and considered that I was about to watch a Troma film, one directed by Lloyd Kaufman himself, I probably would have opted out of the Brewhouse Favorite pizza. Luckily food was delivered during the opening scene, which, as vile as it was, was still tolerable and well within expected Troma standards. However, a few minutes into the movie, when Michael Herz showed up and proceeded to disrobe while the audience got a way-too-personal view of his bathroom behavior, I pushed my pizza away, never to be touched again(actually not true, I had leftovers for lunch the next day).
To be honest, Troma films haven't changed much over the last 20 years(they've been in operation for over 30, but I only became aware of them with the Toxic Avenger in the late 80s), which is either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on who you ask. I suppose I'm of the opinion that it's a good thing, and Troma has certainly cultivated and appeased a very rabid audience with their shenanigans. I myself have grown past the time in my life where I avidly devoured Troma films and bought whole-heartedly into their gung-ho obscenity, but every now and then I'm in the mood for some mindless T&A, gore, and outrageously indecent humor(to call it politically incorrect would be a vast understatement).
And yet, with Poultrygeist, there's some sign of growth. Sure, the jokes are meant to offend more than to make any actual point, the gore is nonstop and amateurish, the cast is full of people who, though they lack talent, have no shortage of enthusiasm, and Mr. Kaufman seems to be of the opinion that fart noises make everything high-larious, but it all comes together much more smoothly than in any film of theirs I've seen since the original Toxie. Lloyd Kaufman(and co-screenwriters Daniel Bova and Gabriel Friedman) seem to have a pretty sharp satirical eye(the faux-lesbian, anti-corporate protesters all drink Starbucks), but for the most part are content to go for the easy mark, and opt for buckshot rather than precision sniper fire. Oh yeah, and it's a musical(at least for the first half).
A lot of credit for the success of this film needs to go to it's two leads, who are not just good in comparison to past Troma actors, but are actually decent actors.. Kate Graham(Wendy) and Jason Yachanin(Arbie, yes, all the characters are named after restaurant chains) play high school sweethearts reunited after a semester of college. Wendy is now a lesbian protesting the arrival of a new chicken restaurant because it was built on an old Indian Burial Ground, and Arbie takes a job at the place to spite/impress her. Of course, undead chickens begin to rise, creating undead chicken/human hybrid zombies. The two leads make the most of a script that occasionally asks them to pantomime wild sex with a cash register and cross eyed exclamations of surprise and show some real presence and comic timing. Kate Graham is particularly notable for her excellent singing voice, which is nice enough that I was paying as much attention to that as I was to her lesbian make-out sessions during the musical numbers.
Poultrygeist is the first Troma film I've ever seen in a theatre, with an audience not completely made up of my trash-loving friends, and I have to say, the change in surroundings did wonders. Apparently the audience the night before was no so appreciative, with about half of the spectators walking out, but my audience seemed to get it. Riotous laughter filled the theatre, and there were even a few claps at the end of the movie.
And so, take it from me, Poultrygeist is the best musical horror film about undead chickens with a scene in which a man grows breasts that turn out to be eggs that give birth to baby chickens and then he begins to regurgitate food for them that you will ever see.
Or at least in the top 5.
Just don't plan on eating anything else that night.