The last time I saw a Lloyd Kaufman film was way back in 1999 when I witnessed "Terror Firmer," one of the funniest, over-the-top cult movies of that decade. It actually blew me away. It was way better and way more over-the-top than "The Toxic Avenger," Kaufmann's best known movie. I always knew that I should have seen "Tromeo and Juliet," a film that many apparently consider Kaufman's classic -- and the movie that launched the career of screenwriter James Gunn. But it wasn't horror and I never really got around to it.
Eight years later, I finally get the chance to see Kaufman's latest: a film that pays tribute to the very movies that James Gunn has been writing and directing since his days under Kaufman -- mainly "Slither" and the "Dawn of the Dead" remake. "Poultrygeist" is just as insane as "Terror Firmer," but not quite as good.
The film opens with the two main characters -- Arbie (played by Kaufman lookalike Jason Yachanin) and Wendy (played by uber gorgeous Kate Graham) -- getting it on in a graveyard identified by a sign as, yes, a cursed Indian burial ground. In a scene that starts out like something out of a bad teen sex comedy, then morphs into a tasteless, raunchfest involving a peeping tom and zombies, and finally climaxes with some gut wrenching, '80s style gore, we realize this is the kind of movie built to satisfy the most tasteless of exploitation fans. The movie pretty much never lets up from there.
About a year or so later, a fast food chicken restaurant has been built on the site of the graveyard. Our main characters have been separated for a while, with Wendy turning into an animal rights lesbian and Arbie now set to start a new job at the chicken restaurant. After the two confront each other at a protest in front of the restaurant, the movie morphs into a full-on sex/comedy musical -- not unlike that bizarre sex fantasy "Fairy Tales" from the 1970s, a kind of nudie musical is the only way to describe it. The plot thickens when bizarre, living eggs are discovered inside the fast-food kitchen. The plot thickens further when an obscenely obese patron of the restaurant eats one of the eggs, then has an explosive bladder attack inside the bathroom.
Eventually, after multiple songs -- including a lesbian love fest fantasy imagined by Arbie, and a song by "the Colonel," the chain store owner who swings in to town to see off his new restaurant -- the infestation of the restaurant creates chicken-nosed human zombies and you have the to-be-expected full-on zombie massacre at the end of the movie.
There's so much insanity packed into "Poultrygeist" that it's impossible to get it all on paper. But suffice it to say that it is a truly entertaining, crowd-pleasing cult gem. The best way to describe it may be as 'Evil Dead 2' on crack -- with songs and nudity. If there's a strike against it out there, it may be that it probably runs 15 minutes too long. How much obscene humor can one human being withstand in a viewing? Probably about 90 minutes. This goes on for 103.
But I'm not complaining. Kaufman is one of the last great trash filmmakers. 'Poultrygeist' proves he has not sold out one iota.
I like the ideas, but -- unless Gabe ptcehis in, here, with his dark secret memories -- none of these ring a bell. However, here are a couple from the top of my head...The feathers and blood spraying scene, shot wide as four random customers rush through the madness, was supposed to come out as a tribute to True Romance, the climax feathers/cocaine scene. It didn't really work out as we wished... blame Brendan for that failure.The long Denny speech ("I saw a chicken once") was Gabe's tribute to Jaws.The lingering shot of the child being pecked to death in the parking lot was Lloyd's tribute to The Birds.Obvious Thriller tribute (yawn).Toxic Avenger tribute via Arbie's t-shirt in the first song. Although this was more to allow Arbie to be part of Toxie's universe. (There was supposed to be a line somewhere in there about "Where's Toxie?" but it got cut. Along with a lot else.)No other ideas there right now... but a start for you. ;PAndy DProducer, Poultrygeist
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