Poultrygeist

 (2008)

by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Severed limbs, dangling intestines, festering sores, excrement, vomit, semen, blood, naked obese people on the toilet, zombie chickens, cannibalism, offensive racial stereotypes, decaying corpses, people having unfriendly encounters with meat slicers  ... and songs, songs, songs!

Who else could churn out such sleazy, vulgar nonsense but Lloyd Kaufman, the Troma baron?

If you don't like the gross-outs, well, there's also slapstick comedy, satires, plenty of exaggerated characters, calculated degeneracy, and enough shameless over-acting to embarrass Roberto Begnini.

Or perhaps you prefer nudity and sex of all kinds: masturbation, straight sex, three-ways, and hot girl-on-girl action. In fact, whatever else one says about this film, one must concede that the nudity is cute, with no sign of silicone, and the witty sex scenes are among the movie's best moments.

And somewhere in there, between the tits and the bodily fluids, there are a few good jokes and some pointed social criticism. Writer/producer/director/actor Lloyd Kaufman believes in throwing all the cinematic pasta up on the wall, in the hope that some of it will stick. Kaufman explained some of his theories about scattershot filmmaking in this CBC Q&A excerpted below:

Q: Your style could be characterized as ďeverything including the kitchen sinkĒ: slapstick, one-liners, musical numbers. Who are your main cinematic influences?

A: I think Preston Sturges is all over our films. His fond satire of American life is running through our films. I think Capra, too, has influenced our films. Thereís a sweetness to our movies, thereís a sympathetic side to all our characters, which is part of the reason that weíre still here.

Q: Any tips for aspiring young filmmakers?

A: Thereís no doubt you have to grovel in this business. But Iím good at it. Iím good at giving blowjobs to distributors. Hitchcock did it. Picasso did it. Van Gogh couldnít do it, so he cut his ear off and blew his brains out.

Q: You sing and dance in Poultrygeist. What prompted you to cast yourself in the movie?

A: Iím reliable; I know Iíll show up.

Actually I disagree with the interviewer's first question about "everything BUT the kitchen sink." Lloyd would never forget to include the kitchen sink in some depraved way. As for Lloyd's answers, well, some were delivered with his tongue buried in his cheek, and some are meant to be taken ... well, not "seriously" exactly, but with less irony than the others.

The basic plot outline of Poultrygeist involves a fried chicken franchise built upon the site of a sacred Indian burial mound. (Get the parallel to Poltergeist?) Not that the plot matters much. That premise really exists only to provide a loose framework for skits and gross-outs. And that's kind of a shame, because Poultrygeist, while not the kind of movie that will appeal to anyone but hardcore Troma fanatics, has the core of a genuinely good comedy buried somewhere within its calculated ignobility. In fact, after about a half-hour of this film, I was really enjoying it. For all its flaws, it seemed to be an uproarious oddball musical, in the same spirit as Trey Parker's Cannibal. There are several moments in the early going that I found truly inspired. For example, there are a couple of funny musical numbers (one topless), and a very funny opening scene in which two high school seniors spoon in a graveyard:

Oh, Arby, you're the best dry-humper in school.

Thanks, Wendy. That's what the guys on the basketball team say. (Pause) Wait. Who else have you been dry-humping?

Um ... (Non-plussed, she kisses him to distract him, then looks around.) Hey, are you sure we're safe here in the middle of the night?

Sure! Nobody has even come up here since those horny teens were decapitated ...

Unfortunately, ol' Lloyd Kaufman never knows when to shut off the faucet of bodily fluids, and every good joke is drawn-out well past the point when it could have ended up funny. Imagine if you will, two different gross parodies of The Sound of Music. In the first, the kids and Julie Andrews sing a happy, sappy parody song for a few seconds until they are all suddenly decapitated. That might be funny, but Troma would not do it that way. In the Troma version, the family would sing one note, then be decapitated, then fall around for three minutes spurting blood, shit, and vomit on one another while their severed heads sing the song.

The Aristocrats!

Everything at Troma is done to excess. It's their trademark. It's the reason why they have some die-hard fans.

But it's also the reason why they have so few.

DVD info not yet available.

 

THE CRITICS AND ACADEMIES

  Variety
2.5 Austin Chronicle (of 5 stars)
  Gotta love the Chronicle. They will review anything!
   
   

THE PEOPLE

   
6.3 IMDB summary (of 10)
   

 

 

 

THE BOX OFFICE

Commercial theatrical premiere: May 9, 2008.

 

 

MISCELLANEOUS

Press Kit

Official site

 

NUDITY REPORT

  • Kate Graham is topless (and Jason Yachinin shows his butt) in the opening graveyard scene.
  • Elske McCain flashes her breasts momentarily.
  • Kate Graham and Allyson Sereboff get topless and join Yachinin in a fantasy three-way.
  • The topless musical number is damned entertaining. It features Kate Graham (who can actually sing!) and Allyson Sereboff again. The background dancers include Anna Olson, Kristin Kinnaird, Kailin Smith, Lauren Michelle Watts, Lori Schuler, Melanie Syph, Stacy Koerner and Tina Crapsi. That's eight names listed in the credits, but there are only seven girls. I don't know which one is missing.
  • Anna Olson comes out of the chorus line to unleash her mammoth breasts in her own moment.
  • Finally, Kate Graham and Allyson Sereboff are seen topless one last time in a brief fantasy sequence.

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Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:

C+ or C-

If you define the genre as "Troma Films", it's a C+ because it is one of their best and most ambitious, maybe their very best. If you are a Tromaniac, you want this in your collection.

If you define the genre as lowbrow comedies, then it would be a C-, the kind of film which would please the true die-hard genre nuts, but would be considered repugnant by anyone else.