Saturday, November 25, 2017

BAD CINEMA: POULTRYGEIST: NIGHT OF THE CHICKEN DEAD

My friend is a guru of bad B-movies, and he has instilled in me a love of this genre of films so bad they are good. A couple of weeks ago, we went to a midnight viewing of the film Poultrygeist: Night Of The Chicken Dead. Yes, that is the name of movie - it was everything I thought the movie was and more!

The film is a 2006 black comedy musical-horror film from Troma Entertainment, directed by Lloyd Kaufman and co-directed by former long-time Troma editor Gabriel Friedman from a screenplay by Friedman and Daniel Bova. Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead was released in 2006 in theaters and in 2008 on DVD. Poultrygeist follows a group of consumers and ordinary citizens who are trapped inside a New Jersey fried chicken fast food restaurant – the American Chicken Bunker – which is being attacked by a chicken-possessed zombie demonic alien spirit because the building is erected on top of a sacred Native American burial ground. The protagonist is Arbie (Jason Yachanin), an ACB employee trying to win back the heart of his ex-girlfriend Wendy (Kate Graham), an activist protesting against the restaurant, who has left Arbie for another woman.

Poultrygeist first began as a spec script of the same title submitted to Troma Entertainment by Daniel Bova around 2002. After a number of re-writes at the hands of several Troma employees, the script reached a final draft in 2004, completed by long-time Troma editor Gabriel Friedman. Then given the title Poultrygeist: Attack of the Chicken Zombies, Troma heavily promoted the film in the mid-2000s in an attempt to gain funding, though ultimately failed to secure adequate financing.

The budget for Poultrygeist was roughly around $500,000, a typical budget for a Troma film. A large part of the film's financing came out-of-pocket from Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz, while Kaufman and his wife, Patricia Swinney Kaufman, dipped into their personal retirement savings to help fund the film.


Much of Poultrygeist's crew was made up entirely of volunteers who had answered advertisements posted by Troma on such websites as Craigslist and horror-based message boards looking for available crew members. According to Fangoria, hundreds of people applied, and volunteers traveled from as far as Sweden, Germany, Australia and numerous parts of the United States to work on the film, serving in various crew positions or as production assistants. Duggie Banas, who composed the movie's musical numbers, became attached to the film after answering an online ad looking for composers who'd be willing to work on a film for free. Many of the props and masks featured in the film were donations from special effects studios from around the world.

Shot on 35 mm film by long-time Troma cinematographer Brendan C. Flynt, principal photography for Poultrygeist took place during the summer of 2005 at an abandoned McDonald's in the Bailey-Kensington neighborhood of Buffalo, New York. Over 80 crew members and 300 unpaid extras worked on the film. A nearby abandoned church was rented out by Troma, where over 70 cast and crew members resided for the duration of the shoot, despite only housing one working bathroom.


As chronicled in Poultrygeist's making-of documentary Poultry in Motion: Truth Is Stranger Than Chicken, the production was plagued with numerous problems, including malfunctioning special effects, delayed and over-scheduled filming, pay disputes with the actors and even the restaurant set being prematurely deconstructed on the last day of shooting. Despite the production hardships, Poultrygeist managed to successfully complete its principal photography by August 2005.

The film is no Citizen Kane, and I was worried I could stay awake seeing this film at midnight, but the film kept me captivated. The musical numbers were great, and even though the acting was cheesy - I laughed a lot and just simply enjoyed this crazy movie...

MY BAD RATING: 10 OUT OF 10


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