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Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead

Troma Trashes Fast Food Nation with Kentucky Fried Musical

Itís been 22 years since Troma Entertainment last made a big-screen splash with Class of Nuke íEm High, a typically stomach-turning satire about small-town teens growing up, but not old, in the shadow of a nuclear power plant. Since then, infamous auteur Lloyd Kaufmanís fiercely independent studio has floundered with a series of mostly straight-to-DVD releases, including seminal titles like Maniac Nurses Find Ecstasy and Killer Condom.

Poultrygeist, Kaufmanís latest theatrical venture and first solo directorial effort since 2000ís bToxic Avenger IV, makes one thing clear: the 62-year old New York native has lost none of his appreciation for reanimated corpses, explosive diarrhea and thinly veiled political barbs that skewer the left and the right with equal delight.

Whether you can appreciate Kaufmanís equal-opportunity bashing -- here, his favorite targets include liberal, protest-minded lesbians and the fast-food moguls responsible for the super-sizing of America -- depends largely on your tolerance for his low-budget gross-out gags, which remain as defiantly unsophisticated today as they were in 1974, when he co-founded Troma with fellow Yalie Michael Herz. For the uninitiated, that means plenty of decapitations, scatological splatter and projectile vomit, though one would be remiss not to mention the filmís most notable offering, Paco Bell, a flamboyant minimum-wager ground to pieces and reincarnated as a talking chicken sandwich.

The action begins at the brand-new American Chicken Bunker, a KFC-style monstrosity owned by the General (Robin Watkins) and operated by characters with names like Wendy, Arbie and Carl Jr. The long-suffering citizens of Tromaville line up for the grand opening, some to protest, others simply to writhe and squeal like pigs under the hot New Jersey sun. Chaos ensues when the lunch crowd begins to chow down on the Generalís chicken, only to undergo a messy metamorphosis into an army of zombie chickens hungry for human flesh.

What else would you expect when you build a rancid chicken shack on a Native American burial ground? Kaufmanís latest, which incorporates crass musical numbers into its heady mix, is unapologetically tasteless and raunchy to the extreme; it wouldnít live up (or is that down?) to the Troma standard otherwise. But itís not without a legitimate axe to grind.

Poultrygeist is the kind of satire that takes a sledgehammer to its targets, and Kaufman is only too happy to smash the fast-food industry to a fetid pulp. Itís not pretty, and the humor is sometimes embarrassingly puerile. But for those with a passion for subversive trash -- you know who you are -- Troma Entertainment is still serving it in generous helpings on a bile-covered platter.

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars