Made in 2006 by the Troma brain trust (Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz), it arrives with much ballyhoo as that company’s first in a projected monthly series of Blu-rays. The new video format has done wonders for some films, but the necessity of Troma on Blu-ray — any Troma movie, and there are plenty — seems like a joke from one of their outtake reels.
The press release is seasoned with pullquotes from movie reviewers some of you, ahem, trust. Nathan Lee, writing in the once-prestigious New York Times, claims this mishegas “plays like a grind house analogue to the psychosexual provocations of the artist Paul McCarthy and is every bit as liberating… It is just about as perfect a film predicated on the joys of projectile vomiting and explosive diarrhea can be.” The Times apparently pays its writers by the word.
The usually unreliable and easily swayed Ain’t It Cool News hails it “a masterpiece,” while Variety dubs it “a veritable Cluckwork Orange.” As the picture ruffled my feathers, I’d love to cry “fowl,” but at this point all the good henhouse references have been taken up. They’re as depleted as the movie itself.
With great pluck (sorry), Troma’s press release informs us that Mr. Kaufman “has been credited” (by whom we’re not told) for inventing the “slapstick gore” movie via The Toxic Avenger in 1985. It’s a gamy (ouch) subgenre with an audience: Poultrygeist was shot on 35mm, so figure these things turn a profit.
Despite Mr. Lee’s inebriated ramblings, I doubt he or anyone else could wade through this swill in one sitting. At this point I’m forty minutes into Poultrygeist, and even that had to be parceled over three grueling nights. So far it’s been a wearisome burlesque overstuffed with hiney and doodie jokes, minus the wit of a Charles Busch or the comparative restraint of a John Waters. Writing this, however, liberates me from watching the remaining hour. It also invalidates whatever premature opinions I may have. Just call me chickenshit.