The Chickening, a five-minute film that’s been making the festival rounds, has just landed on the Internet — and once you’ve watched it, you’ll definitely be wondering “What the cluck?” Nick DenBoer and Davy Force’s completely bonkers movie (which played at Sundance yesterday) takes footage from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and re-edits it with layers upon layers of digital effects and animation. The result is a faux-trailer for a fictional horror movie about a family caught in a fast-food-chicken conspiracy. Watch it above (warning: strong language and disturbing imagery).
In The Chickening, the sinister Overlook Hotel from The Shining becomes Charbay’s Chicken World, “the largest fast foot entertainment complex in North America,” where Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) is hired to be the night manager. His son is a potty-mouthed man-child with facial hair, whose imaginary friend, Tony, becomes a fedora-wearing talking finger. The film’s sinister ghost twins are a hip-hop duo. And thanks to an evil barbecue sauce recipe, Jack not only goes mad, he literally turns into a chicken. Also, Scatman Crothers’s character is a green-skinned alien. And these are just the parts that made sense on a first viewing.
It should surprise no one that directors, co-writers, and animators DenBoer and Force have been involved with the edgier side of animated film for years, contributing to Adult Swim, Mondo Media, and Spike and Mike’s Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation. According to press materials on the official Chickening website, this new film is their attempt to establish a new style of filmmaking called “Cinegraffiti,” which they describe as “a hilarious collision of classic films with modern day visual effects… the ultimate neonostalgic visual feast for this digital age.” As for whether The Chickening could become a full-length film, the directors are open to the possibility, saying, “ It is a sample of things to come. We have an extended version plotted out, however we can apply this technique to just about any film…We are really excited to do more of this type of work.”