“The Chickening”: This horrific poultry-infused comedic short re-imagines Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining”

By on January 27, 2016

Filmmakers and VFX artists Nick DenBoer and Davy Force — using what they call their “anti-mation” video-editing skills — have created The Chickening, re-imaging what would have happened if Jack Torrance from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining was hired as the senior chief night manager at Charbay’s Chicken World and Restaurant Resort, the world’s largest fast-food entertainment complex, instead of an empty Overlook hotel.

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Some viewers might find this five-minute short mock trailer a little NSFW — honestly, we’re pretty sure this might be”safe for work” (questionable mostly for the salty language), but if you happen to work at KFC or Popeye’s, hell, why not have a sit-down with your boss and show it to him/her, and then ask them for a raise.

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If you’re prone to having seizures, you might wanna be careful, things are going to get a little clucked. It’s rated R, for “roosters and hens.”

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The five-minute short film wowwed crowds at the Toronto Film Festival, and just screened at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, last night (Monday, Jan. 26, 2016), where it is said to have rendered some audience members speechless. Some of them immediately began craving fried chicken. Other audience members wanted salad.

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The Chickening made its theatrical U.S. premiere at Fantastic Fest, in Austin, Texas, on September 25, 2015, and then the film began making the rounds at film festivals in the fall: Popcorn Frights Film Festival, Saskatoon Fantastic Fest , Beyond Fest – Los Angeles (we told you a October mostly-horror screening in L.A. here, but didn’t know about The Chickening at the time!), Telluride Horror Show, Knoxville Horror Fest, Dedfest, Celluloid Screams, Morbido Fest , Denver Film Fest, Nighthawk Shorts Fest, Shivers Genre Film Fest (Germany), and it will next be seen at Florida FF in Maitland, FL – April 8-16, 2016.

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The awesome cast includes Tim Beresford, Nick Di Brizzi, Cad Gold Jr., and Kenny Hotz (this Canadian producer and comedian, is a former “South Park” staff writer, award-winning writer for Vice, creator/star of Comedy Central’s “Kenny vs. Spenny,” creator and writer of the FX series “Testees” and Kenny Hotz’s “Triumph of the Will”).

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(L-R) Filmmaker Davy Force, actor/producer Kenny Hotz, TIFF programmer Colin Geddes, filmmaker Nick DenBoer, musician Nate Mills and actor Cad Gold Jr. attend the “Green Room” and “The Chickening” premieres during the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival at Ryerson Theatre on September 10, 2015 in Toronto, Canada

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Here’s what the filmmakers want you to know about their film:

The Chickening is the first of its kind in remixed, augmented cinema. It is a theatrical trailer for a fictional film in which Stanley Kubrick’s classic film The Shining has been artfully transformed into a new, poultry-­infused comedy adventure by digitally altering the film to create a new narrative.

This new style of filmmaking is a hilarious collision of classic films with modern day visual effects; ‘Cinegraffiti’ — the ultimate neo­nostalgic visual feast for this digital age.”

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Here’s the plot:

Jack Torrance takes a new job as senior chief night manager for “Charbay’s Chicken World” —a state­-of­-the-­art, volcano­-fried, fast-food poultry production facility and resort strategically built on an active volcano. Jack travels to the remote facility with his wife, Wendy, and 42­-year-­old man­-child son, Danny.

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During orientation, Mansturd Nurlman (regional manager of Charbay’s) mentions a new experimental product that is currently under development: “The Shiny” — a brand new BBQ sauce created in the research laboratory deep within the radioactive volcano. Strange things start happening to Jack after he tries the sauce, and he slowly begins morphing into a chicken creature and becomes unstable and aggressive.

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Scatmok (a hyper­dimensional alien) conspires with Danny and his little friend Tony (a snarky Italian man who happens to be Danny’s index finger) to steal the recipe for “The Shiny” but their plan is compromised when they realize the horrific side effects of the experimental BBQ sauce. Danny and Scatmok decide they must destroy the BBQ sauce pipeline in order to stop the spread of this condition that has mutated Danny’s father.

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Meanwhile, Jack has learned some of the restaurant’s darkest secrets from some of the other employees, including a potential cure for his condition. In the end, the restaurant is destroyed in a spectacular exploding BBQ sauce conflagration, with Wendy, Danny, Tony, Scatmok and a now­-cured but frozen­-solid Jack, who grumpily curses his former employers as they drive off in the Beak-Machine into the sunset.

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Nick DenBoer’s Showreel (2015)

Davy Force! Anti-Mation Reel (2016)

DenBoer and Force are longtime video remix artists, working with After Effects, Cinema 4D and LightWave for 3D modeling and match moving, Mocha for rotoscoping, Cubase for music production, and Premiere for editing.

DenBoer got in touch with Force after seeing his name on the credits for “Tim and Eric Awesome Shot, Great Job!,” and they became friends, collaborating on projects together. Their first was a “DC Shoes” remix, and they worked on a web series called “NewsHit” for Mondo Media.

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DenBoer had been doing weird remixed videos and “digitally alterning” films to create a new narrative for years, posting the results to Youtube, which lead to him getting work with Conan O’Briens “Team COCO” several years ago, writing/animating/producing dozens of videos for “Conan” on TBS which you can check out right here.

Here’s one of our favorites: “Alex Trebek Has Gone Insane Vol. 3″:

DenBoer had made a music video for his friend, Friendly Rich, where he took Star Trek TNG footage and added sausages, which may have helped to inspire the idea to re-work a classic like The Shining … with chicken!

They haven’t heard from the Kubrick estate, but a Warner Bros. exec saw The Chickening, and told them it made his brain hurt.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.