Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Day We've All Been Waiting For

Paranormal Activity, eat your $11,000 heart out. Better yet, let a killer turkey wearing the skin and mustache of your father do it for you and save $7,500 in the process.
ThanksKilling is, as you would expect, an amazing feat worthy of holiday feasting. Shot in 11 days by undergrads on vacation, it provides a hearty and much needed serving of November themed cheesiness, perfect because a) in light of Halloween, New Year’s Evil, Silent Night Deadly Night, Uncle Sam, and every other festive horror film to honor a day off, there’s still never been an adequate Thanksgiving equivalent and b) Thanksgiving dinner typically involves no cheese.
Quick Plot: In 1621 (aka “the olden days”) the first Thanksgiving ended with a close-up of a large breast (provided by porn star Wanda Lust, dressed partially as a Pilgrim). Shortly after this shot, a wild and axe-wielding turkey makes his entrance, spilling blood into the opening credits and spewing profanity with anachronistic glee.

505 years later--because apparently, ThanksKilling takes place in the near future, when college students continue a rapid decline of IQ into Idiocracy territory and talking turkeys are not a terribly surprising sight to behold--a forest hermit’s collie lifts his leg over the turkey’s grave. Like Freddy Krueger four films in, the gobbling terror rises to call women bitches, slaughter some fools, and abuse the art of punning. 
His major prey is a quintet of college idiots that can’t stop whooing about Thanksgiving Break! I don’t recall those three days of freedom being an occasion to rip off my tank top or flash my not-friends, but then again, I also never knew the first Thanksgiving was celebrated in an extremely warm climate where tank tops and cutoffs were appropriate for late November weather. So basically, America is filled with little known facts about our most gluttonous holiday.

Fortunately, there are things called ‘books’ that sheriffs keep hidden in their garages, providing our young characters with something called ‘answers’ (carefully coded in mathematical formula, natch).  After meeting the bloodthirsty bird en route home, Kristen (the good girl), Ali (the airhead), Billy (the big guy), Darren (the nerd) and Johnny (because as Deadgirl taught us, every film about young people needs a jock named Johnny) find some of their family members slaughtered and lament the end of homemade pumpkin pie (seriously). 

ThanksKilling is a pretty ridiculous film, but gobbly goodness is it a fun time. Seeing a turkey wearing a Groucho set of disguise glasses shouldn’t be funny, but seeing that same turkey, in those glasses, drinking coffee with a sheriff (who is himself dressed as a turkey) and trying to chat about the weather did indeed make me giggle. And (SPOILER ALERT), watching the same turkey wear that sheriff’s face a la Hannibal Lector/Otis Firefly and convincing his daughter he simply got a haircut...well...yes, I really enjoyed this movie.

High Points
A montage about reading has a vague Wet Hot American Summer going-into-town feel that is actually quite funny, as is a quick romanticized friendship scene scored to an original song reminiscent of South Park
There’ s something hugely refreshing about a film that knows not only to not take itself seriously, but to also not force artificial emotion on its audience. Yes, stock characters meet their fate in the expected order, but there’s no wasted time mourning such artificial people, thankfully sparing the audience any extra actorly challenges

Low Points
Was it poor editing, or were the filmmakers just incredibly proud of themselves and their Jon Bonet Ramsey joke that they decided to use it three times?
Lessons Learned
Never call a turkey a duck
If Monster taught us anything, it’s that picking up hitchhikers in the hopes of having sex with them typically does not end well
You can tell what type of animal pecked out a rabbit’s guts by examining the beak marks
Just because something laying on the side of the road glows does not mean it belongs in your stomach
Learning how to read takes about the same amount of time as having safe sex with a turkey
Winning Line
“I’m gonna drink your blood like cranberry sauce.”
Now I feel bad for the turkey. He apparently has never had a very fulfilling Thanksgiving dinner, or he’d know that cranberry sauce shouldn’t be so thin as to be drinkable.
At 66 minutes, you can’t really NOT watch ThanksKilling, especially since it’s currently streaming on Netflix. It still boggles my mind that there’s never been a true Thanksgiving-themed horror film, and while this is no Black Christmas, it does have a solid Jack Frost-iness to it, straight down to the gravy-flavored condom filling in for a snowman’s unsanitary carrot. A good half of the jokes fall flatter than a poorly made souffle, but ThanksKilling has a genuine heart that should satisfy those fans of Troma, Full Moon, or any penny budget movie massacres oozing in corn.


  1. Oh god!! I am going to watch this! Love Holiday horrors!

  2. And it's a long neglected holiday that everyone (at least in the United States) can celebrate!

  3. Awesome review, awesome lady!

    Some jokes do fall flat and it's a little over the top, but so many jokes succeed beyond many comedies out in theaters! The stuff with the turkey and the sheriff was incredibly funny as well as the "face" mask scene.

    I thought I heard the Jon Bonet Ramsey joke the first time, but wasn't sure. When the girl said it the second time, it was really funny how they all reacted!

    For making this movie for only thirty five hundred bucks, it is really fucking entertaining. Apparently, the movie was made only a few hours from my house too...I'm so gonna weasel my way into ThanksKilling TWO!

  4. I will not lie: I wag giggling like a schoolgirl during both the coffee-with-the-sheriff scene ("So the weather is nice....") and the face mask. The film definitely succeeded at finding that line of absurdity and making the best of their freedom.

    The Jon Benet joke was definitely used twice (and then once more by the geeky character), and now that you mentioned it, it is kind of funny when you consider the two very different reactions to it.

    ThanksKIlling: A Time For Seconds...In Space!!!

    I'm actually really hoping they do a prequel. I would love to see the origin of the turkey, or at least partake in some dreadfully delivered Pilgrim dialogue!

  5. I would almost guarantee they will make a sequel now...the movie is getting a shit load of attention. Making money back on a $35k budget shouldn't be too hard with how many people are talking about it. It's like Paranormal Activity, but not.

  6. It'll be a tough film to replicate, since so much of its charm comes from the rushed low budgetness of ThankKilling. Have you been on their website? There's a whole of info about the film's making, which is just plain adorable. I definitely wish the filmmakers the best.

  7. Oops...I meant to type $3.5K, huge difference!

    I did go to their website and was very impressed with how nice it was and all of the behind the scenes shit they had was great. Very cool for first time filmmakers to check something like that out. I look forward to what they work on next.

  8. It's a huge difference only if you know elementary math, and really, who gets that anymore?

    Yeah, the filmmakers' site makes me think of Blair Witch and Evil Dead and why those movies continue to work: they were innovative films made with heart. ThanksKilling isn't a revelation, but it's so much damn fun and has a great sense of humor in every frame. I'm more than ready for a Martian ThanksKilling.

  9. I am so glad that you guys liked the scene with me and the turkey at the table. It wasn't easy to do because we were LAUGHING SO HARD!

    It was totally improv and I really enjoyed doing it. Thanks for the great review.

    Chuck Lamb
    (Dead Body Guy)
    Sheriff Roud

    PS: You can see by my website that I have been very lucky and blessed by getting into movies (and TV) the way that I did.

    Now, I'm trying to help others (like doing this movie free) and I have opened a website to let other people try to live a dream.
    http://www.TalentOverload.com is a free search engine for people to make a profile or post a job to show off to the world. It's FREE and I am upgrading all profiles to premium. Check it out and pass it around.
    Join up if you'd like and let's hope we can all live a dream like I have.

  10. Thanks for stopping by, Mr. (Dead Body Guy) Lamb! You're definitely an inspiration to film lovers of all kinds, and it's great to see you spreading your skills to other fans.

    I can't possibly imagine how you could improvise alongside a rubber turkey wearing Groucho glasses without dying of laughter. I imagine that took quite a lot of takes! The results are pure gold.