O.K. folks, The Missing Piece has been a little top heavy lately with a series of articles about proteins and how a bad decision by a single caveman destroyed our planet. As a result, it’s been a while since we’ve had a good old-fashioned horror movie review. So I figure it’s about time to break things up a bit with some delightfully schlocky, low-budget, B movie horror deliciousness. Don’t ya think?
The movie of the moment isn’t very apropos since it is about a foul-mouthed axe-wielding turkey. I’m not sure which is stranger: a movie based on a puppet turkey that lays waste to coeds or Thanksgiving themed horror movie. Am I the only one that finds it odd that in the whole of the horror movie genre Thanksgiving is remarkably underrepresented? That's a rhetorical question. Sure there are plenty of Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and even St. Patrick’s Day gore fests, but, somehow, I can only think of two other Thanksgiving based horror movies (Blood Freak (1972) and Home Sweet Home (1981))…until now. The latest addition to the paltry Thanksgiving horror movie cannon is the very definition of low-budget and has almost everything a gore hound such as yours truly could ask for in a horrible movie.
ThanksKilling was born in 2007 for under $3,500 in 11 days by then college students Kevin Stewart and Jordan Downey. Interestingly, Downey acted in Day of the Dead 2: Contagium two years earlier. According to the ThanksKilling website, the project started simply with two guys setting out to see how much they could do with so little. Casting was done in a garage, the turkey puppet fell apart by the end of the film, and distribution came and went many times. Sadly, they persevered, and in 2009 they unleashed their creation on the movie-going masses.
The movie starts out as all movies should with a topless Puritan woman with huge breasts running through the forest from an unseen menace. The villain of course is the scurrilous murdering turkey puppet unleashed by Native Americans who were apparently not happy with the Puritans because the baked stuffed sweet potatoes were undercooked. The demonically possessed gobbler is commanded to return forever in order to satisfy his blood lust by hacking anyone nearby to pieces. Never mind the fact that he doesn’t have any hands to hold an axe…or a shotgun…or a steering wheel…
Skipping ahead to the present the foul fowl (heh, heh…) is awoken by a dog pissing on his partially buried totem. Even though the dog’s owner said its name about 25 times throughout the movie I am still unsure what the dog’s name is. Could be Flashy. Could be Blasty. Maybe Lassie? Apparently the homeless Ted Nugent look-alike that the filmmakers recruited to play the redneck dog owner was either too drunk or missing the teeth required to enunciate properly. Either way, the bad-ass poultry is awoken from a long sleep, and an improbably hilarious killing spree is soon to follow.
Meanwhile a Jeepload of college kids on fall break find themselves stuck after their vehicle overheats, so they decide to wait it out by camping in the cursed woods overnight. I think we all know what happens next. Right. Our blood thirsty turkey puppet weeds his way through them like a serving spoon through a can of cranberries, having sex with one coed along the way and (in the movie's most hilarious scene) impersonating the father of another.
Despite ThanksKilling’s humble origins it is filled with hilarity and some great (if not predictable) one liners. The film quality and lighting are remarkably good for such a low-budget production, which makes me think that some of the bad edits and dialog gaffes were intentionally made by the filmmakers. The movie itself is very reminiscent of a Troma production, and I mean that in a good way. The acting isn’t the best, but, seriously, it’s a feature film starring a turkey hand puppet. Although the movie is brilliantly done, I think it could have definitely benefited with more gore and, of course, more topless coeds.
All in all ThanksKilling is certainly worth watching, and it is sure to secure its place in the top five Thanksgiving themed horror movies ever made…even though I’m pretty sure there are only two others. I would definitely recommend this turkey of a movie for any fan of the genre, especially since it is barely over an hour long. Gobble, gobble, mutherf*cker.