Right out of the gate on this fine fall morning kicking off the holiday season (despite the fact that most retailers would have you believe it started months ago), on behalf of LeglessCorpse I would like to wish all you Fellow Fans and devoted readers a Happy Thanksgiving! I know I myself am getting geared up for the traditional family feast, and depending on time zones, some of you may have already started; I wanted to hand off this little treat for dessert, in the only way I can.
On today of all days (Turkey-Day, natch), I’m gonna reminisce about a little indie flick from a few years back that has the dubious honor of being one of only two (mebbe three, if you’re open-minded) flicks I could review here that would be suitable for this particular holiday*; the self-billed “Ultimate Low-Budget Experience – Killer Turkey Horror/Comedy”…
…of course, I’m talking about the 2008 Jordan Downey micro-budget extravaganza, ThanksKilling…but you guys were expecting that, right?
In 1621, just shortly after the very first Thanksgiving, we witness a quite well-endowed pilgrimess relentlessly pursued and brutally murdered by…a talking turkey. Flash forward to modern times, and a group of college friends are headed home for the holiday feast with their families. After some car trouble, the group decides to camp in the woods by the road (what good fortune to have had so much camping gear with them!), and one of their number regales the rest with the story of the Indian Feathercloud, who hundreds of years ago summoned forth a turkey-demon to wreak terrible vengeance on a white man who had wronged him; a white man who is (of course) an ancestor of one of the other students.
Every 505 years, it’s said, the turkey-demon will rise again to exact bloody retribution on the white man. Unbeknownst to the group, circumstances occur that raise the vengeful spirit a century or so early, and the feathered demon calling himself Turkie begins a fowl…ahem…I am so sorry; foul path of carnage across the area. The teens are his first targets, and as they begin to fall, some among them begin to believe in the truth of the legend; one suggests that they seek the wisdom of a great book on evil turkeys to find a way to stop the demonic dinner bird. What they don’t know is that not only does this bird possess eldritch power, a profane tongue and dark intelligence, but he’s also a master of disguise with a ravenous libido! Can the group of students stand against the ancient conjured spirit of vengeance? Gobble gobble, bitches!!
I gotta be honest, peeps; I started out with a bit of a sigh with this one, as after going for the JUG-ular with the opening scene and moving directly into the same virtual beginning of every bad slasher flick in existence (mixed bag of teens on a road trip), I was concerned that I was in for a boring, cookie-cutter yawnfest. Give it a few minutes, folks; you won’t be disappointed. Obviously, Downey and crew are huge fans of both horror films and “bad” horror films, as this flick definitely pays it’s dues to both while bringing some real comedic flair to the table (har-har). All the stereotypes are here, all the tropes and traditions of the medium are showcased and lampooned…and lampooned well. The acting is amateurish, and the direction and situations are juvenile…and by golly, they’re supposed to be.
This movie knows exactly what it is, and isn’t the least bit ashamed of it; the total self-awareness of the flick is pointedly obvious, and this serves to add to the humor. Are there some jokes that are groan-inducing? You bet there are…most of them, in fact…but it’s those kind o’ groans that are accompanied by a smirk, perhaps even a knowing chuckle. There are several complete WTF?!? moments that will either a) make you laugh out loud, or b) make you turn off your player, eject the disc, and see how far down your driveway you can sling it (for the record, this is a pretty good acid test for just what kind o’ “bad” film fan you are). Topping it all off, you get the requisite boobs and blood, and although the effects are just as amateurish and grade-school as the rest of the film (the villain is a rubber turkey puppet, for chrissake), they’re pretty damned bloody, typically funny, and fit very well within the established context.
When you plug in a movie shot for less than four grand that advertises WARNING: BOOBS IN THE FIRST SECOND!, you just know that you’re in for either a serious, self-aware but passionately-made treat, or a totally self-absorbed pile of shit. In this case, we can be thankful (heh-heh) that this film falls into the former category, at least in my humble opinion.
Being that pickings are pretty scarce (ha!) around this holiday for we Fellow Fans, I for one am glad Mr. Downey and friends took it upon themselves to create this little flick, a love-letter to the fans of schlocky horror and bad movies. I recommend anyone out there that enjoys MST3K flicks and/or bad films in general give this one a go…but I would shy away if you tend toward the prudish side of the fence, are easily offended, or just in general know outta the box that you don’t like “bad” movies. Just to be on the safe side, I wouldn’t put this one on until grandma, Aunt Tilley, Father O’Malley, or the young cousins from out in the sticks head on home after the big dinner.
That’s it for me, folks…off to my own turkey table, two cents lighter; Happy Thanksgiving!
*The only other films that come to mind that would even remotely work for Thanksgiving would be Blood Freak (1972), which you can check out my review for here, or Home Sweet Home (1981), which we haven’t reviewed yet, but will remedy soon.
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