Thankskilling (2009): The Bugg Gobbles Up Turkey Day

There's basically two movies to talk about if you want to broach Thanksgiving horror. (Unless you count Eli Roth's fake trailers in Grindhouse for Thanksgiving.) There's 1972's Blood Freak, which isn't really about Turkey Day, but it does feature a biker being turned into a killer turkey with an appetite for drug dealers. Then there's the 2009 low budget effort Thankskilling. While I've never got my hands on the former, I've avoided the later for the last two years as, frankly, it sounded stupid. Well, I finally watched it, and I wasn't at all wrong. Thankskilling is stupid, stupid like a fox. With a killer puppet turkey running around spouting one liners and a script that wants to be Troma-like but can't quite manage, Thankskilling may just be the antidote for the family Thanksgiving dinner.

Seeing as this is a poultry based slasher, there's precious little to synopsize. The movie starts off with a pre-title sequence wherein the film's killer turkey makes his first appearance while offing a large breasted pilgrim (Mature porn star Wanda Lust). Cut to present day, and five college students are on their way home for Thanksgiving break. After the nerd tells them the legend of Thankskilling, the Gruesome Gobbler begins to stalk the teens. Their only hope is the vast collection of books about Turkeys that one of their fathers owns, but before they can stop it, the turkey rapes, murders, and bastes a swath of blood wherever he goes.

Making a movie on a shoestring budget is no easy task even in this shot-on-video era. Thankskilling is one of the better looking movies to come out of this movement, and it's plain to see that every penny of the $3000 dollar budget is onscreen. The problem is the chasm from the films they seem to want to make, and the one they did. While the film opens on a naked breast, this is the last bit of sleaze you get in the film, and the violence is watered down to practically nothing as well. Director Jordan Downey clearly wants to follow in the footsteps of Lloyd Kaufman, but a fairly tame tale of a wisecracking turkey isn't going to do the job. The turkey puppet, voiced by Downey, is clearly the best part of the film (and the scene where it shares a cup of coffee with a man in a turkey suit is hilarious visually if nothing else.), and the wisecracks took me right back to the days of my youth before funny Freddy Kruger wasn't infinitely irritating.

Perhaps the greatest strength of Thankskilling is its brevity. Running just barely over an hour, it's an easy watch, and it contains enough decent jokes to make the experience worthwhile. It also might be better if you're slightly sleepy from too much turkey. Someone test that theory out and get back to me on it. Right now Thankskilling is available for Instant Watch on Netflix, and while it is an incredibly flawed movie, I still encourage folks to check it out. After all, there's only so many times you can watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving or Miracle on 34th Street, and no one is ready for A Christmas Story quite yet. So after bottling up all that rage at your family gathering, come home and queue this one up. It may be a turkey about a turkey killing some turkeys, but it's not a bad way to spend a holiday evening.

Before I go, I want to take an opportunity to thank all my readers. No matter if you're celebrating Turkey day or one of my readers from around the world, I thank each and every one of you who make the Lair one of your favorite places for Cult, Horror, and Genre reviews.

Bugg Rating


  1. I've been putting this one off for several years but I'm curious to see if it could lighten up my holiday

  2. The juvenile qualities of THANKSKILLING mostly irritated me, but I'll admit that the bit with him in the Groucho glasses did make me chuckle. Groucho glasses are always funny, even fifty years later, and especially on a foul-mouthed turkey puppet.

    Happy Holidays, Bugg.

  3. Thanks for the comments and Happy beginning of the holidays to two of my favorite fellas.


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