Undoubtedly, one of the greatest windfalls that has come from the emergence of Netflix, particularly the instant watch, is the obsolescence of “renter’s remorse,” that common malady that dominated the Blockbuster era. No longer do you have to stand and agonize over a selection of boxes, weighing the copy on the back, the reviews, and friends’ opinions. With the advent of Netflix, you no longer have to worry if a movie is bad or not, the only thing that you could waste is time. Independent film will feel the greatest boon from this development. Where before the regular viewer would be hard pressed to shell out the few dollars to rent a movie they’ve never heard of now, now they just have to click “Play.”
For me, the genre that will now gain my attention, after oh so many years of neglect, is the B-Horror film. When I was a kid, I desperately wanted to rent all of the absurdly titled horror movies I could find: The Granny, Killer Klowns From Outer Space, Leprechaun, et al.
Like most ten year olds, my thirst for gore was insatiable; however, as I grew older, my taste in film matured and I passed these over for more “adult” fare. Now, as I am mostly homebound due to a broken leg, my curiosity regarding the movies that I never got to see as a child has been piqued. I found myself on painkillers at two in the morning, and desperately searching for something to pass the time. I found the diamond in the rough of crappy movies, I found . . . ThanksKilling.
ThanksKilling is pretty standard B-Movie fare, and follows the clichés of the genre to a T. The movie opens with a bare chested female pilgrim being chased by a murderous turkey. Why is her shirt open? Well, no one really knows, the lore in the movie says that she cheated on her husband, so maybe she was caught coitus interruptus. Naturally, since she is naked, the naked pilgrim is pecked to death by the villainous turkey. After this non-sequitor, the movie’s plot is pretty straightforward: A group of college friends carpool home during Thanksgiving break, their car breaks down, they unearth a centuries old evil creature, said creature chases said young adults back home where murder and mayhem ensue.
The joy of ThanksKilling is not found in its plot, as the joy in horror movies is so rarely found, rather it is in the extremely campy and corny humor that permeates the film. The very premise of the killer is amusing: A turkey is used as a means for revenge against a cuckolded husband, and is raised from the dead every couple hundred years. In fact, he is summoned by a dog peeing on his grave. Add to this ridiculous back-story that the ferocious fowl is also a pro at spouting off one-liners. The coterie of teens that the story follows is also a great source of humor in the film. The dynamics revolve around: A jock (Johnny), a redneck (Billy), a slut (Ali), a good girl (Kristen) and a geek (Darren). Johnny and Kristen inevitably develop a romantic attachment to each other, but they are definitely the straight characters in the film and are pretty dull. Likewise, Ali is a standard fair, and good for laughs, but still cliché. The real humor in the group stems from the odd pairing of the redneck and the geek. Daren is an omnisexual horndog virgin, lusting after the women but seemingly after the men as well. In an establishing scene in the beginning, Billy flexes and lets the geek feel his bulging biceps. Later, in the car, the geek states that he is going to “sleep with someone in this car.”
The situations in the movie also add to the camp factor. The turkey follows the group by hitchhiking and the man in the car requests the standard payment of “cash, grass or ass.” When presented these options, rather than facing interspecies sodomy, the turkey opts to off the driver. However, if you were aching for some human on bird action, you are given the opportunity when the turkey kills Ally’s sexual partner and resumes the activity before killing her as well.
Like many films in the B-Horror genre, the movie spoofs other films, such as Silence of the Lambs when the group is fooled by the turkey wearing Kristen’s father’s face. To be honest, the gore and violence in the movie is pretty limited, so if that is what you are looking for, then this is probably not the movie for you. The face scene is probably the goriest, and, like the majority of the movie, the violence is comedic.
All in all, ThanksKilling is a movie that I can wholeheartedly recommend as long as you aren’t looking for anything serious. Yes, the comedy goes blue for the most part, and the situations in the film are pretty juvenile, but it does these things with a sincerity that is almost endearing. This is the perfect movie for a Friday evening with friends and a case of beer.
As mentioned, the best part of the movie would definitely be the quotes, so here are a couple of one-liners from the movie:
- It’s Thanksgiving, not Titsgiving!
- Your legs are harder to shut than the Jonbenet Ramsey case!
- This coffee tastes like shit, what did you do, take a shit in it? / As a matter of fact I did!
- I’m going to drink your blood like cranberry sauce, meaty!
- I guess I was a little beaked out . . . uh, I mean freaked out.
- An extra small gravy flavored condom?
- Gobble, gobble motherfucker!
- Looks like I’ve got something you don’t got! / What’s that Darren, a vagina?
By Theo Estes 4/7/11