NOVEMBER 23, 2010
I’ve had my eye on ThanksKilling for quite a while now, ever since it popped up on Netflix Instant earlier this year. But I’ve held off, wanting to wait for the Thanksgiving holiday to make sure I was in the right holiday spirit (it’s a good thing I never noticed the scant 66 minute running time – I surely would have lost my resolve when looking for something under 80 minutes). But I urge like-minded folks to check it out ASAP; holiday relevance or not, it’s a grand old time.
Now, the movie is stupid and bad, but intentionally so, and not in an annoying way (at least, not to me). I mean, the thing opens on a shot of a woman’s bare breast, and then they zoom out a bit so we can see her in full as she runs around a forest in a (loose fitting) pilgrim costume. After a minute or so, she stops, and then a turkey puppet appears, says “Nice tits, bitch!”, and chops her head off with a golden axe. SLAM CUT to credits. I mean, if that doesn’t win you over, you might as well shut the movie off right then and there.
Given the limitations of the turkey puppet (we never even see its entire body), there isn’t a lot of action in the film – I think he only kills like 5 people in the whole thing. The scenes that don’t involve talking killer turkeys are fairly worthless, but again – the movie’s only 66 minutes long with credits. You’re never more than 10 minutes (at most) from another turkey scene, and they are total gold. His one-liners are all either profane or punny, the type of humor perfectly suited for cheap turkey puppets. But there’s some dry/relatively subtle humor as well, such as when one of our heroes’ spaced out fathers (dressed as a turkey himself) invites him in for a drink, and then they just cut to the two of them sitting at the table nursing hot tea.
The characters also provide a bit of humor. They’re all idiots (they don’t even notice when the turkey ‘impersonates’ a human being), and sort of weird – I love that the star quarterback guy acts like a 7 year old asking a girl to be his girlfriend. And one of them refers to the killer as a “cock-blocking turkey!”, which is just hilarious. Unlike some of these things, everyone seems to be fully aware at the type of movie they are making, and thus the horrid dialogue and bad acting seems like part of the point, not an unfortunate drawback of their low budget and limited resources.
One movie it reminded me of was Cannibal! The Musical, but that’s not a slight – I love that movie. There’s a music number, a ridiculous “history lesson”, etc... if you dug that one, you should enjoy this one. One key difference – Cannibal’s costume designer was way more on the ball. I was amazed to discover that the film was supposed to be set in New England during November, since everyone just wears typical summer clothes. None of the characters are particularly attractive, so it’s not like we were jonesing for them to be in revealing clothing – put on some coats, goddammit! But really – who cares? It’s a movie about a talking killer turkey. And a fun one at that.
Oh, and the end promises a sequel in space, which is pretty much the best news I’ve heard all month.
I hope it stays on Netflix forever, because I plan to make this part of my annual Thanksgiving viewing (though it won’t be replacing End of Days, of course). As I mentioned in my column for BadassDigest, there aren’t exactly a surplus of Thanksgiving themed horror movies, and unlike Home Sweet Home, ThanksKilling actually uses the holiday for part of its plot, making it a better choice (it’s also shorter, so you can get back to eating pie).
What say you?