ThanksKilling (2009)

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?


  1. I liked this movie too. Every time I would want to say it was boring and not worth it, they would do something ridiculously awesome like having the Turkey wear a Groucho Marx disguise.

  2. I remember watching this movie earlier this year and laughing my butt off at the the turkey...ya like you said it is crappy but its enjoyable. The jokes make it enjoyable and worth a watch, if only for the turkey scenes...Happy Thanksgiving BC and to all of your readers!!! see you TUESDAY!

  3. I got to watch Thanks Killing in My Internet TV Software. Netflix is too expensive for me. :p Yeah, I'm a cheapskate.

    Anyway, it seems we all have the same favorite - the funny turkey. Yeah, in like some parts of the movie, you could say that it's boring but they do something out of the blue and the movie just surprises you.

  4. When the turkey is having coffee with the sheriff, "I gotta admit sheriff, this is kinda awkward"...hilarious! And the "dead skin mask"! Those 2 scenes alone make this movie worth seeing!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. Gobble Gobble Mother Fucker....One of the best lines I've seen in a trailer ever!!!!

  6. Wait, is the turkey supposed to be real? Or is it supposed to be a puppet? Bizarre. I'll see it based on the title alone!

  7. I'm glad you guys liked the movie. I have to admit, it was GREAT to make. The scene with the sheriff and the turkey at the table was total improv and the hardest part was trying to keep a straight face with turkey and me just started talking back and forth.

    You guys should see the OUT TAKES. I honestly think this movie will be talked about for years to come and I'm honored they asked me to be in it. Yes, the acting was WAY over the top, but that's what the producers wanted. I'm still wandering why Spike TV left it out of the Scram Awards.

    Chuck 'Dead Body Guy' Lamb
    Sheriff Roud

  8. I've had this in my Instant queue for a very long time. I was going to get to it last Thanksgiving but never got around to it. I watched it last night because Netflix is taking it down in less than a week. So, I guess you can forget about your proposed tradition.

    Anyway, I enjoyed the hell outta this thing. The Sheriff was one of my favorites. Had some great lines. Going through his mail, "Baells. Baells. Baells." I also like the nerdy dude mourning over his buddy's inevitable death due to his guts all being on the outside of his body, "It's not even that bad!"

    "Gobble, Gobble, Motherfucker. Now that's what I call foul(fowl) play." Gold!

  9. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much. I had the opposite reaction, in that I pretty much hated it (and, for the record, I really like "Cannibal! The Musical"). The opening was mildly amusing, but the only parts I actually laughed at were the turkey and the sheriff talking, and no one noticing the turkey wearing the sheriff's face. The rest of the time I found myself reconsidering my life choices.

    I find that "bad on purpose" never works; truly entertainingly bad movies come about organically. I've seen "Birdemic" and "Blood Freak" (the best killer turkey movie there will ever be) more than once, but I cannot see any reason to ever watch this again, or the sequel ever.


Movie & TV Show Preview Widget