by Stacey Longo
Thankskilling (2009) is a delightful testament to everything that can go right in a cheap B-horror film. The plot: a legendary bloodthirsty turkey murders college kids, one by one, over Thanksgiving break. Sounds marvelous, right? It is!
Ali, Kristen, Johnny, Billy, and Darren (or, in genre terms, the slut, the good girl, the jock, the fat funny kid, and the geek) are on their way home for the holiday break when their car overheats. They decide to pitch tents for the night and Darren tells a scary campfire story about a homicidal turkey. He thinks he’s making it up, but it turns out this legend is true: Turkie soon appears on the scene, leaving a gory trail of dog innards and turkey turds in his wake.
It turns out that Turkie returns every two-hundred-and-something years to exact vengeance on the town that slaughtered his brethren for that first Thanksgiving meal. The teenagers involved might be related to some of the pilgrims—or not; it was a plot point that disappeared as quickly as it popped up. Regardless, Turkie is on the prowl, and nobody’s safe.
Turkie’s one-liners and laughable disguises as he hunts down the group of friends will make you laugh so hard, gravy will shoot out your nose. There’s one scene in which Turkie, dressed as a human (wearing a ridiculous pair of sunglasses complete with plastic mustache that will make you giggle just looking at it) has coffee with Kristen’s father (dressed as a turkey) that is just as awkward and bizarre as you’d expect from a movie about a killer turkey. After Ali meets an untimely end, the gang heads to Kristen’s house because, as she says, “My dad has a huge collection of books. I’m sure he has something on killer turkeys.” (As would any decent private library, of course. Don’t we all have books on fowl lore and legend on our shelves?) Her father greets her at the door, but wait—is it really her father, or a turkey wearing her father’s face as a mask?
“You look different,” Kristen tells her father, squinting suspiciously at him.
“Err . . . I got a haircut,” Turkie says, and the group buys this excuse without thinking twice. Fabulous.
The kids start going through all of the books in the hope that they can find out how to defeat the killer bird. There’s a delightful scene in which the brainy kid teaches the porky kid how to read, and the looks on their faces as they overact this sequence is worth every moment of your life that you’ve wasted watching this movie. The book-cramming pays off, of course, when they find an ancient ritual that seems to be the answer to all of their problems.
To fight the evil curse of Turkie, the gang must chant specific words and perform convoluted rituals, which they predictably get wrong. You won’t be upset, though—Turkie, despite being the antagonist in this film, is undeniably the most likeable character, and you’ll be rooting for him and hoping for a sequel. Your hopes will be fulfilled, but that’s a review for another day.
Full of juvenile humor, occasional frontal nudity, and cringe-worthy puns, Thankskilling is a must-watch film for any B-horror fan.