Movie Review: ‘Thankskilling’

 

by Stacey Longo

thankskilling

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.

Hordes of Humping Zombies in ‘Mourning Wood’

Hordes of Humping Zombies in ‘Mourning Wood’

by Stacey Longo

Mourning Wood

Mourning Wood (2010) is the story of four friends living in a town that becomes overrun by a new breed of zombies. It seems that Dr. Jacob Pendleton has gone missing while filming an infomercial for ShamPube, the very same product that has been tainted, producing hordes of horny, humping zombies (“humpers”). Pendleton has a shady past himself, having betrayed the team of Texas Jim Callahan and John Wood years ago, which resulted in John going missing and leaving Texas Jim – you guessed it – mourning Wood.

The film quickly reveals itself to be a hot mess of puns, adolescent jokes, and ridiculous plot twists. Not that this is a bad thing – from the newsman named Dennis Douche (pronounced Doo-shay, of course) to the amazing transformation of Rick to a super-zombie due to the high levels of THC in his system, this movie feels like four guys having fun and not taking themselves too seriously. From naming the hideous Sasquatch character “Fluffy” to the snippet in which we follow Dr. Pendelton in his search for the secret ingredient in Stiff Again, the mikakes sohard bush, this movie is full of gags aplenty. It’s neither high quality nor highbrow, but there are many, many scenes in which you’ll find yourself laughing out loud. And all cheap jokes and puns aside, the opening Claymation sequence is pretty fabulous.

If you are expecting Academy Award level acting and plotlines here, perhaps you shouldn’t have rented a movie titled Mourning Wood. But if the title of this fine film makes you suppress a snort of laughter, you won’t be disappointed.

‘Ruby Sparks’ is Funny and Romantic

‘Ruby Sparks’ is Funny and Romantic

by Jason Harris


Ruby Sparks is a story about a writer and his relationship with his creation.

Paul Dano’s Calvin is a New York Times bestselling author who is suffering from writer’s block. Calvin is first seen in front of his typewriter not typing when his phone rings. From the look on his face, he welcomes the distraction. Later on, he blames his dog for his writing woes.

His writing problems have him going to a psychologist, portrayed by Elliot Gould, who suggests he write about his dog, Scotty, named for F. Scott Fitzgerald.

He finally becomes inspired to write from his continuous dreams about a girl, Ruby Sparks, portrayed by the movie’s screenwriter, Zoe Kazan. He writes about her instead of his dog.

The movie starts off slow, but picks up speed once Calvin starts talking about Ruby to Gould’s Dr. Rosenthal. It becomes more interesting and the dialogue is quick and funny. Ruby becomes alive, but is it only in Calvin’s mind? When Ruby is first seen making Calvin breakfast, the audience doesn’t know if she is a real person or just a figment of Calvin’s imagination. The way he’s acting, it is easy to think he’s going nuts. It’s not shown until other characters interact with her. Then it becomes real to Calvin and to the audience at the same time that Ruby Sparks is a real person.

Ruby just appears. There is no use of a time machine, spell, or prayer plot device used to explain how she came to be. The only thing that is shown is when Calvin types in his manuscript that Ruby speaks French; she does. It is easy to suspend disbelief. So it isn’t hard to think that when she magically appeared, she had a history, an apartment, and any other possession that a person has if they have been alive their entire life.

Calvin now has a girlfriend. He’s happy, but not for long when his creation starts getting a mind of her own. She starts spending time with her friends. This makes him pull out his manuscript where he writes that she is miserable without him. This makes her so clingy that she doesn’t leave his side. This makes for some funny scenes from him buying movie tickets to them sitting on the couch, always with him with one arm around her. There is no personal space between them.

Before the end of the movie, Calvin comes back to his manuscript numerous times, learns some valuable relationship lessons, and writes another book. Overall, the movie is funny, entertaining, and very romantic.

This movie was directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, who brought audiences the hit Little Miss Sunshine. The movie also stars Annette Bening and Antonio Banderas.

Three out of four stars.