So you’re casting about for something fun to watch on Thanksgiving. You’ve already seen the grande dame of B-movie turkeys about turkeys: Blood Freak. Your search turns up a 2009 ultra low-budget bit o’ giblet entitled ThanksKilling. Is it worth it? Well ...
Spoilers, though this might be a totally un-spoil-able movie crafted entirely of building blocks of pure obviousness.
First things first: the claim on the DVD cover is true. After a very short title sequence, alerting us to the fact that what we’re about to see takes place after the Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving, we get into the titty sequence.
A busty Pilgrim, assets on display, runs in terror from a killer turkey, who kills her and utters—in totally spot-on 1621 slang—“Nice tits, bitch.”
(That’s it. No more boobs in the movie after that.)
Yep, ThanksKilling shows you right away what kind of movie it is. The production values are cheap, the script is terrible, and the actors clearly have no delusions that they’re participating in anything resembling high art. Props for that. Director and co-writer Jordan Downey also voices the evil turkey—“Turkie”—which resembles a Troma castoff and spews corny one-liners.
It’s also driven by an insatiable urge to kill, after being awakened from its 505-year slumber by a dog peeing in the woods. We learn Turkie’s its-racist-and-we-don’t-care backstory via a group of college kids, one-note characters who never once behave like actual human beings would. Anyway, there’s a nerdy one (the smartest in the group because he’s apparently the only one who knows how to read) who tells his friends the local legend of a turkey that was “necromanced” by an “Indian” versed in black magic, who sicced it on the Pilgrims lo these many years ago.
Other members of this hapless crew: the slutty girl (about whom the joke “Her legs are harder to shut than the JonBenet Ramsey case” is used twice; it’s not funny either time) who’s so dumb she doesn’t realize she’s being penetrated by a turkey until it’s too late; the jock (he has muscles); the redneck guy (he doesn’t); and the frumpy goody two shoes. It’s bleak. It’s enough to make us root for the turkey, who is the only character with any brains whatsoever.
This is the best scene in the movie. The turkey, wearing Groucho glasses, has paid a visit to the goody two shoes’ father, who is the town sheriff. He is wearing a turkey costume. He thinks the killer bird is really a little person, also wearing a turkey costume.
They make small talk and sip hazelnut-flavored coffee.
Then, when the sheriff calls him an “odd duck,” Turkie kills him and makes his skin into a mask, a la Leatherface. When the kids show up, they don’t notice anything is amiss.
Obviously, this is meant to be silly and ridiculous. And it is.
Other things Turkie does: pretends to hitchhike, then kills the driver and zooms off behind the wheel; shotguns his way out of the redneck’s stomach (“Now that’s what I call fowl play!”); and issues threats like “I’m gonna drink your blood like cranberry sauce.”
The kids, who try to reason with the angry “Indian” creature (“But we let you have casinos!”), dig up a book that contains information on how to kill it and end its reign of terror. Half of the important part of the book is written in code, for absolutely no reason. Fortunately, the nerdy guy is smart enough to translate it—though moments earlier, we saw him mistake a turkey wearing a skin mask as a human being.
Anyway. There’s also a hermit character who’s hunting Turkie too, though he believes more in the way of the gun than in the reading-of-books-and-undoing-old-spells. He’s amusing. And the death scenes are appropriately gore-gushing; the turkey chest-burst is pretty great, but there’s also a close-up throat-slashing, an electric carving-knife stabbing, and an extended tongue-yanking scene (that last one is after the turkey becomes radioactive, because of course he does).
Anytime Turkie isn’t onscreen—and especially when anyone gets faux-emo—ThanksKilling is incredibly, horribly painful. But despite the icky and unnecessary rape scene (seriously unnecessary), it would make for some good Turkey Day background viewing. If you turn the sound off and play music instead, you won’t even hear the dialogue!