Nov 29, 2014

Review: ThanksKilling (2009)

I live in Canada so I've already had my Thanksgiving celebrations. I'll admit that I prefer the timing of my native Canadian Thanksgiving because American Thanksgiving is too close for comfort to Christmas. I love my turkey, but I need time to recover after eating huge amounts of it. That's why the longer gap between both holidays suits me just fine.

So besides partaking in some Black Friday madness, all online mind you, how could I celebrate American Thanksgiving in some way? By watching ThanksKilling of course. What better way could there be? I had been biding my time on this one because everything that I had heard about it made it sound like one of the best bad movies in recent memory. I was sure that I was in for a real treat. 


Genre: comedy, horror, thriller
Directed by: Jordan Downey
Produced by: Jordan Downey, Kevin Stewart
Written by: Jordan Downey, Kevin Stewart
Music by: Kajmir Royale
Running time: 67 minutes
Production company: In Broad Daylight Films
Distributed by: Gravitas Ventures, Warner Brothers
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $3,500
Box office: N/A

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: Wanda Lust, Natasha Cordova, Lindsey Anderson, Lance Predmore, Aaron Carlson, Ryan Francis, General Bastard, Chuck Lamb, Pat Love, Steve Steinmetz, Jessica Rees, Terry Reagan, Kevin Stewart, Jordan Downey



It's Thanksgiving weekend and five college students are heading back home. Kristen (Lindsey Anderson), Billy (Aaron Carlson), Darren (Ryan Francis) and Ali (Natasha Cordova) are all hitching a ride in Johnny's (Lance Predmore) Jeep which unfortunately breaks down on the way. They decide to camp the night in the woods and party. Darren realizing where they are tells a local legend about an Amerindian shaman who necromanced a regular turkey into a highly intelligent, invincible turkey who murders only white people as revenge for his people's mistreatment every 550 years. Unsurprisingly, it's now been 550 years since the last turkey murdering spree.


ThanksKilling is a beauty from a bad movie point of view. I kid you not, it literally opens to a shot of a nipple which belongs to a pilgrim from 1621 in a flashback scene of the very first Thanksgiving. For whatever reason, she has her breasts exposed as she runs away from what is eventually shown to be an evil, talking turkey. That pilgrim is played by Wanda Lust who for the most part is a performer in several adult films. If that doesn't sound interesting to you, I don't know if I can help you.

Everything from the story is one big stereotype as far as slasher films go. The main characters each have their own identifier from jock, nerd, bimbo, smart girl or hillbilly. Jordan Downey and Kevin Stewart knew exactly what they were creating here and they do it with gusto. They seem content to pack ThanksKilling with as many horror/slasher movie tropes as they can think of. Characters have some of the most ridiculous lines I've ever heard and the acting might not even be good enough for a local car dealership commercial.

My favourite (human) character has got to be Darren the nerd. He's a complete loser who is happy to tag along with the "cool kids." He makes the big bold claim that he's going to go buck wild, skinny dipping without any clothes and have sex with someone who's in the car with him. ThanksKilling is a movie full of crazy lines that are instantly quotable and it looks like the actors are having fun with it too.

But really, the true star here is Turkie the turkey and no one should be surprised about that. Voiced by Jordan Downey, his lines are absolute gold. Without a doubt this is the finest murderous turkey ever put into a film. Jordan Downey deserves a lot of credit for the Turkie puppet as well as all the camera and editing tricks that permit Turkie to be able to kill people with axes, guns or even just his beak. It killed me every time Turkie gleefully looked into the camera as he's about to work his magic.

Joking aside, for a $3,500 film, Thankskilling does a surprisingly good job at makeup and practical effects. There are some pretty gory scenes that don't look half bad for a movie like this. The score is also great fun and I'd easily listen to the main theme again. It can be described as a kind of hip hop beat with maniacal laughing and turkey gobbling. (Spoilers) Additionally, the song that Darren sings for his buddy Billy as he lays dying is also maybe one of the greatest songs ever. (End Spoilers)

What else can I say? ThanksKilling is a movie about a murdering turkey who spits out the funniest one-liners ever said by a turkey in movie history. Some bad movies are bad without trying to be and some bad movies are bad while trying to be. ThanksKilling is trying to be bad and it's a complete success from that standpoint. The novelty of a turkey slasher could easily wear off but Jordan Downey makes sure that doesn't happen. I think it's completely fair to say that every Thanksgiving could use an hour of violent and fowl-mouthed turkey action. 



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