ThanksKilling is an American independent comedy horror film shot in 2007 and released in 2009, about a cursed turkey killing off college students during the Thanksgiving break. The film was shot over a summer by Kevin Stewart and Jordan Downey on an original budget of $3.500. It later was given a small investment to help complete the marketing and distribution of the film.
At the first Thanksgiving in 1621, a topless Pilgrim is slain with a tomahawk wielded by an evil demonic turkey, which quips, "Nice tits, bitch!" Centuries later, five college students (good girl Kristen, jock Johnny, ditzy Ali, redneck Billy, and nerdy Darren) head home to Crawl Berg (formerly Crawberg) for Thanksgiving with their families. After Kristen calls her father, the local sheriff, the car overheats, forcing the quintet to camp out for the night. As they are setting up, Darren tells the settler-era folktale of Feathercloud, a Native American shaman who was dishonored by hedonistic pilgrim Chuck Langston, one of Billy's ancestors. The outraged Feathercloud used necromancy to create Turkie, who is said to appear every five-hundred and five years to slaughter all Caucasians he encounters.
Elsewhere, a dog owned by a hermit named Oscar urinates on a miniature totem pole, desecrating it, and releasing Turkie prematurely. The dog is killed, prompting Oscar to swear vengeance as Turkie runs off, and scares Kristen. Kristen tells the others about her run-in with Turkie, but they laugh off her story, until a baby rabbit (which appears to have been pecked to death) is thrown into their campfire. The next day, Turkie flags down a vehicle, and when the driver sexually propositions him, Turkie responds by shooting the man in the head and hijacking his car. By nightfall, the students reach their respective homes, and while Johnny tries to reconnect with his estranged father, Turkie attacks him. Johnny's parents are killed, but he escapes, and rejoins his friends with the exception of Ali, who is having sex with her boyfriend, Greg. Turkie walks in on the lovers, slits Greg's throat, and rapes Ali before snapping her neck.
After finding Ali's remains, the students decide to go to Kristen's house, to see if her father has any books about Turkie in his library. Turkie beats them there, tricking Kristen's father (who is dressed as a turkey for an upcoming pageant) into letting him in by wearing Groucho glasses. As they wait for Kristen, Turkie and the sheriff share an awkward snack, which ends when Turkie murders the sheriff after he mistakes him for a duck. Kristen and her friends arrive, and are allowed in by Turkie, who has donned the sheriff's severed face as a disguise. Darren finds a book about Turkie, and it mentions he can be killed if his magic talisman is removed, though the rest of the passage about how to destroy him is written in code. Billy stumbles onto Turkie disposing of the sheriff's body, and while he and the others succeed in getting the talisman, Turkie gets away.
Billy storms off while Darren cracks the code in the book, discovering that Turkie must be burned at the stake after a demonic prayer is said backwards. Outside, Turkie magically enters Billy's body, and shoots his way out. Billy dies in Darren's arms as they reminisce about all the good times they had together. Darren, Kristen, and Johnny track Turkie to his tipi and say the prayer, but as they prepare to burn him he runs outside, and is shot in the head by Oscar. Oscar leaves, and the others go to Kristen's house, unaware that the dumpster Turkie was blasted into contains radioactive waste, which reanimates him.
Turkie rips Darren's tongue and heart out, and stabs Johnny with an electric knife. As Johnny dies, Kristen sets Turkie on fire with an aerosol flamethrower, and knocks him into a pile of wood. Later, at a family's Thanksgiving dinner, the cooked turkey comes to life, and in Turkie's voice yells, "Do I smell sequel, biotch?!"
- Lance Predmore as Johnny
- Ryan E. Francis as Darren
- Lindsey Anderson as Kristen
- Aaron Ringhiser-Carlson as Billy
- Natasha Cordova as Ali
- Chuck Lamb as Sheriff Roud
- General Bastard as Oscar the Hermit
ThanksKilling was shot on a budget of $3,500 in the summer of 2007, and released on DVD in 2009.
ThanksKilling was called "cheerily awful" by Tom Russo of The Boston Globe. Mark Hughes of Forbes stated, "It's a comedy-horror movie, but even the humor is awful. But it's so darn awful that it doesn't even need Mystery Science Theater 3000 voice-over jokes to be entertainingly terrible. If you can enjoy laughing at a bad movie, definitely add this one to your list". DVD Verdict's Gordon Sullivan responded well to the film, writing, "In some ways there's nothing special about ThanksKilling—it's a typical slasher-style creature-feature where a group of college kids are menaced by a holiday themed killer who spouts one liners. However, ThanksKilling knows how to tickle the low-budget funny bone in particularly effective ways" and "The film itself is a campy low-budget horror flick that gets in and out in little over an hour, delivering the goods all the while. The extras are a little slight, but overall, this disc should please genre fans".
A sequel that skips it's own was released in 2012 with the title ThanksKilling 3.
- The central tagline, "Gobble, Gobble, Motherf***er!" came before their was even a plot for ThanksKilling.
- The original puppet for Turkie was designed and built by director Jordan Downey. He sculpted and built most of the puppet in the bathroom of his apartment at the time.
- The title card, "To be continued in space...", was placed there as a complete joke, with no intention of any sequels.
- The creators also copyrighted the title Death Turkey as a potential title for an overseas release as most countries are not going to celebrate Thanksgiving.
- Auditions were held in director Jordan Downey's garage.
- ThanksKilling at the Internet Movie Database
- ThanksKilling at AllMovie
- ThanksKilling at Rotten Tomatoes
- ThanksKilling at Wikipedia
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