Happy holidays to everyone in the horror community! Our beloved Halloween has come and gone and now we experience a bit of a lull in seasonally motivated scares while we wait for the winter and Christmas themed movies to emerge [we need more Chanukah movies]. As we patiently wait for the onslaught of snowed-in and/or Santa inspired films, you have to ask “why” the list of Thanksgiving horror movies remains so short...
...The holiday possesses an amazing mixture of themes which would perfectly fit into any film meaning to disturb, scare, or unsettle its audience. The stereotypical Thanksgiving involves travelling long distances, meeting or introducing a stranger to the family, eating uncomfortable amounts of food, and finding yourself trapped with people who you do not necessarily like. All of these qualities could so easily lead into a Thanksgiving fright fest and there are still numerous other concepts to touch on. Regretfully though, America’s favorite feast day still does not rank high on the list of appropriate settings for a horror film. We will most likely see such titles as Sweetest Day’s Slayings, Farmer’s Market Massacre, or The Gender Reveal Party Killer before we see a new Thanksgiving movie.
But what is a horror fan to do? What do all the mutants do when they gather with their mutant family? Do they sit around the table and discuss the current state of the world? Nope. Too scary. Do they watch football? It’s violent but lacks story. Do they make hand-shaped turkey cut-outs? Possibly, if you add some gore. So, what should all the creep and creeplings do this holiday season? Relax, monsters and just help set the table because I got the menu all picked out for you. This meal offers something for everyone in the family and going back for seconds is encouraged. I’ve carefully selected films for your Thanksgiving and there should be something on the menu for all tastes and diet restrictions.
Thanksgiving dinner embraces the side dish like no other gathering, so our first few morsels will include some family favorites and turkey day staples.
Cranberry Sauce – Thankskilling (2008)
Our first dish may not be as filling as the others due to the runtime of 70 minutes, but it’s weird and unique and people only seem to want to consume it this time of year. This film is not something you particularly enjoy and watching it seems more based on a dare than actual personal preference, but when it’s there, you just can’t help yourself but try it. If you want to go back for seconds on this particular side dish, you also will be able to find a sequel entitled Thankskilling 3.
Corn - The Pilgrim (2019)
This movie tastes good and is good for you! The creators of this film decided to do a modern version of the original Thanksgiving by having us witness firsthand brutal colonizers who invade a home and take whatever they want. An interesting spin on home invasion horror as Thanksgiving reenactors begin with promises of “teaching the true meaning of the holiday” and end with a decapitated head as the main course. With plenty of gore and a pretty educational approach to the holiday, overall there are many reasons to give thanks for this film.
Mashed Potatoes - Addams Family Values (1993)
Finally, the reason we all come to the table! This delicious film depicts the perfectly demented household and makes us feel all warm and loved inside. The versatile dish appeals to everyone in the family as we get a good deal of comedy and a PG-13 level of horror, so scary movie fans big and small can enjoy the film. We watch as the Addams family grows, argues, then comes back together again through torture, explosions, and electrocutions. And there is even a Thanksgiving play!
Biscuits - Thanksgiving trailer by Eli Roth (2007)
Not a real meal or even a side dish, just something light and simple to hold you over until the next dish gets passed along. Clocking in at three minutes, this bite-sized Thanksgiving treat still provides plenty of fulfilling goodness because despite the shortened duration you get to see a killer clad in pilgrim garb chase after naked horny youths and proceed to behead them.
A Tall Glass of Bourbon - Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
As we take a break from food (and family) we get a much-needed reward after having to play nice with relatives all day. In this movie, the kids don’t like the adults and the feeling is more than mutual for the older generation. Lot’s of talk about how things used to be, lots of screaming, lots of confusion of how some people are actually related to one another, and then everyone sits down to dinner (where there is more screaming). What better way to step away from the table and burn off some calories, than to run through the woods screaming for your life.
The Turkey - Blood Rage (1987)
Now for the main course of the evening and this film earns a proper place in the center of the table. When people think of Thanksgiving food, turkey quickly comes to mind. When asked to think of a Thanksgiving horror movie, the first film people will think of is Blood Rage. An insanely dysfunctional household which presents many of the family-related tropes witnessed during the holiday. A new person joins the family, an estranged sibling arrives, and a very awkward relationship between child and parent becomes known. Besides family fun time, the movie includes loads of gore paired with promises that “it’s not cranberry sauce” which comes together to make a very intense Thanksgiving dinner.
Dessert - Chopping Mall (1986)
Hope all you weirdos saved room after our frightfully filling meal because we got one more course to cram in you. As the day comes to an end and the empty plates get removed, the reason for family dissipates and now it’s time to shop! Black Friday sales dominate your local mall, so you better run, scream, stab, and shoot your way to the best savings around. However, beware of going to this mall late at night because lightening-fried robots have no intention of making this holiday merry.
So, to all my drooling fiends and ghoulish guests, we do have a lot to be thankful for when it comes to Thanksgiving horror. Hope you found the meal as wonderful and gruesome as I did. Feel free to wrap some of the remaining body parts to-go, safe travels, and we will see you all in December for the next horrific holiday gathering.
By Amylou Ahava
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