2009 - 67m.
Of all the movies to cross my path in the past year none of them are as outright bat-shit crazy as ThanksKilling. Take all your favourite elements from your typical Troma movie, mix it up with the most unlikely of killers, and toss in a dab of foul (or fowl, get it?) language and you get the basics of this indie horror/comedy.
Filmed for about three-thousand-dollars to say the final results are bizarre and random would be an understatement. But we know this is what we’re to expect right from the get-go as things open in 1621 as a big-breasted, and quite topless, Pilgrim is given the axe by a talking turkey. From there we flash forward to modern day where a pleasingly stereotypical batch of college students (the jock, the slut, the nerd, the fat redneck, and the goodie two-shoes) are heading off for a weekend of camping, and visiting their folks, over Thanksgiving break. At around the same time, our demonic killer turkey has been brought back to life after a local’s dog pisses on its makeshift grave.
From here mayhem and off-colour comedy ensues as our psychotic bird goes on a killing spree throughout town while spouting various one-liners. We’re talking things like one guy being forced to call his kids and being shotgunned, your first (and probably last) opportunity to see turkey sex which ends with the priceless “You just got stuffed!” punch line, and a truly “what the Hell?!” moment with the town’s sheriff dressed in a turkey costume drinking java with our resurrected baddie – leading to hilarity involving a skin mask that pretty much made the movie for me.
Of course, our group of friends enter the picture too since the sheriff happens to be Kristen’s (Lindsey Anderson) dad, not only becoming victims but giving co-writers Jordan Downey and Kevin Stewart the chance to toss in a back story, told at a campfire by geeky Darren (Ryan Francis), giving us the story of the town of Crawberg and how our turkey came to be by mounting a fun, and refreshing, animated sequence. There’s also an out-of-nowhere finale involving a tee-pee that needs to be seen to be believed.
As a cheaply made B-flick, ThanksKilling is just demented enough to be worth seeking out. The makers have taken their absurd premise and ran with it delivering lots of dopey kill scenes, a killer turkey puppet that’s extremely cool in the campiest of ways, and a handful of moments that almost rival even the aforementioned Troma films – which were obviously a big influence on this. It also doesn’t overstay its welcome running a mere 67 minutes, though I did find that the last twenty minutes or so lost focus often collapsing into chaos.
Still, considering the fact it’s about a freaking killer turkey, there’s a lot more here to like than I would’ve ever expected. Downey and Stewart show a droll sense of humour piling on equal amounts of offensiveness and horror film homage, Francis easily walks away with the best performance of the flick thanks to the enthusiasm he brings to Darren, and you’re definitely not going to see anything quite like this anywhere else (well, apart from Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead, anyway) – and this is coming from someone who’s made an effort to track down the most preposterous genre films over the years.
Visit the Official Website for more info. (Chris Hartley, 1/17/10)
Directed By: Jordan Downey.
Written By: Kevin Stewart, Jordan Downey.
Starring: Lance Predmore, Lindsey Anderson, Ryan Francis, Aaron Carlson.