With Halloween in the rearview, many of us start making plans for Thanksgiving. But a horror fan never sleeps, and neither do the filmmakers who unleash dark new tales of holiday horror every year. As a result, a veritable cornucopia of Thanksgiving-themed horror flicks exists for you to sink your teeth into. From ThanksKilling (2007) to Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (2006), the frightful becomes delightful when evil turkeys run amok, and suspicious leftovers await you in the fridge.
Look before you eat!
The newest entry of Thanksgiving horror is Eli Roth’s highly-anticipated and bluntly-named Thanksgiving (2023). The film evolved from a fake trailer Roth directed to be shown between Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror and Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, the two movies in Grindhouse (2007). Known for its edgy, grindhouse aesthetic, the trailer developed a cult following, and fans have long hoped for a feature in a similar style. By the looks of the trailer for the new film, Roth has traded out the grindhouse grit for a more contemporary feel while delivering on his signature violence and humor.
In a recent interview, Roth said that this shift allowed for more artistic freedom. In order to expand on the story, the writers approached the feature as if it was a reboot of the fake trailer: “Let’s pretend Thanksgiving was a movie from 1980 that was so offensive that every print was destroyed. All the scripts were burned. The director disappeared. The crew members changed their names. One person saved the trailer and uploaded it to the darkest corners of 4chan, and now it’s made it out.”
What is Thanksgiving all about?
Family and friends will gather, eat, and show their gratitude, but not without a visit from a nasty dude! Roth sets his 90s-inspired slasher in the town of Plymouth, Massachusetts, as it tries to get back to normal after a tragic event. But a mysterious psycho dressed as a pilgrim has different plans for Thanksgiving this year–one that features slicing and dicing more than just vegetables! With the prowling pilgrim preying on Plymouth, a group of teens (including Addison Rae) and a cop (Patrick Dempsey) have to find a way to stop the murder spree and prevent the pilgrim’s twisted dinner from taking place. Based on the trailer, they might be up against more than the Black Friday bargain-shopped for!
Thanksgiving’s trailer is bloody fun!
The trailer opens with Bing Crosby crooning “I’ve Got Plenty to Be Thankful For” as the pilgrim chops carrots, boils cranberry sauce, and adds salt to a . . . foot? Yes, the centerpiece isn’t a turkey but a person bound to a table surrounded by potatoes, onions, and all the trappings of dinner. Ready for roasting! From there, all holiday hell breaks loose. The twisted humor explodes with bombastic violence enacted by a variety of Thanksgiving implements, including an oven, a corn needle, a meat tenderizer, etc. While this is a story about a community rediscovering its strength in the wake of tragedy, it looks to include enough bloody stuffing to keep this horror fan satisfied through the holidays. With sixteen years of build up for this special treat, I know my fellow horror hounds are ready to gobble up whatever Thanksgiving madness Roth serves. As Rick Hoffman says at the end of the trailer with a devilish smile: “Let’s eat.”
Thanksgiving releases this week! Check it out in theaters on November 17th. Until then, you can watch the trailer below!