Want to get your horror habit aligned with the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday? Allow me to help… Unsurprisingly, there’ isn’t a huge selection for horror films that are either inspired by or take place during Thanksgiving, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t enough to get you through the holiday and beyond in harvest horror heaven! I hope you have an appetite for some appallingly amazing B-movie horror at its best, however. A few of these are real doozies! Here’s the list by genre/subgenre. Enjoy!
In this 2006 short, two couples are celebrating Thanksgiving when an unexpected guest arrives and adds torture to the menu. Scott Ennis, creative marketer for The House of the Devil and The Devil Inside, was at the helm of this film project, which was written, produced, cast, directed, shot, edited, marketed and released all in less than twenty-one days.
An accused homicidal lunatic escapes from the asylum on Thanksgiving to exact revenge on his twin brother for framing him but, timed perfectly with the escape, the evil twin starts indulging in his blood rage once again. Initially shot in 1983, Blood Rage wasn’t released to theaters until 1987 under the title “Nightmare at Shadow Woods”.
Home Sweet Home - 1981
Thanksgiving must be the optimum time for escaping the mental institution. An escaped psychopath steals a car and shows up at an annual Friendsgiving where all hell breaks loose – including a KISS fan being murdered with an electric guitar. Home Sweet Home was written by Thomas Bush, who also assisted with sound editing in The Evil Dead II.
During Thanksgiving break, a group of amateur college filmmakers think they’ve found the perfect location to shoot their thesis film at an abandoned campground deep in the woods. Bobby Ray Akers Jr. directed ThanXgiving as well as a Christmas horror, titled Night Terrors.
This made for TV movie was adapted from a Dean Koontz novel if the same name and depicts a twenty-six-year-old psychology student’s struggle to help free the captive of a serial killer who murdered her friend and her family during a Thanksgiving celebration. Intensity stars John C. McGinley and Molly Parker.
Blood Freak isn’t technically a Thanksgiving themed horror, but when the killer is a turkey-headed creature, I have no choice but to include it here. Out of all the marijuana and drug cautionary tales you might come across in films, getting transformed into a bloodthirsty turkey-headed monster is the most appropriately trippy of them all.
It doesn’t get more “Thanksgiving horror” than having a (topless) pilgrim murdered by a tomahawk-wielding demon turkey in the first few moments of the film. It also doesn’t get any saner since the killer turkey madness in ThanksKilling only accelerates from that point. Get ready for horror comedy that’s shamelessly silly and disturbing and pass the… anything but the turkey.
If you’re not altogether done with Turkie, the demon turkey, after watching ThanksKilling, you might consider moving on to the movie that skipped its own sequel, ThanksKilling 3. That’s right there is no ThanksKilling 2. Well, I guess there is one last copy somewhere, as per the plotline for this not so necessary follow-up to the first film.
Monster: Sci-fi & Aliens
This is a made for TV movie about a family that is attacked and subsequently abducted by aliens during a Thanksgiving Day celebration. This found footage horror predates The Blair Witch Project, which is given credit for popularizing that particular film style.
Paranormal: Ghosts & Spirits
During the Thanksgiving holiday, a young man is terrorized by the unknown entity that used to haunt his childhood. Director Stephen Kay also directed The Lizzie Borden Chronicles, which aired this year, and screenplay writer, Eric Kripke, references this film in an episode of his show hit horror show, Supernatural.
Psychological: Home Invasion & Survival
When a college student decides to stay behind, alone on campus over Thanksgiving break, she encounters a small group of cult members who have a deadly agenda and must fight to survive the holiday. Haley Bennett, Ashley Greene and Lucas till are all part of a highly recognizable cast in a virtually forgotten film.
One of the four fake trailers that aired before the showing of Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s double feature, Grindhouse, Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving (2007) has left many a fan wanting more. That’s barely a surprise. Who wouldn’t want to watch the full feature depicting a turkey-obsessed pilgrim on a killing spree during Thanksgiving, rather than that snoozefest of a parade! Though Roth has confirmed the full-length film is on its way, we’ll just have to enjoy the trailer and wait, for now. Happy Thanksgiving!