Every year once August rolls around I find myself getting into the Halloween spirit. That means a ton of horror films and other ghoulishly glorious fall fun. Yet as a horror fan, there is much to love throughout the entire Holiday season. One of my favorite Yuletide genre offerings is the 1974 classic BLACK CHRISTMAS which I try to watch at least once a year. Of course there are so many other great not-so-merry flicks to celebrate with including the controversial SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT from 1984, TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT in 1980 and the goofy JACK FROST from 1996. Hell, you can even find a number of family friendly scares with GREMLINS from 1984 and Tim Burton’s incredible THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS from 1993.
Sure most movie-goers are looking for something a little less dark and dreary, but for folks that crave a spook or two, you have a number of flicks to choose from this time of year. You can even ring in the New Year with NEW YEAR’S EVIL from 1980 or the more obscure BLOODY NEW YEAR from 1987. Granted there aren’t quite as many for the end of the year, but for me TERROR TRAIN from 1980 is a great one to celebrate with. However, there is very little true slasher fun for that special time of year when families share a meal – aside from that disturbing music video “Thanksgiving” by Nicole Westbrook produced by the infamous Patrice Wilson. The truth is, turkey time leaves horror fans little to be thankful for, aside from HOME SWEET HOME from 1981 or THANKSKILLING in 2010. Yet in 2007 with the release of the Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez double feature GRINDHOUSE, we got a taste of something that could very well be the definitive Thanksgiving horror classic.
The fictitious trailer for THANKSGIVING directed by Eli Roth presents a wildly perverse and gruesomely comical nightmare come to life. This trippy near three minute Seventies influenced preview includes some wildly imaginative and horribly bloody images. Featuring genre great Michael Biehn as well as Jordan Ladd, Jay Hernandez and Roth himself, this gruesome goodness cooks up a raw mix of humor and horror that as far as I’m concerned could make for a seriously f*cked up feature film. From the cheerleader getting split on the trampoline to the three decapitations there is so much to love here. This short features more creativity than most genre flicks in their entirety. This would be the perfect excursion to take a break from football and feel good Oscar bait or mega budget wannabe hits – the kind of movies usually released during the big weekend.
While GRINDHOUSE had me salivating for some good trashy cinema, it failed to connect with the mainstream. Yet there is no doubt that you could find an audience for a film like THANKSGIVING. What horror fan doesn’t love a nice slice of holiday thrills and chills, especially one as perversely twisted as Eli Roth’s gore-ridden frightening feast of a preview? Along with Edgar Wright’s DON’T, the love for classic drive-in terror bled through these shock infused shorts. Both seemed perfectly suited to flesh out a full length movie. Roth created THANKSGIVING as a very clear revenge horror tale that surrounds the disturbed proceedings of a kid who witnesses his favorite turkey slaughtered and ends up a raving maniac because of it. It is one hell of a fun twist on the typical slasher flick with the mentally unbalanced psychopath... and I'm not talking about FREE BIRDS here.
In August of 2012 there was official word from Eli Roth himself that THANKSGIVING is actually going to happen. While chatting with Behind the Thrills at last year’s Goretorium he announced that he is working on a treatment with his "Thanksgiving" co-writer Jeff Rundell and that a screenplay would be coming soon. Yet that was over a year ago and clearly Roth has been super busy with executive producing duties on the series “Hemlock Grove” for Netflix as well as directing the cannibal craziness of THE GREEN INFERNO which is getting some really positive buzz. Clearly Roth likes to keep busy and he has expanded his repertoire over the years to not only writer/director but producer, actor and pretty much everything in between. It is even reported that he might be directing David O. Russell’s horror script which would be an interesting collaboration to say the least. Either way, it looks as though Roth won’t be taking a break anytime soon so the question is, will he have time to cook up a holiday themed nightmare?
Maybe it’s the booze talkin’, but Eli Roth’s THANKSGIVING would be an especially satisfying gore soaked genre feast. The trailer featured some of the most insanely inspired images which still managed to play a brilliantly bloody tribute to the splatter classics of old. With the latest ghost craze in horror how refreshing would it be to have a killer-on-the-loose with a ton of wildly wicked kills that moviegoers would never forget. And yes, I believe that Mr. Roth could pull this off and give fans a horror film that we could torture the family with on Thanksgiving break. Bring on the turkey and decapitations… This is one horror movie that I’ve been waiting for!