Thanksgiving is a modest holiday, a family-oriented time of reflection upon those things for which we are thankful. It’s a quiet, tryptophan-laden pause between the spooky revelry of Halloween and the one-two punch of religion and consumerism that is Christmas. But between family strife, the pressures of elaborate meal preparation, travel woes, and impending Black Friday, Thanksgiving can also be a time fraught with peril!
While most families gird their loins and hold it together throughout the feast, for others the pressure has to blow; or leads to blows. Like, say, this little fracas. “One of my uncles got incredibly drunk and decided to make a speech. He proceeded to grade each of his brothers’ wives, listing all of their positive and negative attributes. He then turned to my stepmother, who is married to his twin brother, and told her he hated her taking his brother away. This started a huge brawl, which resulted in bloody noses, a broken arm, and my baby cousin pooping on the front lawn because he couldn’t get inside to use the bathroom.”
Here’s another turkey-time tale. “My mom went to my sister’s house for the traditional holiday feast. Knowing how gullible my sister is, my mom decided to play a trick. She told my sister that she needed something from the store and asked if my sister wouldn’t mind going out to get it. When my sister left the house, my mom took the turkey out of the oven, removed the stuffing, stuffed a Cornish hen, and inserted it into the turkey, then re-stuffed the turkey. She then placed the bird(s) back into the oven.
“When it was time for dinner, my sister pulled the turkey out of the oven and proceeded to remove the stuffing. When her serving spoon hit something, she reached in and pulled out the little bird. With a look of total shock on her face, my mother exclaimed, ‘Barbara, you’ve cooked a pregnant bird!’ At the reality of this horrifying news, my sister started to cry hysterically. It took the entire family almost two hours to convince her that turkeys lay eggs!”
Sadly there is a severe dearth of Thanksgiving horror films to take the edge off the holiday. On this list of “7 Best” Thanksgiving horror films, I’ve only even heard of two, and that’s for their over-the-top absurdity. Same here.
ThanksKilling is a no-budget cult fave starring a foul-mouthed and murderous “Turkie,” which proudly boasts of “Boobs in the first second!” So there’s that.
And Eli Roth’s fake movie trailer for Thanksgiving from Grindhouse — the 2007 double feature from Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino — was so popular that there are still rumors he will turn it into a real film. “This year there will be NO leftovers.” “White meat, dark meat – all will be carved.” Classic, but it’s over in under three minutes.
Perhaps because of its emphasis on devouring and gobbling things up, zombies are particularly abundant on Thanksgiving.
Finally, it isn’t really horror and it isn’t really about Thanksgiving, but there is no more subversive depiction of the Pilgrim/American Indian feast legend than in Addams Family Values, wherein Wednesday (Christina Ricci) decides its time for a more aggressive telling of the tale. “And for all these reasons I have decided to scalp you and burn your village to the ground.”