Holiday-themed horror movies are as traditional as pumpkin pie; however, one holiday that has, for the most part, escaped the blood and guts treatment is Thanksgiving. My search for a movie to view this week uncovered only a couple of hard-to-find titles.
Choosing the most recent, I watched 2009’s ThanksKilling. Little did I know that it would be appropriate in one other way: it’s a real turkey!
The opening subtitle reads, “1621, moments after the very first Thanksgiving”, then fades to reveal the very large nipple on the very large breast of a scantily-clad pilgrim woman (porn star Wanda Lust). The breasts keep bouncing, in glorious close-up, as she runs through the woods chased by… wait for it, an axe-wielding turkey. Let me give you a moment to savor the thought before I tell you that the turkey also talks, shouting, “Nice tits, bitch” as it hacks her to death.
Obviously, a movie featuring a turkey that spouts more one-liners than Freddy Krueger is not meant to be taken seriously. But while it’s intended to be a spoof, it’s so bad that it can’t even be appreciated from that perspective. On paper, with its cast of characters named Kristen (The Good Girl), Oscar (The Hermit), Darren (The Nerd), Johnny (The Jock) and Billy (The Hick), it sounds like it could be a clever spoof of an 80’s holiday-themed slasher movie, but the acting is so bad and the filmmaking so amateurish, that it’s more painful to watch than it is funny.
I feel like I’ve already given ThanksKilling more words than it deserves, but it got me to thinking about other Thanksgiving turkeys, or really awful horror movies. Now I haven’t seen every horror movie that’s out there, and if it looked really bad, I probably didn’t watch it in the first place; however, I have seen the following ten movies, and the only way you could possibly enjoy them is if you’re in a tryptophan coma. I expect one or two of them will be controversial choices, but hey, I’m the one planning the menu. If you disagree with me, take it up on the forums…
Orgy of the Dead (1965). Could any list of bad horror films be complete without mention of Ed Wood? Although there is charm in some of his “classics”, there is absolutely none in this one. With no story of which to speak, his writing credit is questionable. There is simply scene after scene of various… creatures (?) dancing in a graveyard.
The Brotherhood III: Young Demons (2002). Director David Decoteau has built his reputation on homoerotic, soft core porn disguised as horror. If that’s your cup of tea, the first two movies in this series aren’t bad. But with the third one, the quality goes way downhill. The cast isn’t even attractive, and that ruins the one good thing it could have going for it.
Alone in the Dark (2005) and The Raven (2006). If bad horror movies are our dinner, then Uwe Boll and Ulli Lommel are our chefs. Between the two of them, a good movie has not been made; these are simply the worst from each. Alone in the Dark is so murky that you can’t tell what’s going on (plus, it stars Christian Slater) and The Raven is like a bad trip (on medication, not the highway). If you can figure out either one of them, you’re a better person than I am.
Cabin Fever (2002). Here’s where I expect the controversy. I’m sorry, but Eli Roth’s film debut is just plain disgusting, and not in a good way. I don’t remember specifically why I hated this movie so much, but I’ve always kept a ratings history of every movie I see, regardless of the genre, and I gave Cabin Fever only a 2 out of 10. I’ve since thought that I should give it another chance, but I still haven’t washed its bad taste out of my mouth.
Funny Man (1994). No controversy here. I watched it because it “stars” Christopher Lee, but it’s a sad reminder that even famous actors need to pay their bills. The movie makes no sense and, worse, it’s boring. If you want me tell you what it’s about, sorry, I have no idea.
Turistas (2006). Been there, done that. This is the worst “pretty travelers terrorized in an exotic locale” movie I’ve ever seen. Someone forgot to tell the filmmakers that even though a story is familiar, it can still be entertaining. For this one, I say, “revoke their passports”.
Ghost Ship (2002). The opening sequence of this one is a bloody delight, but then it sails into a sea of incoherence. Considering that it came from Dark Castle Entertainment, sandwiched between the remake of Thirteen Ghosts and the super-creepy Gothika, this was a real disappointment.
Premonition (2004) aka The Psychic. Bad TV movie fare at its worse. Casper Van Dien and real life wife Catherine Oxenberg star. Enough said.
Shadows of the Dead (2004). Sometimes it’s best to leave a good idea on the back of the DVD case. I thought I’d like a movie about true, undying love, especially when represented between a young couple infected by zombies. But the only thing more painful than their long, slow transition was the theft of 92 minutes from my life that I’ll never get back.
As any horror fan knows, there are a lot of bad movies out there. These are just a handful that I consider to be particularly bad. What do you think? Are they really turkeys or are they delicacies to be savored? And what turkeys would you serve in their place? Just remember this Thanksgiving to be grateful, because no one is going to make us watch any of them.