Back in 2009, an extremely independent Thanksgiving themed horror film was created called ThanksKilling, introducing the world to a foul-mouthed and murderous one-liner serving fowl named Turkie. I caught Jordan Downey’s film streaming on Netflix late one night with an equally open-minded horror fan, and we were completely taken aback by the amature-ish nature of the film. It was like a film school project gone wrong, attempting to make the most crude jokes and terrible dialogue while playing around with a turkey puppet, hoping to achieve “so bad it’s good” fame. I mean sure, OK, a horror film centered around a demonic turkey with a knack for terrible puns sounded like an entertaining watch at least, as long as you’re a die-hard B-Movie fan, but the intelligence level of ThanksKilling was comparable to an unborn fetus. A downright painful experience for anyone expecting a fun, low-budget horror romp with some demented holiday action.
How could our director stop at just one film though, as ThanksKilling OBVIOUSLY begged for a sequel! Low and behold, director Jordan Downey knew there was a market for terrible horror still available, and was ready to give the people what we thought no one was asking for – a second helping of Turkie. So, depending on his loyal fans, Downey started a Kickstarted campaign for a ThanksKilling sequel, and, well, you can figure out the rest. Enough people apparently loved watching a turkey puppet curse and kill with absolutely no tact or style, and thus ThanksKilling 3 was hatched. Who needs a ThanksKilling 2 when you can skip it and continue your ride down the toilet even quicker!
But nothing I saw in ThanksKilling could prepare me for ThanksKilling 3. NOTHING! I’m just going to start throwing words about associated with Downey’s sequel, and you can string them together however you can imagine. Dubstep. Numerous raunchy puppets. Men wearing colonial wigs. Long Pike. Space Vortex. Muff. Seagul taxi service. Mechanical turkey cooker/plucker. I mean…
So yeah, where ThanksKilling was a straight slasher with Turkie as the villain, ThanksKilling 3 is a super meta hybrid full of flashy colors and bumping beats, kind of like a violent and appalling puppet rave where a murderous turkey gets loose and kills other puppets, like a bad Thanksgiving LSD trip. Seriously, there were only 2 human characters.
But hold on, meta you say? In world where turkeys can kill free? Hold please.
ThanksKilling 3 takes place in a universe where ThanksKilling 2 was released, an abysmal film starring Turkie that takes place in space. Deemed the worst film in history, the studio orders all products related to the film burned in a giant flaming heap, except one copy of the DVD which was simply thrown away. Turkie, now a beaten and soul-crushed family man, hears the news his newest sequel has been shelved indefinitely, and turns back into the maniacal psychopathic killer from before, making it his goal to find the very last copy. If the copy is released to the public, all who watch will die a horrible death, and it’s up to an eclectic group of muppet like creatures (Yomi, WiseTurkey, Muff, Rhonda Worm) to save the day, along with the help of inventor Uncle Donny (Daniel Usaj).
Yeah, so here’s the deal. If you’re one of the people who contributed to the Kickstarter campaign and enjoyed every bit of horrible goodness from ThanksKilling, you’re going to absolutely LOVE Downey’s sequel skipping sequel. The utter insanity is ramped up tenfold, Turkie is still full of criminally pun-tastic comments, plus you’ve got new characters getting in on the one-liner fun like Rhonda’s equally incorrigible worm puns. It’s probably everything you’ve dreamed Downey could accomplish with another film, and hot damn, it’s there for you, covered in a thick gravy of “what the f#&k.”
But what if you didn’t like ThankKilling? There’s no way Downey’s film will win you over, because it only gets more absurd. Most haters will reject ThanksKilling 3‘s hard to swallow F-grade humor and underwhelming writing, dismissing Turkie and his gang in a matter of minutes. What, a cursing, killing turkey isn’t enough for you?
But I say most haters because I was definitely in that majority after my only ThanksKilling viewing, yet found enjoyable moments among ThanksKilling 3. My DVD collection is filled with cheesy gore-fests and cult classics, and I believe Downey had a better grasp of achieving that now popular mentality of purposely creating something so terrible viewers have no choice but to laugh. It’s an extremely risky maneuver, because most people just turn in shit and hope someone eats it up anyway, but hell, Downey knocked a few gut laughs out of me.
What separated ThanksKilling 3 from ThanksKilling was a once missing sense of individuality, transforming from unwatchable horror crapfest to one of a kind horror/comedy volcano of confusing hilarity. With a bigger budget, Downey is at least able to polish his turd, drenching it in a tone relatable to the Trost brothers’ DDR cult “thriller” The FP, especially via soundtrack. Zain Effendi’s techno horror dubstep original music might have been my favorite part of the whole film, setting up scenes of chaos full of smoke, flashing lights, zappy lazers, and mesmerizing weirdness.
Downey also threw in cult references into the script for people to chuckle at, at least making the film more fun and enjoyable for horror fans and pop culture fans alike. I mean, a Starfox reference in the opening minutes? Alright Jordan Downey, I have to give some props your way just for that. Oh yeah, and there’s the hilarious FrankenTurkey Blarth, who managed to weasel his way into my heart with limited screen time, obnoxiously screaming his every move. So stupidly silly, yet downright funny.
In short, if you loved ThanksKilling and all its fixin’s, ThanksKilling 3 will be a lavish helping of Thanksgiving inspired horror. On the other hand, if you couldn’t stomach Turkie the first time around, you better believe a second helping will leave you on the floor, retching in pain.
In the immortally tweaked words of Turkie: “Gobble Gobble, Mother F*#ker!”
Happy Thanksgiving Turkie fans!