For horror fans, Thanksgiving can be a bit of a disappointment. There are too many Halloween and Christmas horror films to name, but the genre leaves Thanksgiving out in the cold. Here are the most memorable of the select few Thanksgiving horror films.
Slasher films were all the rage in the 1980s. After the success of John Carpenter’s Halloween in 1978, the American film industry produced numerous horror films with holiday settings. This batch included Silent Night, Deadly Night, My Bloody Valentine, April Fool’s Day, Friday the 13th, and New Year’s Evil. The only Thanksgiving slasher film made during this time was Blood Rage, a movie with a very generic title that in no way indicates it’s set around Thanksgiving. The film is about twin brothers – one murderous, one innocent – both played by Mark Soper. Soper gives an interesting, if somewhat bizarre, pair of performances, and the film works as comfort food for fans of 1980s B-movies.
‘Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County’
Here’s a TV movie that proved to be shockingly influential. Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County is a pseudo-documentary about a family who are abducted by aliens during their Thanksgiving. The film depicts what is supposedly the home movie taken by one of the family members during the abduction. Released one year before The Blair Witch Project, Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County premiered at a time when audiences were not familiar with the concept of found-footage horror.
Many viewers erroneously believe the film was an actual home movie and we’re scared to death by it. Edgar Allan Poe and several other horror authors from an earlier era had tried to pass off their works of fiction as facts. Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County was one of the first horror films to incorporate that gimmick.
Here’s yet another Thanksgiving horror film that does nothing to advertise its setting in its title. Kristy is about a student who is alone on her college campus during Thanksgiving break. During her break, she is targeted by a Satanic cyber-cult. There are plenty of horror films out there about Satanic cults or the perils of technology but Kristy is probably the first horror movie to combine the two. What makes this little slasher film especially bizarre is it’s not just a Thanksgiving horror movie about a Satanic cyber-cult, it’s a Thanksgiving horror movie about a Satanic cyber-cult that premiered on the Lifetime Network. The film might not be great, but at least it proves the Lifetime Network is willing to go outside of its comfort zone.
ThanksKilling embraces its Thanksgiving setting more than any other film on this list. ThanksKilling is about a talking turkey that goes on a murder spree. The turkey is “played” by a rubbery puppet. Maybe a serious film with this plot could have been made in the mid-50s, but this little-seen 2008 horror film is intentionally campy and vulgar. Fans of ThanksKilling will want to check out its only sequel – ThanksKilling 3.