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Film / ThanksKilling

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This is one turkey you will not be giving thanks for!

ThanksKilling (also known as Death Turkey) is a comedy-slasher film released in 2009.

In 1621, after being slighted by pilgrim Chuck Langston, skilled shaman Feathercloud used powerful necromancy to resurrect a turkey as a monster, which proceeded to massacre the pilgrims on the first Thanksgiving Day, before entering a state of hibernation.

Five-hundred and five years later, college student Kristen Roud and her friends - Johnny, Ali, Darren and Billy (who is descended from Langston) - are heading to their respective homes for Thanksgiving break, just as the evil turkey wakes up, killing a dog who found him in the process. Pursued by the dog's revenge obsessed owner, Oscar, the turkey embarks on a killing spree, intent on wiping out Kristen, her friends, and everyone else he comes across.

This film was the first film featured in Achievement Hunter's Theater Mode.

2012 saw the release of a Kickstarter-funded sequel called ThanksKilling 3.

Not to be confused with the 2023 slasher Thanksgiving or the fake trailer from Grindhouse on which it's based.

ThanksKilling provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Aerosol Flamethrower: Kristen sets the turkey on fire by spraying an aerosol can in front of a lighter.
  • All Women Are Prudes: Ali is a self-proclaimed one, but she is an idiot, and the others are quick to point out she is, in fact, a slut.
  • Amicably Divorced: Sheriff Roud seems pretty unfazed by his wife's request for a divorce:
    Sheriff Roud: "Goddamn Sheryl! That coffee tastes like shit! What you do, take a dump in it?"
    Sheryl: "As a matter of fact, I sure did. I want a fuckin' divorce!"
    Sheriff Roud: "... Awright then."
  • Aside Glance: A look toward the audience in reaction to other characters' statements is done by the turkey, repeatedly.
  • Attack of the Killer Whatever: A horror film about a killer turkey.
  • Batter Up!: Kristen uses a bat against the turkey.
  • Beat Still, My Heart: Darren's death involves his heart being ripped out.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: A randy motorist stops for the turkey due to wanting to have sex with it. Ali also suffers an incident of this that causes her death.
  • Big Bad: The Turkey is the main villain, as the goal of the heroes is to end his killing spree by destroying him.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Oscar showing up to blast the turkey as it flees its teepee. It comes back to life later, though.
    • The sequel has one as well. It appears Turkey is going to kill our protagonists, but cue Turkey getting blasted with a canon, courtesy of Muff & Rhonda Worm.
  • Big Eater: Billy is a complete glutton.
  • Big Ol Eye Brows: The turkey, in his origin flashback.
  • Bigger on the Inside: The turkey's teepee has an interior larger than how it looks on the outside.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The turkey is killed, however almost all the main characters and supporting characters are dead. Among the film's main characters, only Kristen lives to tell the tale by the end.
  • Black Comedy Rape: Right after killing Ali’s boyfriend while he was having sex with her, the Turkey proceeds to replace him in the act before killing her as well. Don't ask.
    "You just got stuffed!"
  • Blah, Blah, Blah: The turkey's response to the group reading the demonic saying meant to rob him of his powers, until it actually starts affecting him.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Johnny's death (he was stabbed with an electric carving knife, but it never really focuses on the wound itself).
  • Bond One-Liner: The turkey makes some one-liners before killing his victims.
  • Boom, Headshot!: The turkey blows a guy's head off with a shotgun, and later sustains a gunshot wound to the face courtesy of Oscar.
  • Brainless Beauty: Ali is beautiful and a complete moron.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Feathercloud's teepee had several dead animals hanging in it... along with a severed penis.
  • Broken Heel: The pilgrim in the opening trips on a rock.
  • Cassandra Truth: Kristen, initially, is disbelieved when she claims to have seen the turkey.
  • Chase Scene: The film opens with a chase between the turkey and a topless pilgrim. Thanks Killing 3 has a famous one with Yomi & Rhonda Worm fleeing from Blarth, aka Frankinturkey.
  • Chest Burster: Billy's death involves the turkey bursting out of his stomach.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Sheriff Roud is a pretty weird man.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: There are many utterances of the F-word.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Sheriff Roud having one of the books about the killer turkey legend lying around. Indeed, it's one of only a handful of books he owns.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Johnny sees himself as this, just because he happened to have some rope and a lighter on hand.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Johnny reminiscing about his father playing football with him, plus the turkey's origin flashback, are shown in black and white when the rest of the film is in color.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: We learn a little about the heroes even though only one of them ends up surviving the movie.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: "Well, I took this here axe, and I axe-ciddentally cut him. Get it? Axe-ccident!"
  • Don't Go in the Woods: Some of the turkey's victims meet their end after going into the woods.
  • Dramatic Unmask: The turkey taking off Sheriff Rouds's severed face is treated this way.
  • Excrement Statement: Sheriff Roud's wife shows contempt toward her husband and informs him she wants a divorce after shitting in his coffee.
  • Eye Scream: Johnny's mother's body is missing the eyes.
  • Fanservice: The film opens with a topless female pilgrim being chased through the forest.
  • Fanservice Extra: Said pilgrim is a minor character and the fanservice she provides before being killed is all there is to her character.
  • Fat Idiot: Billy is overweight and a complete idiot.
  • Faux Affably Evil: The turkey sometimes acts cordial toward his victims, but it does nothing to hide the fact that he's a remorseless killer.
  • Feathered Fiend: The villain of the movie is a demonic turkey.
  • Final Girl: Kristen ends up the only one of the main characters to survive the events of the film.
  • Fish out of Water: Averted. The turkey has no problem adapting to modern times.
  • Flashback Effects: The turkey's origin is shown via a black and white animated sequence.
  • Flipping the Bird: Johnny flips off Billy at one point.
  • Fly-at-the-Camera Ending: The turkey leaps at the camera in the ending.
  • Giggling Villain: The turkey is constantly laughing.
  • The Glasses Come Off: Darren, after Billy's death.
  • Go into the Light: As he's dying, Darren hallucinates Billy telling him this.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: The turkey manages to have a casual conversation with the sheriff while wearing a disguise. At least until he mistakes him for a duck.
  • Gorn: The film has an assload of bloody violence.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The turkey killing Oscar's dog isn't shown on-screen aside from some blood splattering.
  • Gratuitous Rape: The turkey's rape of Ali comes out of nowhere and doesn't really add much to the film.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: Done several times, most prominently with Billy's spilt innards.
  • Hammerspace: Where does the turkey keep those weapons?
  • The Hedonist: Chuck Langston is heavily implied to have been one, since the flashback explaining the origin of the turkey shows him holding a naked woman close to him.
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: This is a horror film taking place during Thanksgiving.
  • I Am Not Weasel: One very easy way to set the turkey off is to mistake him for a duck.
  • I Drank WHAT?!: Sheriff Rouds drinks coffee that tastes like shit, which turns out to be because his wife defecated in it.
  • I Have a Family: Said by a guy the turkey holds at gunpoint. To be a dick, the turkey forces him to call his daughter, then kills him.
  • I'm Melting!: The turkey's overblown reaction to being set on fire.
  • Immune to Bullets: Shooting the turkey doesn't do any good in stopping it.
  • Impersonating an Officer: Done by the turkey, via wearing Sheriff Rouds's face like a mask.
  • Improvised Weapon: The turkey at one point stabs Darren in the ass with a meat thermometer.
  • Incoming Ham:
    The Turkey: "Nice tits, bitch!"
  • Informed Species: The turkey looks like a vulture.
  • It's All My Fault: Said by Johnny. He feels responsible for the turkey endangering his friends and their families.
  • Jerkass: The turkey is, in addition to being a murderous maniac, a foulmouthed misogynistic rapist with a very mean-spirited attitude and a fondness for killing other animals.
  • Kick the Dog: The turkey hacks Oscar's dog to bits, rips open a baby bunny and throws it into a fire, rapes a girl before killing her, and forces a guy to call his daughter before killing him. Goddamn.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: The motorist who picks up the turkey is shot before finishing his phone call to his daughter.
  • Kill It with Fire: Apparently the best method of disposing of the turkey is to set him on fire.
  • Large Ham: The turkey, despite being a puppet, provides a lot of hammy and scenery-chewing dialogue.
  • Loud Gulp: Done by Oscar's dog after it stumbles across the turkey.
  • Loud of War: When Kristen screams when she first encounters the turkey, it evidently causes him some distress.
  • Lovable Jock: Johnny is a macho guy who isn't a hateful bully.
  • Man on Fire: The turkey gets set on fire.
  • Mathematician's Answer:
    Johnny: "But, we gave your people land, and we let you have casinos. Doesn't that make up for what our ancestors did?"
    The Turkey: "It almost did... but it didn't."
  • Meat-O-Vision: A hungry Billy hallucinates the turkey is a cartoony-looking cooked one, and somehow eats it whole. This does not end well.
  • Mobile Menace: So it turns out the turkey can drive.
  • Mr. Exposition: Darren explains why the turkey exists and why it's killing everyone.
  • My Car Hates Me: The jeep briefly breaks down, forcing the main characters to camp out for the night.
  • Neck Snap: Ali's death has the turkey snap her neck.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Turkeys and radioactive waste apparently mix rather well. Thanks for showing us, Oscar.
  • No Name Given: The filmmakers toyed with the idea of giving the turkey a name, but were unable to decide on one, and ended up just settling for "the Killer Turkey". Some sources call it "Turkie".
  • Noodle Incident: Whatever it was Langston did to offend Feathercloud is never revealed.
  • Not Quite Dead: The turkey turns out to survive being shot by Oscar because of his body landing in a trash bin of radioactive waste.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: The turkey claims to be killing people as punishment for the mistreatment and disrespect of Native Americans. While this may have been true in the past, his present version's overt sadism combined with the fact that he's killing people who've done nothing of the sort makes it clear that this is just a fig-leaf justification for mass slaughter.
  • Nuclear Mutant: After being shot in the head, the turkey is revived by radioactive waste contained by the dumpster he lands in.
  • Odd Friendship: Billy (redneck) and Darren (nerd).
  • Off with His Head!: Bill and a pilgrim (in a flashback) end up being decapitated.
  • Oh, Crap!: The turkey's reaction to being confronted by a shotgun-wielding Oscar, and later right before Kristen sets him on fire.
  • One-Steve Limit: In-universe, we have group member Billy, and Johnny's father Bill.
  • Our Demons Are Different: The turkey is implied to be a demon of some sort.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: A demonic turkey who kills people and is somehow able to speak and do other things that humans are capable of.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: The turkey tricks Sheriff Roud with Groucho Marx glasses, and a few minutes later tricks everyone else by wearing the sheriff's face and hat.
  • Peek-a-Boo Corpse: Johnny coming across his mother's strung up body.
  • The Pig-Pen: Billy is a bit of a slob.
  • Police Are Useless: There's only one cop in the film, and he's a dumbass. Not that most of the other characters are much smarter, mind.
  • Power Source: The turkey's talisman. Taking it, and chanting a demonic saying backwards, will remove his invulnerability.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: The turkey makes some clever statements when he's about to kill someone.
  • Pungeon Master: The turkey tends to make puns about what he does to his victims.
  • R-Rated Opening: The opening shot of the film is a woman's breasts, which the DVD cover gives a warning about.
  • Reaction Shot: Shots are shown of people reacting to discovering the corpses of the turkey's victims.
  • Really Dead Montage: Billy's death features a montage of scenes featuring him to really make it clear that he's killed for good.
  • Really Gets Around: Ali is very promiscuous. Other characters quip that her legs are harder to close than the JonBenet Ramsey case.
  • Recycled In Space: "To be continued... IN SPACE!"
  • Regularly Scheduled Evil: The turkey roams the Earth every five-hundred and five years.
  • Right Through His Pants: Ali and Greg's sex scene clearly shows them wearing underwear.
  • Rule of Three: Attempted with the JonBenet Ramsey joke, but Billy bungles it the third time.
  • Scream Discretion Shot: Screams, presumably made by more pilgrims, can be heard coming from the direction the one in the opening is running from. Said pilgrim's death, and Sheriff Roud's, are also handled this way.
  • Sequel Hook: The now cooked turkey comes back to life in the middle of a family's Thanksgiving dinner.
    "Do I smell sequel!?"
  • Sex Signals Death:
    • The guy who wanted to have sex with the turkey gets killed by the turkey in retaliation.
    • Greg and Ali both get killed by the turkey while having sex.
  • Shaky P.O.V. Cam: The turkey's POV is purple tinted.
  • The Sheriff: Roud is a sheriff, but he doesn't really do much and is even deceived by the turkey.
  • Shirtless Scene: Provided by Billy early on.
  • Sickly Green Glow: The turkey develops one after being exposed to radioactive waste.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: The turkey has it out for Billy in particular because he's descended from Chuck Langston, a pilgrim who slighted Feathercloud.
  • Skyward Scream: When Oscar is raging over the loss of his dog at the feathers of the turkey, we cut to the sky above.
  • Slashed Throat: Greg and Johnny's mother's deaths have their throats slit.
  • Thanksgiving Day Story: The film takes place during Thanksgiving.
  • Time-Compression Montage: When the group are looking for a book about the turkey legend.
  • Tipis and Totem Poles: Feathercloud presumably lived in what is now New England, considering his vendetta against a pilgrim. However, he had a tipi, which is associated with Great Plains natives.
  • Title Drop: "It's a pretty famous story. Turkeyologists all over the world know it as... Thankskilling."
  • Title In: "The year is 1621, the olden days."
  • Toilet Humor: There is some of it, like the turkey being awakened because his totem was peed on by a dog and Sheriff Roud's wife defecating in his coffee to spite him.
  • Tongue Trauma: The turkey rips out Darren's tongue when he kills him.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Everyone in the entire film is evidently too stupid to stop the turkey before it is too late. Forget the Fridge Logic of the characters not being freaked out by the fact that the turkey talks, the kids can't even tell the difference when the turkey is masquerading as the Sherrif—and one of the kids happens to be the Sheriff's daughter.
  • Totally Radical: When Darren is describing what he wants to do during the break.
  • The Undead: The turkey was created through necromancy, so he presumably counts as a member of the undead.
  • Undercrank: The gang meeting up outside the school has the footage shot at a slower pace.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Pink pumpkin pie" is used to refer to vaginas.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: No one seems to find it odd that the turkey can talk.
  • Urine Trouble: Oscar's dog pees on the turkey. He gets pissed.
  • Villains Out Shopping: The turkey is shown preparing a salad in his teepee.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Johnny and his father have a pretty cruddy relationship, since Johnny is no longer a star football player.
  • Why Won't You Die?: Said by Darren to the turkey, right before it kills him.
  • World of Ham: Everyone here is hammy.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: The turkey was created circa 1621, and awakens every five-hundred and five years. That would mean the main events of the film take place somewhere around 2126. However, it's implied that the dog peeing on the totem pole might've woken it prematurely.
  • Your Mom:
    Darren: "So guys, I was thinking, y'know, since it's Thanksgiving and all, that we should go around and say what we're thankful for."
    Billy: "I'm thankful that your mom has the juiciest poon in town."

ThanksKilling 3 provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Anthropomorphic Food: What little we see of the non-existent ThanksKilling 2 features Turkie interacting with a sentient pumpkin pie named Pie-Lett.
  • Big Bad: Like in the previous film, the main antagonist is the killer turkey, but he's now given the name Turkie.
  • Chainsaw Good: After being put back together by his undead underlings, Turkie ends up attaching a chainsaw to his groin and using it as his signature weapon when they inform him that they misplaced his penis, complete with an Evil Dead Shout-Out:
    Turkey: "Gravy."
  • Creating Life: FrankenTurkey, aka, Blarth!
  • Denser and Wackier: The original was already wacky, but the sequel takes it up to eleven.
  • Dirty Old Woman: Flowis is extremely elderly, admits to going through a lot of younger boyfriends, and apparently wishes to perform oral sex on God when she goes to Heaven.
  • Disney Death:
    • Yomi appears to get killed when Turkey lops off her arm with a chainsaw, but comes back to life after Uncle Donny puts his hand through the hole in her body (she's a puppet).
    • Rhonda Worm ends up crushed to a bloody mess at one point, but is later shown to have regenerative abilities.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Blarth does not wanna be called "FrankenTurkey!" It sucks and Blarth is cool. Like Blarth Brookes or Blarth Mall.
    Turkey: "Chew her up, FrankenTurkey."
    Blarth: "The name is Goddamn Blarth! Goddamn Blarth! Goddammit, my name is Blaaaarth!!!"
  • Dude, Not Funny!: After Yomi has sacrifices herself into the space vortex with the last known copy of ThanksKilling 2, all that's left behind are pieces of fealt. Muff sings a song about her death & tells Donny he's thinking of making a hat with the fealt pieces raining down. A very unamused Donny gives him a death glare and a warning that it's "too soon."
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Subverted. Turkie is shown with a wife and son, but kills the first when he learns that she got rid of the only copy of ThanksKilling 2 copy and then sacrifices the other to find the copy.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Yomi ends up sacrificing herself by going into the vortex with the last copy of ThanksKilling 2.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: Uncle Donny frequently voices his distaste for Rhonda Worm's worm puns.
  • Not Quite Dead: Turkey appears to get killed by Uncle Donny's Pluckmaster partway through the film, but he comes back after ordering his undead turkey minions to put him back together.
  • Offing the Offspring: Turkie kills his son so that he can use his soul to find the only remaining copy of ThanksKilling 2.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: A few examples
    • Jefferson ends up getting killed before his mother Flowis, whose own death at Turkie's hands happens a good while after that of her son's.
    • Donny's wife & son were killed by wolves when he sent them out for stuffing for Pluckmaster.
    • Played straight & Subverted by Nibbla & Turkey. Turkey kills his son & uses his soul to find his movie but he eventually resurrects Nibbla as part of the DVD.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Yomi and Rhonda Worm manage to make it past Turkie's army of undead turkeys by wearing fake beaks.
  • Papa Wolf: Donny to Yomi. He finds her annoying at first but watches out for her when he agrees to show her Thanksgiving, defending her from Jefferson as well as shielding her from Turkey when he first appears.
  • Please, Don't Leave Me: During Yomi's heroic sacrifice, Donny desperately pleads with her to stay with him, but she's resolved to go into the vortex where she's finally found her lost mind.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Yomi for Donny, who tragically lost his family. Though he finds her annoying at first, he feels bad when she says she doesn't know her parents. He agrees to show her Thanksgiving and watches out for her from then on. By the end of the film, he seems to see her as a surrogate child & was heartbroken upon losing her too.
  • Running Gag: Jefferson welcoming Turkie's victims to Heaven when they get killed (with the exception of Yomi's Disney Death, where he simply says "Fuck you" to her).
  • Spell My Name With An S: Turkie.
  • Tragic Keepsake: After Yomi sacrifices herself into the vortex, a sad Donny is seen holding a piece of fealt, which is all that's left of her.
  • Un-Installment: ThanksKilling 2 doesn't exist in real life, but a major plot point of this sequel is that ThanksKilling 2 was so bad that it was pulled from distribution and all known copies of it have been destroyed, with Turkie planning to find a copy of the unreleased sequel so he can use it to curse everyone.