Friday, November 16, 2012

ThanksKilling / ThanksKilling 3

ThanksKilling/ThanksKilling 3
Jordan Downey
I really don’t care for movies that fall under the ‘deliberately bad’ category.  Rather than poking fun at some of the clich├ęs and failings of horror and science-fiction, it’s often just an excuse for lazy film making.  There are a few notable exceptions, films that use a bargain-basement aesthetic and loopy scriptwriting to produce something sublime.

The plot for ThanksKilling is relatively simple; Natives put a curse on the Pilgrims by summoning a demonic turkey that will rise every 500 years to wreak havoc. In the modern day, a group of partying college kids discover they are being stalked by said demonic turkey and must consult the gathered knowledge of turkiologists in hopes of finding a way to stop him.

The original ThanksKilling is a holiday themed slasher-parody complete with nudity, one liners and a memorable villain: Turkie, the villainous turkey puppet hungry for vengeance. Despite its micro-budget, it’s acted well enough, the special effects, although on the cheap side, have a rough charm to them. Turkie is a fun antagonist and most surprisingly of all, it’s actually funny. This alone puts it ahead of 99% of horror spoofs. It runs a brief seventy minutes, which is probably exactly the right amount of time to keep things fresh and moving along at an engaging pace.

To think the seeds of what was created by ThanksKilling could result in ThanksKilling 3 is mind boggling.

ThanksKilling 3 tells the story of the fate of ThanksKilling 2, a movie reportedly so terrible every copy has been destroyed, save for one which falls into the felt hands of Yomi (voiced by Jordan Downey), a Jim Henson–style puppet who is currently in search of her mind which fled her some time ago. Yomi meets up with Uncle Donny (Daniel Usaj) a TV spokesman for the Pluckmaster 3000 and would-be creator of a Thanksgiving themepark. He also has a brother Jefferson (Joe Hartzler), and a rapping grandma named Flowis. Turkie along with his son, Nibla (voiced by Preston Altree) target Yomi and her friends in hopes of getting the last copy of ThanksKilling 2 and using it to unleash devastation on the world. Their journey takes them to Featherwold and Turkey Hell. Along the way we also meet Turkie’s ThanksKilling 2 co-star Rhonda Worm (voiced by Kevin Stewart) and his bio-mechanoid MUFF (Jordan Downey).

ThanksKilling 3 is a leap of light-years in terms of just about everything. The script is ambitious, the puppets and effects are imaginative, and the whole project just feels bigger and better. It’s consistently funny and inventive. Interestingly there moments of absolute beauty, many of which I can’t help but feel were inspired by Beyond the Black Rainbow (2010), because it certainly taps into that same hallucinatory 1980’s VHS aesthetic.

With the shear variety of rubber monsters, blood, and mayhem, the whole thing feels a little a bit like a GWAR movie with a dubstep score. So proceed with your tolerance for those things in mind.

It runs twice the length as the original ‘ThanksKilling’ and I feel that’s just a little bit too long, there are a few scenes of the heroes standing around staring at the solution to their problem and not doing anything that could have been trimmed down, but I also feel some of the long running time is to also to accommodate the numerous ideas they had for the film and that’s never a mark against a movie.

ThanksKilling is good but ThanksKilling 3 is remarkable, and both are fine way to spend Turkey Day.

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