THANKSGIVING TERROR: ThanksKilling (2007)

This is without a doubt the dumbest — and therefore most awesome — Thanksgiving slasher I’ve seen. It starts with a topless pilgrim woman being murdered by a turkey. A turkey named Turkie who was reborn through necromacy by  Feathercloud, a Native American shaman dishonored by pilgrim Chuck Langston. Now, every five-hundred and five years, Turkie rises to kill every white man he sees.

If you see a miniature totem pole, don’t allow your dog to piss on it. That just releases undead talking and murder-loving turkeys from their dark sleep. I usually dislike movies that set out to be funny, but this is a movie that has a turkey wear Groucho glasses to sneak its way past someone who doesn’t even noticed that they are speaking with a zombie ghost turkey.

Shot during the summer break between director Jordan Downey and writer Kevin Stewart’s junior and senior year of college — Brad Schulz also wrote the script — the team went on to make The Head Hunter as well as an even wilder sequel.

This was to be called Death Turkey in countries that don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. I love that title more than I can even write here.

A turkey uses a handgun. If you need more from film, you should really just be a grumpy old man.

If you’re ready to get the holiday started right, watch this on Tubi.

THE IMPORTANT CINEMA CLUB’S SUPER SCARY MOVIE CHALLENGE 11: Sick Nurses (2007)

11. A Thai Horror Film.

Life is cheap and Dr. Tar and his seven nurses have been sellingbodies on the black market, a scam that just might fall apart when he has an affair on one of the nurses with her sister. That girl, Tahwaan, tries to call the cops and gets killed by the doctor and other six caregivers, ending with her on dry ice in a black garbage bag.

All of the women have their own obsessions which Tahwaan uses to kill them, including a scene where a purse gets sewn to someone’s neck. Dr. Tar was totally into this scheme to kill off his staff and it turns out that — are you ready for this spoiler? — the dead girl was once a boy and she had a sex change to marry the doctor and is reborn into our world out of her sister’s ladyparts, then asks Tar to marry her.

Yeah, Thai horror does not care at all if you’re offended.

Anyways, this looks way better than the budget would suggest and it has some interesting kills. I mean, like I said above, a full-grown woman gets born again out of her sister’s privates and if you think that’s boring, I mean, I don’t know how to entertain you.

You can watch this on Tubi.

 

THE IMPORTANT CINEMA CLUB’S SUPER SCARY MOVIE CHALLENGE DAY 3: Real Dreams (1997)

DAY 3: An Egyptian Horror Film.

Ahlam hakekya is an Egyptian film that takes one of the best giallo plots for its story: Mariam (Hanan Turk) is a painter married to Ahmed (Khaled Saleh) but her life is filled with strangeness, as every night she dreams of the car accident that took the lives of her daughter and first husband. Of course, as you can expect from a movie inspired by giallo, she also starts dreaming of murdering people and when she wakes up, those same people have died the same way as her sleeping visions.

The police get involved and suspect Mariam’s best friend Maay, which raises the question if Mariam is also part of the crimes or if she’s somehow connected to Maay within the world of dreams. This all makes Marian go female giallo crazy and decide that she’s never going to sleep again.

Ask Nancy Thompson how well that works.

Director Mohamed Gomaa also worked on the TV series Qariat El Fingan in which a fortune telling app’s prophecies start coming true. Real Dreams was written by Mohamed Diab, who directed four episodes of Marvel’s Moon Knight series.

FANTASTIC FEST 2022: Freaky Farley (2007)

Motern Media — Matt Farley and Charles Roxburgh — make movies that seem to be horror on the outside but are wonderfully strange movies on the inside, explorations of the darkness — and light — within small towns. Like here, in a small New Hampshire town, Farley Wilder (Farley) is the son of talk show host Rick Wilder (Kevin McGee), a near-universally beloved celebrity who spends his days ridiculing his son and forcing him to take constant tests.

Freaky Farley lost his mother at a young age and never found out why; that combined with how his father treats him — this is a comedy, even though everything in this sentence seems horrific — has left him stranded in adolescence, through puberty but still afraid of women, often just peeping around town yet not meaning anything wrong by it. He might have a love interest in Scarlet (Sharon Scalzo), who wants to be a reporter, if his father didn’t hate her. And oh yeah, the town also has a witch (Steff Deschenes), bullies like Air Force Ricky (Kyle Kochan), a ninja (Roxburgh) and woods that are so dangerous that Farley’s dad won’t even talk about them. Surprise — they’re filled with troglodytes.

There’s a dark omega to even town’s light alpha, the kind of clandestine meetings that find a young killer getting conscripted into battling prehistoric cave people. Or maybe there are just bribes in your town, I don’t know.

What I do know is that this movie is just right. It hits all my buttons — low budget horror as the Halloween mask under which a funny yet dramatic movie with heart beats inside — and made me laugh out loud at least twice. That’s more than a win.

Freaky Farley is playing as part of the Burnt Ends part of Fantastic Fest. This is part of Molten Media, which has produced independent feature films since the late 1990s. According to Fantastic Fest, “the idiosyncratic cinema of Charles Roxburgh and Matt Farley pay homage to the regional low budget horror films of the late 1970s and early 1980s as they unravel bizarre tales set in and around lightly-fictionalized small New England towns. Akin to the manner in which John Waters and Kevin Smith cultivated their cult universes out of tight-knit communities of vivid personalities, Charlie and Farley’s films imagine a unique portrait of Americana as they recruit an eccentric ensemble of folksy friends and family to endearingly perform the offbeat vernaculars and campy melodrama of their wittily verbose scripts.”

Fantastic Fest Burnt Ends has awarded the filmmakers with the first annual Golden Spatula in recognition of their creative spirit, and a partial retrospective of their inventive catalog which includes Local Legends and Metal Detector Maniac as well as more contemporary works which pursue a distinct, but just as wonderfully eclectic and wry comic sensibility.

You can get a virtual badge here.

You can also watch Freaky Farley on Tubi.

MILL CREEK DVD RELEASE: Through the Decades: 2000s Collection: The Hitcher (2007)

In the 2000s, Platinum Dunes seemed like they were on a mission to remake every movie I ever loved.

Their boss, Michael Bay, said, “I loved it as a kid, and we can add some cool twists and turn it into a rocking film.”

Well, he’d already messed with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Amityville Horror — and would also remake Friday the 13th and A Nightmare On Elm Street — so I guess anything was on the table.

Jim Halsey (Zachary Knighton) and Grace Andrews (Sophia Bush) are driving across the country when they meet hitchhiker John Ryder (Sean Bean) who they first nearly hit with their car, then pick up and are nearly killed when he goes wild with a knife.

There’s one difference between this remake and the original — beyond the fact that this movie is as unnecessary as the sequel and oh yeah, it sucks even worse — is that the protagonist and person torn in half by a truck are gender swapped.

I tell you that as to not spoil the movie but also there’s no reason why anyone should ever watch this.

The Mill Creek Through the Decades: 2000s Collection has some great movies for a great price like Nurse BettyOne Night at McCool’sSpy GameThe Emperor’s ClubThe Shape of Things21 GramsBaby MamaState of Play and Cry Wolf. You can order it from Deep Discount.

Perfect Stranger (2007)

Perfect Stranger is at once the smartest and quite literally dumbest movie I’ve ever seen. I’m not certain it was directed by James Foley, who also made Glengary Glen Ross and two Fifty Shades movies to keep up that intelligent/imbecilic duality, and writers and Todd Komarnicki and Jon Bokenkamp, or if it was all loaded into an artificial intelligence and told the words neo noir, giallo and erotic thriller. This was the best that mid 2000s computer moviemaking got.

Rowena Price (Halle Berry) and her researcher/dick in glass Miles Haley (Giovanni Ribisi) have just been kicked off the biggest story of their careers because powerful men can do that. As she drunkenly stumbles home, her old friend Grace Clayton (Nicki Aycox) finds her in the subway and asks for help taking down the man she just broke up with, married ad executive Harrison Hill (Bruce Willis), giving her pages after pages — don’t print out the internet — of their sex chats.

Yes, this is a movie that hits two of my favorite genres: advertising movies and films in which technology is outdated on release.

Rowena goes undercover and gets a job at Harrison’s company H2A, which is really owned by his rich artist wife Mia (Paula Miranda). So here’s where I tell you that I’ve worked in advertising 27 years and no intern gets that access to their boss, even if she looks like Halle Berry, and the ad campaign that everyone is losing their minds over that H2A did for Victoria’s Secret — “I know Victoria’s Secret” — is the kind of work that gets killed before it even gets written on the wall of ideas that will soon get killed on the first day of the worst ideas.

It’s about this time that I’m reminded that James Foley also directed one of my favorite lunatic films, Fear, a movie in which Marky Mark fingerblasts Reese Witherspoon to The Sundays on the soundtrack while they ride a rollercoaster.

This movie somehow tops that as Berry uses her advanced and antiquated computer to simulate Willis’ voice on her computer so they can have the worst cybersex on the internet.

Back in October 2006, this movie took marketing to new levels, as Grace, Hil’s lesbian bodyguard Josie and his wife all introduced blogs dating back to September 2006, along with YouTube videos of the actresses reading their blogs in character.

That is more future leaning than the shrine to Berry that shows up late in the film, which had to have been animated in 1997. This entire film is like a quest for Berry to make something worse than Catwoman and better than Monster’s Ball and somehow pull both off flawlessly.

They shot three endings of this because they couldn’t figure out what worked best. Can you imagine that? Of course, in true giallo fashion, they went with the least likely suspect, which is the one fact that makes me consider this movie a success. It’s so audacious that again, I can’t decide if it’s the worst writing I’ve ever seen or the best. This movie confuses me so badly and I know I’ll have to watch it again and either hate or like it this time.

MILL CREEK DVD RELEASE: Macgruber, Balls of Fury, Your Highness (2010, 2007, 2011)

Mill Creek has released this DVD set of three 2000s comedies that is totally worth your money. You can get it from Deep Discount.

MacGruber (2010): Directed by The Lonely Island’s Jorma Taccone, MacGruber does what all SNL films do: stretch a short segment into a full movie. However, because this movie has a rich history of spy films and MacGyver to make fun of, it does much better than most.

Star Will Forte would tell The A.V. Club, “What you see with this movie is exactly what we wanted to do. It’s the three of us having a bunch of fun writing it, then having fun making it with a bunch of our friends—old friends and new friends. I think that fun comes across when you watch it. It’s rare that you get that kind of creative freedom.”

Basically, MacGruber is the greatest secret agent of all time, but he’s been retired ever since his archnemesis Dieter Von Cunth (Val Kilmer) killed his wife (Maya Rudolph) on his wedding day. Of course, he comes back. And oh yes, as I always say, hijinks ensue.

WWE wrestlers Chris Jericho, The Big Show, Mark Henry, Kane, MVP and The Great Khali appeared in this movie as past agents that have worked with MacGruber, which led to Forte, Ryan Phillippe and Kristen Wiig hosting Monday Night Raw. And one of the henchmen is remake Jason, Derek Mears.

I’m for any movie that has Powers Boothe as an authority figure and Kilmer as a villain who ends up getting his hand chopped off, machine gunned, blown up real good and then, as MacGruber prepares to marry the love of his life, pissed on.

There’s going to be a series of this on the NBC Peacock streaming service. I can’t wait. Hopefully it’s as much fun as this movie.

Strangely enough — and this feels like complete BS because there’s no attribution on IMDB — Kilmer and Forte almost ended up being on Amazing Race as a team, as Kilmer later stayed at Forte’s house for a few months after this movie and they became such friends that they watched the show all the time together.

Balls of Fury (2007): As silly as this movie is, it’s important to remember that it comes from The State‘s Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon, which means that yes, it will be incredibly ridiculous but in a way that makes you feel good about how dumb it al is — and I say that with affection.

Randy Daytona (Dan Fogler) loses the semi-final ping pong game against semi-final game against Karl Wolfschtagg in the 1988 Summer Olympics and when he finds out that his father (Robert Patrick) bet on the game, he learns minutes later that the loan shark money that he used for the bet is collected by a near-supervillain named Feng (Christopher Walken) who makes Randy’s dad pay with his life. Therefore, no more ping pong.

Or maybe not. Nearly two decades later, Agent Ernie Rodriguez (George Lopez) recruits him Enter the Dragon-style to infiltrate Feng’s table tennis tournament and break up his guns for money empire. Oh yeah — the tournament is sudden death and that means that the loser dies, as his henchwoman Mahogany (Aisha Tyler) kills whoever drops the ball with a poison dart.

After training with Master Wong (James Hong) and his daughter Maggie (Maggie Q), he must defeat table tennis bosses like Freddy “Fingers” Wilson (Terry Crews), The Hammer (Patton Oswalt) and his old enemy Wolfschtagg (Thomas Lennon).

The idea that Asian masters can’t teach skills to white people was a big part of Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. The star of that movie, Jason Scott Lee, is in this as Siu-Foo.

Your Highness (2011): Before David Gordon Green started remaking every horror movie you ever cared about, he was making cute comedies like this one, written by Danny McBride and Ben Best.

This is the journey of Prince Thadeous (McBride) and Prince Fabious (James Franco), the sons of King Tallious. After they defeat the wizard Leezar (Justin Theroux), Fabious plans on marrying the virgin Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel) who he has just rescued. Thadeous skips the ceremony after hearing the royal guard, led by Boremont (Damian Lewis) insult him for his laziness. As he leaves with his friend Courtney (Rasmus Hardiker), Leezar attacks, takes back Belladonna and plans on having sex with her during the convergence of two moons. She will give birth to a dragon that will help him conquer King Tallious’ kingdom. Thadeous must help his brother or be banished.

Their quest is complicated when they learn that the king’s Knights Elite have staged a coup and joined with Leezar. What follows are episodes right out of an Italian sword and sorcery movie, like a tribe of Amazon warriors, a hydra creature, a labyrinth containing a minotaur, a quest for the Blade of the Unicorn and meeting warrior woman Isabel (Natalie Portman).

When you see the scene with Leezar’s three witch mothers, they are played by Matyelok Gibbs (Erik the Viking‘s mother), Anna Barry and Angela Pleasence from SymptomsThe Godsend and From Beyond the Grave (and Donal’s daughter, of course).

This movie was not well reviewed and James Franco has been said to outright despise it. I had fun, but as you know, I’ve watched so many some of the wildest barbarian movies that cinema has to offer.

Italian Spider-Man (2007)

At one point, before the internet united the world and divided our country, each nation had its own take on superheroes, like Japan’s Supaidāman, Turkey’s 3 Dev Adam (there are so many to pick from in that country, to be honest) and Mexico’s La Mujer Murcielago.

Director Dario Russo and actor David Ashby made this as a short in college, then turned it into multiple episodes in which Italian Spiderman (Ashby as Franco Franchetti) proves to be the only man who can hold a reality-altering asteroid.

From a surf contest with Captain Maximum (Leombruno Tosca) to growing to a massive size to fight that villain, massacaring his henchmen and losing his mentor Professor Bernardi, all while stock footage crocodiles turn into men, penguins being summoned, mustache boomerangs and the non-appearance of a villain named Goblin run past you at superhuman speed.

It helps if you know way too much about ripoff remix remake films, but even if you don’t, this is still pretty great.

Russo and Ashby would go on to make Danger 5.

You can watch this on YouTube.

Watch the series: Lake Placid

Sometimes, having OCD and ADD and who knows what else leads me down some strange paths. This time, it was to go all-in on Lake Placid. A note: The Lake Placid vs. Anaconda movie and Lake Placid: Legacy will be covered soon enough.

Lake Placid (1999): Not many eco-horror movies have the pedigree of Steve Miner directing and David E. Kelly writing them. Maybe it’s just that I’ve watched so many cable sequels and low budget cash-ins this week, but man — this is an actual movie! This line will make more sense by the time this article is done, as man did these movies take a dive when it comes to quality.

A SCUBA diving death in Aroostook County, Maine leads to an entire team investigating the cause. Sheriff Hank Keough (Brendan Gleason), wildlife officer Jack Wells (Bill Pullman), American Museum of Natural History paleontologist Kelly Scott (Bridget Fonda) and mythology professor Hector Cyr (Oliver Platt) soon discover that there’s a giant crocodile in the lakes, fed by kindly old Mrs. Delores Bickerman (Betty White).

The Stan Winston-created gator looks great, a moose head is gorily removed from the lake and White’s character is fun. There are also several references to Alligator, which I endorse because it’s the best of all croc or gator on the loose movies.

Lake Placid 2 (2007): Sheriff James Riley is now on the case of the gators and if you know your made for SyFy movies, you know that he has to be played by one-time Duke of Hazzard John Schneider. Instead of Betty White feeding gators, you get her sister Sadie, played by Cloris Leachman (they were both on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, so at least the casting has some meta quality). Instead of Steve Miner and David E. Kelly, we have David Flores directing and Howie Miller and Todd Hurvitz writing.

It is, as they say, a major step backward.

I was going to ask where a cop would get a grenade launcher and then I remembered that in my hometown of 7,436 people the police all have AR15s, ballistic armor and a battle armored SWAT vehicle. So this isn’t all that far-fetched, I guess.

In case you wondered, yes, a small dog is menaced by the gator.

Lake Placid 3 (2010): Sadie Bickerman has died and left her home to her nephew Nathan (Colin Ferguson from Eureka), who plans on fixing it up with his wife Susan (Yancy Butler) and their son Connor, who inherits the Bickerman family trait of feeding gators and making them into human masticating killing machines.

In this movie, an entire family of gators bites down on peeping toms and skinny dippers, keeping the cable movie from showing too much gore or too much skin. It also has a literal home invasion via crocodile years before Crawl.

Director Griff Furst — Stephen’s son — has been in nearly ninety movies and also directed Swamp SharkAlligator Alley and Trailer Park Shark. Writer David Reed is now a writer and a producer of The Boys.

The end of this movie directly ties into the fourth movie.

Lake Placid: The Final Chapter (2010): David E. Kelly, which wrote the original Lake Placid, gave this movie 4.5 out of 5 stars and said, “Is this the last one really? The ending doesn’t make me think so. I am glad to see Robert Englund in this and some of the cast from the previous movie! The effects are still lame as second and third, but the story is good.”

David Reed was back as the writer and sequel king Don Michael Paul (Kindergarten Cop 2, Jarhead 2: Field of FireSniper: LegacyTremors 5: BloodlinesSniper: Ghost ShooterTremors: A Cold Day in HellDeath Race: Beyond AnarchyThe Scorpion King: Book of SoulsJarhead: Law of ReturnBulletproof 2 and Tremors: Shrieker Island) was new to the series, making what was claimed to be the last film in the series. Come on, people.

After the events of Lake Placid 3, Reba (Yancy Butler) is still alive and she starts this off by killing the last remaining crocodile in the supermarket. Now an EPA agent, she returns to Black Lake a year later to work with sheriff Theresa Giove (Elisabeth Röhm). And in every Lake Placid there must be a Bickerman and this time it’s Jimmy, played by Robert Englund.

Butler is pretty great in this, the crocodile is somehow twenty feet long and a whole bus full of kids gets menaced.

There’s an opportunity to make the Lake Placid movies high trash, yet no one ever seems to go for it. You know there will be more, so that’s my challenge to croc creatives: go wild.

Savage Lagoon (2007)

At some point in the late 1940s, the beautiful countess of Rudlov disappeared, which has been blamed on both a monster and the lagoon. Now, a New York ballerina named Illona Rudlov (Jacqueline Freid) has come to Bohemia to reclaim her lost relative’s castle.

Director and writer MarieAnna Dvorak was born in Czechoslovakia where her career was damaged by the Communist regime, as religion — a major part of her art — was prohibited. This was originally released in 1999 as Bohemian Moon and it really has it all, as they say — a lake monster, a potentially incestuous love affair, the previously mentioned lake monster chowing down on a nude woman, the fate of the aristocracy after the Communist revolution and a whole bunch of talking.

This movie feels like walking through a lake and your feet get caught in mud and you struggle to walk but you know there’s something mysterious on the shore and it ends up being just something the light shone on and made sparkle. It also feels like space aliens beamed this down and had to wait until streaming was at the level that it is today for us to watch it and enjoy it, but never understand it.

It’s like a fairy tale with lots of fucking, but none of it fulfilling. There, I said it.

You can watch this on Tubi.