Of all the horror movies centered on holidays, and there are many, Thanksgiving gets the shaft. Sure, Thanksgiving is a celebration of food and family, but that also makes the perfect recipe for terror. Stressful holiday preparations aside, there’s nothing better than curling up on the couch to binge on horror films after a large meal. Maybe that’s just me. While Blood Rage wins the prize for being perhaps the most definitive genre film for the holiday, here are five more horror films to be thankful for:
So, technically not a Thanksgiving centered movie, but it checks off so many boxes that it might as well count. Lead heroine Erin (Sharni Vinson) accompanies her boyfriend Crispian (A.J. Bowen) for a family reunion. Awkward family interactions, tension between siblings and underlying resentments all sounds on par for a typical Thanksgiving gathering. Most holiday themed of all, though, is the explosive dinner where things really begin to spiral out of control for the Davison family. Humorous as it is tense, You’re Next is a fun reminder that your holiday could always be worse.
If you’re looking for something particularly strange to watch this Thanksgiving, then this is the one for you. A weird anti-drug horror movie that was originally rated X for content; the plot sees a biker following a girl home to a turkey farm run by her father. The father just happens to be a mad scientist who experiments with the turkey meat. The poor biker finds himself with a giant turkey for a head after eating said tampered meat, and subsequently goes on a killing spree for revenge. That the movie is played straight and not for laughs makes this an even stranger viewing. Giant murderous turkey head screams Thanksgiving, right?
Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County
A pseudo-documentary horror film that originally aired on UPN in 1998, prior to the release of The Blair Witch Project, stirred up quite the controversy upon airing as viewers thought the film was based on factual events. The fictional story follows teenaged son Tommy, who sets out to make a home video of his family during Thanksgiving dinner but captures the family’s abduction by aliens instead. The script isn’t so great, and neither is the acting, but the Thanksgiving set up gives a legitimate reason to keep the camera rolling and the subtle moments of the aliens lurking in the background are creepy. If the scares in Signs got under your skin, this is worth the watch.
Originally set for release in 2013 by Dimension Films, this Thanksgiving set horror film was relegated to a Lifetime channel airing in 2015. A sad fate considering it’s far better than expected. For college student Justine, the Thanksgiving break proves to be horrific when she’s terrorized by a group of masked outcasts throughout a very empty college campus. It’s not without flaws, but Haley Bennett makes a great final girl and Oliver Blackburn really delivers on atmospheric suspense. Sure, it may be a little tough to believe that a college campus could ever be that empty over the Thanksgiving holiday, but it makes for a very eerie setting. It’s well shot, the action sequences deliver tension, and the long stretches without dialogue makes this a worthy Thanksgiving viewing.
Home Sweet Home
Directed by Nettie Pena, this Thanksgiving set slasher sees an escaped mental patient stealing a car and terrorizing a family during their Thanksgiving gathering, giving us an alternative Thanksgiving set slasher to choose. I wouldn’t call this a great slasher by any means, but boy is it entertaining. The characters are often extremely inept, like finding a corpse in the driveway and still not getting clued in that something is amiss, and the kills are inventive. It also marks the first role for actress Vinessa Shaw (The Hills Have Eyes, 2006). If you only have room for one slasher this Thanksgiving, well, it should probably be Blood Rage. But if you have room for two, or would really like something upbeat and quirky, Home Sweet Home is the best bet.