Trail Mix: Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving

“White meat, dark meat, all will be carved.”

Trail Mix takes a look at classic movie trailers from years past to explore their relationship (however sometimes tenuous) to the films themselves and to the movie promotion of today.

When is a trailer more than a trailer? How about when there’s only a trailer? Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s 2007 interesting failure “Grindhouse” famously included faux trailers sandwiched between its pre-packaged B Horror double feature, and though Rodriguez’s “Machete” eventually, questionably, became a franchise of its own and Edgar Wright’s “Don’t” and Rob Zombie’s “Werewolf Women of the SS” were hilariously brilliant and well received in their own right, the most enduring aspect of the now 10 year old Grindhouse project is sadly its most enigmatic, the trailer for Eli Roth’s best holiday slasher there never was, “Thanksgiving”.

Roth claims that he and his friends constantly bemoaned the lack of a turkey day slasher growing up, waiting each year for some intrepid schlockmeister to finally go the turkey and stuffing route with a would be Michael Myers. As he told Rolling Stone in ’07, his very “Halloween” reverent take involves “A kid who’s in love with a turkey and then his father killed it and then he killed his family and went away to a mental institution and came back and took revenge on the town”. When tasked with joining QT and RR’s Grindhouse menagerie, he and collaborator Jeff Rendell (who pulled double duty as the clip’s murderous Pilgrim) set to filming “just the good parts”, and the 2 minute and 20 second trailer they created has become yearly appointment viewing for horror geeks worldwide, like a violence hungry and ADHD addled version of the Macy’s Day Parade.

Blood? Gore? Nudity? Sex = death tropes that would make Jason Voorhees blush? Wildly inappropriate set pieces involving old people and little kids? Terrible puns? Worse taglines? An amazingly deep voiced narrator and Carpenter-esque bass heavy synths to match? Michael Biehn? Thanksgiving has it all, so much so that Roth’s promises (threats?) over the years to turn the short into a full length feature have been met with just as much consternation as enthusiasm, maybe more. Thanksgiving occupies the same less-is-more category of brilliance achieved by the best SNL sketches and now, viral videos. Epic Beard Man or Leon Phelps: The Ladies Man never needed to be 90 minutes long and neither does Roth’s Thanksgiving. Enjoy it for what it is, every year, until the end of time, because it never stops being funny. Arrive hungry, leave stuffed.






Kevin Hawkey is the co-founder, head writer and editor of Riot-Nerd. He enjoys Fighting Games, Metal, Marvel, Horror and all the weird shit in between. A lifelong Philadelphian just as comfortable in a circle pit at Underground Arts as he is drooling over the new Hot Toys figures at Brave New Worlds, Kevin’s idiosyncratic sensibility gives this site it’s unique dichotomy between “riot” and “nerd”.

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