A selection of November themed genre films to get you past Thanksgiving.
Another October has come and gone. At this point pumpkins turned jack-o-lanterns have begun to rot and the Halloween decorations have been taken down. For the general public this means that horror movies move back to that weird, dark corner in the back of the video store. You know that corner next to the porn room where all the creeps frequent until they think no one is looking and then they can slip into the porn room. This is of course assuming you still have a local video store, which you don’t.
For those of us that are horror hounds all year ‘round we keep our scary movies front and center. We have no shame and much like Baby we will not be put in a corner. We don’t let stupid seasons dictate when we can and cannot watch horror films, no sir! However, we do love a good November-themed horror movie and that’s why I’ve compiled this list of five “great” – and I use the word great very, very loosely – horror-ish films for you to watch in November!
Home Sweet Home – 1981 – Dir. Nettie Peña
Home Sweet Home is the lovely story of an extremely muscular man named Jay Jones who is institutionalized not for wanting a Pepsi, but rather beating his parents to death. Why did he do it? The usual reason – he’s a PCP addict. Jay eventually escapes from the insane asylum, hijacks a car and drives to the outskirts of Los Angeles where he comes across a ranch home where a group of friends are celebrating Thanksgiving. This allows Jay the perfect opportunity to keep his muscles nice and toned by going on a rampage through this ranch.
Is Home Sweet Home a good movie? Absolutely not. Do I love it? God damn right I do. Few movies exist that are more bonkers than this one. For starters the crazed killer is played by Jake Steinfeld, the chairman and CEO of Body by Jake. He’s also the dude that started Trainer to the Stars. Given Steinfeld’s background you can make the movie a lot more fun by imagining the whole thing as the story of fitness guru experiencing a series case of roid rage.
Steinfeld is the main reason to watch this mess, but there are some other fun moments. The deaths are terrifically bad. One poor chap is electrocuted to death by his very own electric guitar and portable amp. He would have killed for that guitar and in the end it killed him. Also you get to see an early performance from Vinessa Shaw.
Hey, Vinegar Syndrome, do us all a favor and release this one on Blu-ray!
Blood Rage – 1987 – Dir. John Grissmer
Blood Rage is an 80’s slasher that I love because it’s awesome. In fact I love it so much that I have dubbed it a member of what I like to call the Holy Trinity of Sleazy 80’s Slasher Trash – a trio that also includes Pieces and The Mutilator. Depending on that day Blood Rage is my favorite of three and today is one of those days.
Blood Rage is the story of twins Todd and Terry. While at the drive-in as young boys one of them develops a taste for murder and hacks a teen to death with an axe. Naturally this young boy is to be locked away in the loony bin for the rest of his life. The only problem is they lock up the wrong twin. Uh oh! Flash forward a number of years later and the twins are now teenagers. The bad one, Terry, has happily been living with his mom, while poor Todd has been locked away. Just before Thanksgiving Todd escapes and Terry must murder again before Todd tells everyone the truth.
Twins, murder and Thanksgiving. What’s not to like?
Addams Family Values – 1993 – Dir. Barry Sonnenfeld
If you tuned into Freeform’s “13 Nights of Halloween” this year you probably watched Addams Family Values. And I get it. It’s an awesome movie that you can watch all year long, but if you’re going to make it part of any holiday theme it has to go with Thanksgiving, not Halloween. What a way to blow it, Freeform!
In this sequel to The Addams Family Uncle Fester is once again involved with a woman that plans on taking advantage of Fester to get her hands on all the family’s money. And given that Fester can be a bit of a fool from time to time this is a pretty solid plan. While this is all good and fine the real fun is to be had at camp with Wednesday and Pugsley. There Wednesday is forced to portray Pocahontas in a Thanksgiving play in what ends up being the highlight of the film. Before sending the camp into complete and utter chaos Wednesday delivers a rather poignant speech on the mistreatment of Native Americans at the hands of white people.
Basically what I’m trying to say is that Addams Family Values rules.
Intensity – 1997 – Dir. Yves Simoneau
Intensity is actually a made-for-TV mini-series that aired on Fox in the late 90’s, so technically not a movie. However, this is my list and I’m going to allow it. Honestly I’d be a fool not to allow it because it is wonderful!
Molly Parker stars as Chyna, a college student visiting her friend Laura and her family for Thanksgiving. While on her visit the family falls victim to an intruder in the form of Edgler Foreman Vess (a phenomenal John C. McGinley). Vess captures Laura after killing her parents but Chyna manages to sneak into his vehicle. Initially Chyna’s goal is just to save her friend but then she learns that Vess has a small girl held captive and she becomes determined to save her.
Intensity is based off a Dean Koontz book of the same name and and is probably the best Koontz adaptation to date – though Odd Thomas gives it a run for its money. And if it’s not the best Koontz adaptation it’s at least one of the few that doesn’t make you want to scratch your eyes out. If you’re a Koontz fan definitely give this a watch. Or watch Alex Aja’s High Tension which is pretty much the same thing.
ThanksKilling – 2009 – Dir. Jordan Downey
ThanksKilling is a terrible movie. I know it, you probably don’t know it because you’re probably smart enough to not have seen it, but anyone who has seen it knows it. And despite this I’m going to say you should watch it anyway. You only live once and the last thing you want to do is be on your deathbed regretting that you never watched this “gem.”
The film is about a demented turkey that has no plans of becoming Thanksgiving dinner. Instead this turkey is going to do what turkeys have wanted to do for hundreds of years – kill humans and also have sex with them. The filmmakers spared no expense going to great lengths to create the world’s best turkey puppet.
Did I mention that the turkey’s name is Turkie? Also the opening line to the movie is “Nice tits, bitch!” And it’s said by Turkie to a topless pilgrim. And if one ThanksKilling isn’t enough to quench your murderous turkey thirst you can watch the film’s sequel, ThanksKilling 3.
Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County – 1998 – Dir. Dean Alioto
I decided to add a bonus entry to this list because how could I possibly leave off Alien Abduction: Incident at Lake County? If I’m being honest it’s a much better movie than ThanksKilling, though it’s still pretty bad. Badness aside, Alien Abduction is a fascinating little film for a number of reasons.
While celebrating Thanksgiving a family sees a flash of lightning that causes a blackout in their home. The family’s three brothers head out to check on the fuse box only to find it smoking. While outside they spot another lightning strike and notice something in the distance. A closer inspection reveals a possible UFO and then before you can say “phone home” aliens appear and attack.
The film is actually a remake of an earlier film, The McPherson Tape, from the same director. What’s really fascinating is how the film was handled. It aired on UPN (shout out to both of you that remember UPN) and was a found footage film that was sort of passed of as if it were real. What makes this cool is that while it’s definitely not the first found footage film it did beat The Blair Witch Project by about a year. So it was certainly well ahead of the found footage boom. The entire film is shot from the perspective of one of the brothers with his brand-new video camera. The filmmakers and UPN did a really good job passing this off as “real.” It’s not a good movie, but it’s surely an interesting one.
What movies do you watch in November? Let me know!