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Why Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving Would Be The Perfect Holiday Horror Movie


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Thanksgiving themed horror movies are very rare, but Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving could be a perfect addition to the holiday horror subgenre – here’s why.

For years, fans have asked for director Eli Roth to take a stab at making a Thanksgiving themed horror movie. While there are many holiday tales of terror to choose from, most of them feature Halloween or Christmas and even Saint Patrick’s Day. Thanksgiving horror movies are remarkably rare, which is interesting considering the brutal history surrounding the holiday. In order to perfectly capture a family gathering with a cornucopia of horrors, it requires a director who won’t shy away from intense gore, such as Eli Roth.

Eli Roth made his directorial debut in 2002 with the movie Cabin Fever about a group of friends staying at a cabin who unexpectedly become inflicted with a deadly virus. In 2005, he showcased how incredibly gory his movies could get with Hostel, which is often considered be to within the “torture porn” sub-genre due to its graphic depictions of blood and bodily dismemberment. Two years later, Roth introduced the idea of a Thanksgiving horror movie with a fake trailer he made for Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse. After its release in 2007, fans were immediately hooked with the promise of an incredible take on a holiday that is rarely showcased in the horror genre. To many people’s dismay, nothing ever came of it; the idea has remained dormant since.

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Related: Why Eli Roth’s Cabin Fever Was Remade So Quickly

The fake trailer depicts a story similar to John Carpenter’s Halloween, where a knife wielding slasher character shows up to Plymouth, Massachusetts to wreak havoc for the sake of the holidays. From the short trailer, it looks to be equal parts gory and sexually explicit, which are both benchmarks of Roth’s body of work. At its core, Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving has the potential to be an excellent holiday horror movie if given the opportunity to update its contents for a contemporary audience and fully flesh out all of the ideas showcased in the fake trailer.

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There are two holidays the horror genre can’t do without: Halloween and Christmas. All Hallow’s Eve is considered horror’s holiday, whereas Christmas is so innocent and joyful that filmmakers can’t help but put a terrifying spin on it. But what about what’s in between, Thanksgiving? While the Thankskilling movie franchise exists along with other titles such as Turkey Hollow, it’s not nearly as popular as the two that surround it. Even some of the smaller celebrations receive their time in the spotlight with My Bloody Valentine and the Leprechaun franchise. Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving could be the holiday’s only hope in making a real mark on this horror sub-genre.

The fake trailer for Thanksgiving offers a gory, bizarre, and slasher-esque take on the holiday. Due to the fact that it was a fake trailer and was made specifically for Grindhouse, it is likely that an actual movie would be drastically different. Based on Eli Roth’s affinity for gore, sex, and violence, Thanksgiving could feasibly contain cannibalism like was featured in The Green Inferno with a family dynamic as toxic as Roman and Olivia Godfrey’s in Hemlock Grove. Roth has proven to be a talented storyteller in numerous sub-genres that could merge together to create a spectacular tale of Thanksgiving terror. Even if the movie is purely “torture porn”, it would still be a refreshing take, considering the abundance of Christmas and Halloween themed movies that borders on too much at times. Ideally, Roth’s Thanksgiving movie would feature a dysfunctional family who suffer through the holiday only to be brought together, or torn apart, by an unknown visitor who traps them all inside their home.

Eli Roth should make Thanksgiving for several reasons. It could completely change holiday horror forever, as there wouldn’t be as much of a waiting period for releases between Halloween and Christmas, as horror fans often expect to get at least some Christmas-themed content. Thanksgiving would also provide a brand new, much darker take on a day heavily associated with thankfulness and family. Considering both the modern atmosphere and history of Thanksgiving celebrations, it’s shocking that Eli Roth hasn’t taken the opportunity to make Thanksgiving yet, for it would surely be a success for many fans of holiday horror and Roth’s work alike.

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Updated: November 25, 2020 — 5:30 pm

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