5 things we want to see in Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving
5 mins read

5 things we want to see in Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving

Horror icon Eli Roth is just about to begin directing his next scary film, Thanksgiving, and it’s been a long time coming. Roth had filmed a fake trailer for this make-believe movie as part of director Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s 2007 double feature, Grindhouse. The trailer itself acts as a parody of classic holiday-themed horror movies like Halloween and Black Christmas, and though Grindhouse was very much a turkey in theaters, fans couldn’t get enough of Roth’s fake film. And so, Thanksgiving will now become the fourth film based on the faux trailers featured in Grindhouse.

Thanksgiving is set to begin production in March, with Spyglass (Scream, Hellraiser) producing it and frequent Roth collaborator Jeff Rendell penning the script. While it’s unknown when the film will be released, die-hard fans have waited over 15 years for this film to be made, so they should have no problem waiting a bit longer. And audiences eager for Thanksgiving should expect to have their appetites satisfied if the film serves up these things in theaters.

The Pilgrim

The Pilgrim wielding an ax in the trailer for Eli Roth's "Thanksgiving" in "Grindhouse."Image used with permission by copyright holder

A good slasher movie is nothing without its throat-slitting antagonist, and naturally, Thanksgiving’s villain takes the form of a man dressed as a pilgrim, complete with a buckle hat, an ax, and a carving knife. According to Roth’s interview with Rolling Stone, the Pilgrim murdered his family as a child after his father killed a turkey that he fell in love with. Years after he was sent away to a psychiatric hospital, the Pilgrim returns to his home in Plymouth, Massachusetts, to wreak havoc on the townspeople.

It’s the stereotypical slasher origin story in the vein of Michael Myers, which fits with the film’s parody/homage of Halloween. However, since the killer’s backstory was written many years ago, it’s unknown if it’ll stay the same for Thanksgiving‘s more modern film adaptation. Nevertheless, the Pilgrim should continue to serve up many creative and memorable scares to make a lasting impression on audiences with his frightful holiday feast.

Those two cops

Two cops in the trailer for Eli Roth's "Thanksgiving" in "Grindhouse."Image used with permission by copyright holder

The film’s fake trailer briefly features a couple of cops, who look like they’ve seen it all, investigating the scene of one of the Pilgrim’s murders. If things are to stay intact for the upcoming film, having these two police officers appear in the movie could elevate the story by making it into a police comedy.

Since it is supposed to be a parody of old slasher movies, so these two guys could throw in more humor via a possible buddy-cop dynamic as they pursue the killer, which could help Thanksgiving stand out from other horror films. Also, one of those cops in the trailer is played by Michael Biehn, a genre vet who starred in The Terminator and Aliens. If Roth gets him to return, it’s a double win for both the movie and fans.

Excessive gore and violence

A severed head inside a turkey in the trailer for Eli Roth's "Thanksgiving" in "Grindhouse."Image used with permission by copyright holder

Roth has been infamous for stuffing explicit content into films like Cabin Fever and Hostel, the latter of which was credited for starting the “torture porn” subgenre. Fans of Roth’s work should expect to see more of the director’s brand of bloody content, and Grindhouse has already given them an idea of what they might see.

The fake trailer for Thanksgiving featured the Pilgrim decapitating a man dressed as a turkey, a trampolining cheerleader getting stabbed beneath the skirt, and a severed head stuffed into a turkey. Based on these moments, the movie will be NSFW, to say the least. And since this was just the trailer, one can only imagine what Roth has in store for the actual film.

Self-aware humor

A man dressed as a turkey in the trailer for Eli Roth's "Thanksgiving" in "Grindhouse."Image used with permission by copyright holder

Grindhouse’s trailer for Thanksgiving fully embraces the ridiculousness of the movie’s premise — and then some — with its over-the-top scares, corny Thanksgiving puns, and sexual content typically found in slasher films.

There’s even a brief shot of the Pilgrim “stuffing himself” inside the turkey with the decapitated head right at the end of the  trailer. Hopefully, Roth’s actual film will continue to revel in its silliness to create a humorous and self-aware story that audiences can enjoy.

Homages to classic horror movies

An arm grabbing a knife in the trailer for Eli Roth's "Thanksgiving" in "Grindhouse."Image used with permission by copyright holder

Thanksgiving’s trailer features plenty of loving homages to classic slasher films that display Roth’s knowledge of the genre. For instance, the trailer opens with a point-of-view shot of the Pilgrim entering a house and killing someone with a knife in an obvious homage to Halloween. The trailer’s score is also very similar to director John Carpenter’s classic synth soundtrack from Halloween.

Hopefully, Roth will integrate many more scenes in his film that will pay tribute to vintage horror movies. Doing so could help the film convey a metacommentary for the genre similar to recent slashers like 2022’s Scream and Ti West’s X. But more importantly, it could deliver the same appeal to audiences that made them love the trailer so much, making Roth’s movie a tasty treat for fans of horror.

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