Best Thanksgiving Horror Movies for 2022
Our horror experts recommend streaming these 18 turkey-centric creepshows to keep you from killing your family.
Hey, whatcha grateful for this Thanksgiving season? CableTV.com’s horror experts feel particularly thankful for Thanksgiving-themed horror movies. They keep us from killing every annoying family member at the table—and it’s fun to eat a dead bird while watching a live bird make dead people.
To spread the love, we’ve compiled a list of five turkey-centric creepshows—Thankskilling, Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving, Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead, Black Friday, and Blood Rage—to juice up your holiday. We’ve also included 13 quick recs in case you’ve seen everything on our main list. And, as usual, we tell you where to stream or rent each one.
Turkie hitchhikes in a shot from Thankskilling.
This film had us at “Gobble, gobble, motherf#%@er!” Well, in all honesty, we were already “in” upon hearing the title. Then we found out about the killer bird with the pottymouth. And that’s when we fell in love.
Turkie is one dirty bird, and it’s not just because he has blood dripping from his wattle. He’s thoroughly disgusting—not to mention entertaining. He taunts his victims with lines like, “I’m gonna drink your blood like cranberry sauce!” And he honeypots a motorist, then makes the guy call his daughter before eating birdshot.
If you love schlocky horror, Thankskilling is a must-see.
If it’s not Stove Top, it’s not Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving.
Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving (2007)
So far, out of the five “fake” trailers from Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse double feature, only Machete and Hobo with a Shotgun have become full-length films. It would be nice to see them all get the feature treatment, but we’ll settle for only one: Eli Roth’s turkey-day slasher looks like an extra-juicy slice of early-’80s grindhouse heaven. Unfortunately, like a perfectly peaceful family gathering, it’ll probably never happen.
Stream the trailer for Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving on YouTube.
Poultrygeist: When there is no more room in hell, the dead chickens will buh-gawk the Earth.
Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (2006)
Every Troma film has copious gore, abundant nudity, and zero political correctness—all of which are solid choices for a movie about a human-sized zombie chicken slasher. But Poultrygeist has a surprise up its stuffing ingress: it’s a musical.
While musical numbers aren’t the first thing you’d think of adding to a Troma spectacle, they work. In fact, they make Poultrygeist seem a bit classier than the usual trashy Troma schlock—not that there’s anything wrong with trash.
What’s the Thanksgiving angle, you ask? Well, chicken is a distant cousin of turkey, and Thanksgiving is for seeing family. If you don’t buy that, how about the plot: When a new American Chicken Bunker location opens on a Native American burial ground, it awakens the Poultrygeist and carnage ensues. See? Close enough.
Stream Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead on Troma NOW! or VUDU.
The Karens are extra fierce in Black Friday.
Black Friday (2021)
Turning the post-Thanksgiving launch of the annual retail holiday into a horror film—talk about your low-hanging fruit.
Director Casey Tebo didn’t even need zombies—or Bruce Campbell. Black Friday could’ve been cinema verité with the blood, spit, and organic, infectious rage coming from the horde of nonunion Karens that showed up. But bless Tebo for not taking the easy route.
Instead, the monsters aren’t zombies—they’re burly, rabid, fugly mutants born from a parasite. And most of the action happens after hours and inside the store—kinda like a mash-up of the John Hughes trapped-in-Target comedy Career Opportunities and Scott Spiegel’s extra-gory grocery-store slasher Intruder. Black Friday is fun, sloppy, and perfect for watching from the safety of your own home.
“Carve the bird? Sure. Where’s her room?” (Mark Soper in a scene from Blood Rage.)
Blood Rage (1987)
On Thanksgiving, a man framed by his twin for murder escapes from an asylum and comes home to set the record straight. But when his brother—the real killer—finds out, confusion reigns, people die, and nobody gets pumpkin pie.
Blood Rage is ripe ’80s trash, basically an excuse to watch a gory slasher movie on Thanksgiving. And this trash is pure treasure for fans of questionable cinema—so we’re here for it.
It’s man vs. turkeyman in this scene from Blood Freak.
More Thanksgiving horror movies
Are your eyes bigger than your stomach? Nah. Keep eating. Think of these additional brief recommendations as a bonus turkey dinner or even leftovers—which are often even better the next day.
|Thanksgiving horror movie||Plot||Stream||Rent|
|Blood Freak (1972)||The original killer turkey movie from 50 years ago—but it’s just a guy in a mask.||
|Derelicts (2017)||Your family sits down to chew on Thanksgiving dinner and family baggage, then a group of dirty, violent wackos joins the festivities.||
|Escape Room (2019)||During Thanksgiving break, a college student and five strangers wind up in an elaborate escape room with real consequences.||
|Into the Dark: Flesh & Blood (2018)||Since last Thanksgiving, a teenage girl has lost her mother to murder. This Thanksgiving, the girl has developed agoraphobia—and suspicions about her father.||
|Ghost Note (2017)||On Thanksgiving, the ghost of an evil Delta bluesman returns to kill when someone plays his record backward. There’s probably a theme about white people stealing culture and land from minorities in there somewhere.||
|Home Sweet Home (1981)||An escaped PCP berserker killer (Jake “Body by Jake” Steinfeld) carves up a nine-person Thanksgiving dinner in this unintentionally goofy slasher movie.||
|Hostile Takeover/The Devastator (1988)||A confused man takes his coworkers hostage on Thanksgiving weekend but says he doesn’t want anything. Worth watching to see Michael Ironside play a nice guy—and there’s a brief but impressive splatter effect.||N/A||
|The Last Thanksgiving (2020)||Cannibalistic pilgrims gatekeep Thanksgiving by killing non-celebrants gathered in a restaurant.||
|Krisha (2016)||That dumpster-blaze aunt you always hope won’t show up to Thanksgiving is at the door, wanting another chance. Krisha is more drama than horror, but it’s that annual family drama you hope to avoid because it never works out, so the ordeal is (differently) horrific.||
|Kristy (2014)||Kristy decides to stay at college through the holidays and becomes the target of a cult of homicidal hacker misfits.||
|The Oath (2018)||Usually, it’s your distant relatives trying to coax you into making promises—now it’s the government.||
|Into the Dark: Pilgrim (2019)||A family hires a group of First Thanksgiving reenactors to prepare and provide atmosphere for a family’s dinner— but the pilgrims aim to chop more than turkey necks.||
|Séance (2006)||Another “alone in the dorms at Thanksgiving” story— but with ghosts instead of slashers.||N/A||