Judge Gordon Sullivan finds this turkey unfit for MST3K.
Gobble Gobble Motherf#@ker
Back in the day, VHS was a boon to independent film producers. Because viewers had sunk their money into the expensive equipment of a VHS player and Hollywood was unwilling to meet the demand for new content, viewers were forced to branch out in their viewing habits. That's why the eighties saw a huge rise in video distributors who made their own films, and why most of them died out before DVD, since Hollywood joined the VHS market and crowded them out. We're in a similar situation now with Netflix; subscribers have paid their eight bucks a month, and when they run out of new premium content, they hunt through the list of films looking for something to watch. Even people who wouldn't spend 99 cents to rent a film like ThanksKilling will give it a shot just because it's there. That fact led a lot of people (like me) to see and appreciate ThanksKilling. So much so that creator Jordan Downey went to Kickstarter and raised 100 grand to film the sequel, ThanksKilling 3. It's both more of the same and not what you'd expect from a sequel to the holiday themed horror of ThanksKilling, but fans of the original are going to want to check this one out.
Facts of the Case
You didn't miss anything if you're wondering, "Where's ThanksKilling 2?" The plot of ThanksKilling 3 finds lovably fowl-mouthed hero Turkie (voiced by writer/director Jordan Downey) living his life as a settled-down family man. That is, until he discovers that his last film ThanksKilling 2 has been dubbed the worst film in history, with the studio burning all copies of the film. All the copies, that is, except for one. Turkie sets out on an epic quest to retrieve that lone DVD, meeting enemies and allies along the way.
Like another recent horror sequel, Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence, ThanksKilling 3 wisely avoids directly retreading the pleasures of the first film. Like Human Centipede 2, ThanksKilling 3 goes meta with its story, offering us a story of Turkie in which the film ThanksKilling is itself a film. This film-within-a-film structure can make ThanksKilling 3 tough to talk about, but it does make for a sequel that includes all of the strengths of the first, with a few new twists added to the mix.
The other reason that ThanksKilling 3 is tough to talk about is that I don't want to spoil it for you. If you've seen the first film, you know to expect a cursing turkey puppet, some nudity, a bunch of killing, and a boatload of awful puns. ThanksKilling 3 delivers on all those fronts in even more ways than the first film. However, much of the strength of this sequel lies in the sheer level of "What the hell did I just see?" From dudes in powdered wigs to rapping grannies, Thanksgiving 3 piles on surreal moment after surreal moment. That continues the weirdness of the first film, and also insures that even if you're not impressed by a particular gimmick, the film will offer another one really quickly. The film's 99 minutes fly by even more quickly that the original's 70.
The film's soundtrack also deserves a shoutout, more than most other films. A good chunk of the money Downey and Co. earned via Kickstarter went to pay Zain Effendi to do the soundtrack. It's a great electronic score that pays homage to those classic eighties synth-tracks from the likes of Carpenter. It makes the film feel at least twice the budget it really is.
This DVD was also produced with fans in mind. Things kick off with the 2.40:1 anamorphic transfer that does the material justice. This was never going to look like a pristine feature, but for a low-budget shot-on-digital feature, things are pretty clear and bright. Darker scenes have a decent amount of detail, and brightly lit scenes look excellent. Colors can get wonky, but that seems to be by design. The Dolby 5.1 Surround track is even better. Every one of Turkie's one-liners comes through perfectly, while the score shows off the impressive clarity and dynamic range of the track.
Extras, though, are where this film shines. There are four options for watching the film. The first is by itself, while the second is a drinking game that utilizes the subtitle track to cue viewers when to take a drink (like when a "WTF moment" happens). It's a good way to get alcohol poisoning and make the film fun for non-fans. Then we get a pair of commentaries from Downey and co-creator Kevin Stewart. The first gives a pretty good history of how ThanksKilling 3 came to be. The second focuses on the "technical" side of things, talking up how most of the film's shots and effects were achieved. Despite talking for over three hours between the two tracks, the pair have a lot to share.
The commentaries are followed up by a set of seven featurettes that cover how particular scenes were shot, with input from Downey and lots of behind-the-scenes footage. We also get a pair of galleries: one features behind-the-scenes shots and the other includes official promotional photos. There's also a promotional music video for the rapping granny and a fake infomercial for the Pluckmaster 3000, which features prominently in the film's plot. Finally, two trailers for the film are included as well.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Obviously, if you skipped ThanksKilling, or can't stand the idea of a cursing turkey puppet slaughtering indiscriminately, this isn't the flick for you. Also, the only thing missing from this DVD is the film's soundtrack; if a separate CD or download code had been provided this would have gone from a great to an essential DVD release
ThanksKilling 3 is a love letter to fans of the first film, offering more turkey-centric shenanigans, but instead of aping horror movie conventions, this flick goes meta for a film within a film. The DVD offers fans a solid presentation and a set of extras that balances fun and informative.
Not guilty, motherf#@cker.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: MVD Visual
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