CKY, Return to Sleepaway Camp, and the Goat

When I was a kid, my mom allowed me to watch horror movies where people effed and were killed — in some instances, at the same time — because she enjoyed them, but nothing with an obscene sense of humor, like South Park. As a parent myself now, I realize what a weird stance that is. Maybe she felt horror condemned sex and violence, whereas comedy glorified it, made it seem cool. I don’t know. Even wrestling was banned for a short while at the height of the “Attitude Era”. I blame the crotch chopping, as well as the chopping of crotches. My mom never saw the stuff she forbade. She heard about it from other women at church. She was very easily influenced and went through these fleeting religious awakenings where she cracked down on horror, purging our house of things that she deemed ungodly, including the odd VHS and my Magic: the Gathering cards (they promote sorcery!), before easing back to her previous ways. To my relief, she gave up on saving our souls altogether when I was around twelve and just let me do whatever, within reason. Until then, she couldn’t control what I did at my friends’ houses. So, I watched South Park anyway.

I lived next door to a kid who was two grades ahead of me and had three older brothers of varying repute. I thought they were cool. Legend has it, the oldest brother once dragged a Christmas tree under a stranger’s car and lit it on fire just to watch the explosion. I later learned that he was an addict who went to prison on various charges. He passed away suddenly in his late 30s after getting his shit together, leaving behind a young daughter. I’ll never forget when he jokingly invited my brother to shoot people at the mall.

My friend eventually stopped coming by to party with kids his own age. After high school, he joined the Army and served in Afghanistan. He moved away as soon as he could. Last I heard third-hand from my mom, he was dealing with substance abuse issues. I hope he’s getting the help that he needs.

The brother we all thought was the weirdest turned out to be the most well-adjusted. He came out as gay, got married, and, as far as I know, is doing just fine.

Those guys introduced me to lots of angsty hardcore music and equally hardcore pornography. They got me into Atreyu, From Autumn to Ashes, Thrice, and other “screamo” bands. What a phase that was. The X-rated material included issues of Playboy, a Girls Gone Wild VHS, and that horrifying tape they found in their mom’s dresser called Hard & Kinky #30-something (or was it 40-something?) featuring guys with fake garden hose dicks that my friend swore were real, an unfortunate fellow with a natural dick that hooked ninety degrees to the left, and a woman trying her damnedest to make use of the girthiest dildo I’ve ever laid eyes on. The studio that produced this monstrosity was “Leisure Time”. I encourage you to figure out exactly which one I saw and reply with the number. It’s been bugging me.

One of the funnier, non-pornographic things they showed me was the four-part CKY video series, starring the titular band and their friends doing skateboard tricks, stupid stunts, pranks, and skits. These videos were directed by Bam Margera, using one of those fisheye skateboarding cameras, and served as the blueprint for MTV’s Jackass. The bit that stands out the most in my head is the “Skeletor vs. Beastman” song. It taught me that Beastman has AIDs and that he plans on spreading it into every good boy and girl today. You may also be interested to know that he is incapable of taking his furry fur off because it’s made of fur. Yes, the humor is juvenile, but I remember the videos fondly.

I miss those days. I think we all wish we could recapture the magic and wonder we felt as preteens, back when the world was our oyster. That’s why coming-of-age stories hit us so hard. They remind us how easy we had it, how fun life was, before the cold, hard reality of existence set in.

Looking back, CKY the band was one of the better acts of the early-to-mid 2000s. I’m no expert on them, I just like a lot of their songs, most of which turned out to be from their major label debut, Infiltrate Destroy Rebuild (you never knew if the songs you downloaded from Limewire were titled correctly, let alone what album they came from). CKY was a three-piece from West Chester, Pennsylvania consisting of frontman/primary songwriter Deron Miller, guitarist Chad Ginsburg, and drummer Jess Margera, Bam’s older brother. They had catchy riffs and a unique sound owing to the fact that Miller removes the bottom two strings from all his guitars and replaces the G with a wound G. Their music is best categorized as “alternative rock” but was fully embraced by the punk/stoner/skateboarder crowd because of their association with Bam and his merry band of ass jackers. Miller departed or was fired in late 2011, depending on who you believe. He briefly rejoined, then departed for good in 2015. Ginsburg and Margera still use the CKY name. Miller currently records as 96 Bitter Beings.

Something I took notice of as a youngster was CKY’s connection to horror. For one, the name used to be an initialism for “Camp Kill Yourself”, in tribute to camp slasher movies. The full name was quietly dropped as they gained mainstream attention, similar to how WWE no longer stands for “World Wrestling Entertainment”. Miller is a huge horror fan and his lyrics reflect that. I can’t be the only one who hears “Attached at the Hip” and thinks Basket Case, in which Siamese twin brothers are surgically separated against their will. Ok, I very well could be. I view everything through Basket Case-tinted lenses. More substantively, CKY’s signature song, “96 Quite Bitter Beings”, off their first album, Volume 1, is about a group of friends who stop in the fictional town of Hellview and are set upon by its murderous residents. Here it is with the lyrics:

With my perceptions in a mix down twenty miles through the sticks
To the cloudy town of Hellview, population: 96
Excessive vacancy, well maybe, in the shadow of an eye
All the strangers passing through and where the rules just don’t apply

At the fork turn left, a store, but on the right stay free from sight
Cause 96 quite bitter beings like to stack the bodies high
The only way to ever leave is overflooded by the storm
And entanglement in Hellview brings you fear in fifty forms
They’ve deleted all the tourists at the bottom of the lake
And not one supports the cause to leave the blood stay in the veins

Here, three miles back is where we are
All we ever wanted was an answer
Civilized are close but way too far
All we ever wanted was an answer

Footprints giving clue to where we are
All we ever wanted was an answer
Civilized are close but way too far
All we ever wanted

That riff is monstrous. The last line of the second verse, “And not one supports the cause to leave the blood stay in the veins”, doesn’t strike me as proper English, but for that reason is memorable. The story continues in “Escape From Hellview”. The friends build a fire as night falls. After it dies, they’re chased off into the darkness. The narrator avoids being hung, but his friends aren’t so lucky. While running away, he assures himself “If it’s the last thing I will do, I’ll be the one that will escape from Hellview.”

The fire dies on its own, leaving us to ourselves but not exactly alone
I think that something is out there waiting, anticipation has grown
The air as black as can be, can’t even see that my hand is in front of me
I’m overhearing a whisper, “They won’t escape until the blood is set free”

So turn back, the silence is deafening
Turn back, don’t let them see you again
They make the rounds at the midnight hour
And on the clock it’s just a minute away

So we’re hours awake and our only mistake is we bleed
And the hunger for the living helps them hunt it with the greatest of ease

Now I’m finding my friends, hanging from trees, made a bed of a barbed wire fence
I’m on the loose with my neck in the noose, but hey, I enjoy the intense

Turn back, the silence is deafening
Turn back, don’t let them see you again
They make the rounds at the midnight hour
And on the clock it’s just a minute away

So we’re hours awake and our only mistake is we bleed
When the hunger for the living helps them hunt it with the greatest of ease

No experience could ever match the sight of when is a person is through
If it’s the last thing I will do, I’ll be the one that will escape from Hellview
And I will!

“I enjoy the intense” (“intense” being the accepted spelling) is another weird lyric. It’s grammatically incorrect too. Plus, the notion that our narrator could find any kind of enjoyment in a situation where his friends have been killed and he’s running for his life is rather hard to believe.

I recently found out there is a third entry forming a trilogy. That entry is “Hellions on Parade” off Carver City, a concept album set in a sinister fishing town not unlike Hellview. Look it up if you’re curious. I don’t care for anything after An Answer Can Be Found. Hellview is first mentioned in “Thanks For the Ride” (which was likely titled in reference to Creepshow 2) by Miller and Margera’s previous band, Oil.

But wait, the connection gets even stronger. Miller is married to the child star of Sleepaway Camp, Felissa Rose. He used her iconic snarling face as the cover of the 1999 single Disengage the Simulator. Miller literally paused the movie and took a picture of his TV. He was put in touch with Rose when he heard Return to Sleepaway Camp was starting production and the rest is history. They have three children together.

Credit: Magnet DVD

Return to Sleepaway Camp is what the kids these days call a “requel”. It was filmed in 2003 in New York by original writer/director/producer Robert Hiltzik and features original cast members. It disregards all the previous sequels and picks up twenty years after Part 1. I’ve read that officially it was a remake, because Hiltzik only retained remake rights. I’ve also read that it wasn’t, because the sequel rights had reverted back to him many years earlier. So, I’m not sure what to believe. If anyone knows how to navigate those legal waters, it’s Hiltzik, a practicing lawyer.

Return began taking shape after Jeff Hayes, the webmaster of sleepawaycampmovies.com, tracked down Jonathan Tiersten, then Rose, then Hiltzik, then others, and organized a reunion for the 2001 Fangoria Weekend of Horrors. Motivated by all the newfound attention/support, Hiltzik dusted off an old script titled Sleepaway Camp 2 that he wrote and shopped back in ’86, and reworked it to include a few familiar faces. It materialized in time to ride the momentum of Anchor Bay’s Sleepaway Camp “Survival Kit” box set and tie in with the twentieth anniversary of his original, the irony being it took five years to come out. The good news is, they made the twenty-fifth anniversary.

Me, waiting.
Credit: Magnet DVD

I was disappointed to learn that it wouldn’t be starring Pamela Springsteen of Parts 2 and 3, who I felt was the stronger, superior Angela. I’ve since come to appreciate Rose’s version of the character. Warning! Everybody deserves to see the original unspoiled once. If you haven’t, click away now! Spoilers ahead!

Newspaper clippings shown during the opening credits inform us that Camp Arawak has been reopened as Camp Manabe by someone named Frank Kostic (Vincent Pastore, The Sopranos) and surviving head counselor Ronnie (Paul DeAngelo, reprising his role). Kostic was the last name of the previous owner, suggesting he and Frank are related. Manabe can be rearranged to read “Be a Man”, the title of “Macho Man” Randy Savage’s rap album, as well as an obvious reference to the shocking end of Part 1, where shy little Angela Baker is not only revealed to be the killer, but a biological male. For this entry, her last name is Thomas.

Isaac Hayes, the famous songwriter who voiced Chef on South Park, plays the chef in his final film role. A tiny sheriff hangs around to give talks on the dangers of smoking. He wears sunglasses 24/7 and speaks with a voicebox, like Ned Gerblanski.

Credit: Magnet DVD, southpark.fandom.com

The movie kicks off with shirtless boys lighting their farts in a cabin. Main character Alan (Michael Gibney) walks in. He’s twice their size and could eat them. He makes fun of someone named Pee-Pee for wetting his bed, threatens to punch him, and takes his lighter. When he fails to light an emission as big as his bunkmates’, he grabs an aerosol can and shoots flames at them.

In the dining hall the next morning, Alan makes a big stink about how bad he thinks the food is. Dickhead counselor Randy wrestles him to the ground for not eating his chicken. Ronnie breaks up the fight and allows Alan to get something else from the kitchen. Ronnie is every bit as fit as he was in the first film, like they froze him or went back in time to retrieve him. Assistant cook Mickey gives Alan a choice of egg salad or tuna salad. Alan instead grabs an ice cream sandwich. This angers Mickey, who throws eggs at Alan. Alan sells them like gunshots and gets highly emotional. He retaliates by throwing a knife, which embeds in the wall a few inches from Mickey’s face. Frank, having caught Alan’s outburst, orders him back to his bunk.

Credit: Magnet DVD

Besides Ronnie, everyone at this camp has a foul mouth and hair-trigger temper. Alan brings out the worst in them. That’s because he’s a whiny, insufferable douchebag. He blames his obnoxious behavior on rheumatic fever, however, his preppy step-brother Michael believes he just uses that as an excuse. He could be autistic. He’s bullied nonstop regardless, and in turn, bullies others. He makes fun of his fellow campers, flings food at them, pulls their hair, ruins their games, steals their candy, and lies. He’s also disgusting. He wears the same dirty outfit all movie, adding stains every scene. Ironically, his catchphrase is “Your ass stinks!”, which he turns and shouts many times in a taunting manner while running away from his enemies. The constant merciless torment he takes outweighs what he gives, but in my opinion is well deserved. I don’t feel any sympathy for him.

Throughout the movie, he’s tricked into smoking a joint full of cow manure, shot at point-blank range with paintballs, given a wedgie so powerful it rips his waistband, sending him into the lake, and forced on stage in front of the whole camp in his underwear. Smoking the joint causes him to collapse by another boy’s crotch, earning him the nickname “Blowjob”. In his infinite anger/embarrassment, Alan yells things like “I hope you die!” and “I wish I could kill [you]!”, setting him up as the killer.

Even his own brother gets in on the fun. Alan often retreats to a small clearing with a log bench next to the water where he keeps an old briefcase stocked full of crumpled soda bottles, cups, and snacks that he leaves open, exposed to the elements. He considers the frogs there his only friends. One evening, Michael skins all the frogs and frames Alan for it so his crush thinks he’s psycho.

“Who did this to you?!”
Credit: Magnet DVD

Soon, the people taking pleasure in Alan’s misfortune start piling up dead. Return reverts to the mystery format of Part 1, keeping the killer’s identity hidden. They obviously want you to think that it’s Alan, however, his body type is completely wrong. The killer is thin. He or she wears a baggy, dark grey hoody and gloves. Who could it be?

Ronnie convinces himself that it’s Petey, a female counselor, because she’s always running to Alan’s aid. Another possibility is Angela’s cousin Ricky (Jonathan Tiersten, back in action). He works nearby, visits Angela every few weeks at the looney bin, and is suspected by some fans of helping her carry out the original murders. Michael is violent enough to skin frogs. Maybe it’s him. And why is the cop still hanging around?

One of my favorite parts is when Ronnie accuses Petey of secretly being Angela with a fiery intensity. I get the feeling he’s never actually been this angry in real life. He just seems like a sweetheart. His theory rests on the fact that “Petey” is almost “Peter”, Angela’s birth name. Does he really think she’d be dumb enough to apply for a job as a counselor using her own name? Oh, wait, that’s literally the plot of Part 2.

“You know, it’s funny, Petey…”
Credit: Magnet DVD

“Every single time Alan gets in trouble, there you are. Johnny-on-the-spot!”
Credit: Magnet DVD

The kills are inventive and well done, though perhaps a bit too elaborate. Some stretch credulity. For example, a pothead named Weed is tied to a chair, forced to ingest gasoline, and given a joint as a fuse. When it burns down, he explodes. His eyeballs go rocketing out of his head.

Later, Randy is also tied up so a noose made of fishing line can be lowered onto penis. The other end is secured to his Mini Jeep. His girlfriend is chased toward the vehicle, prompting her to speed off. Randy’s penis takes a cue from King Missle and detaches from his body. The girlfriend then runs into a strand of barbed wire stretched across the road. The barbed wire coils perfectly around her head as she crashes. How did the killer know this would happen? There are so many variables at play. Wouldn’t the barbed wire just hit the rail in the back and fall to the ground?

Right?!
Credit: Magnet DVD

Lastly, a boy is shown reading a porno mag. A stake erupts from the pages, barely missing his face. He looks down and sees a circular hole in the floor through which the stake must have been thrust. He and a friend peer through it six times (!) before he’s impaled. Why would anyone do that?

Skipping ahead here, Sheriff Jerry sheds his disguise, revealing himself to be an escaped Angela Thomas. She explains that she did all the murdering on behalf of Alan. Be honest, Ang, you would have done it regardless. Notice how a man being exposed as a woman is an inversion of the original where a girl is exposed as a boy. While clever in that sense, this twist is a highly predictable, lazy attempt to please fans, and as a result, lacks the raw shock value of the original’s. Plus, it leaves me with questions, like where did Angela learn to design and apply prosthetics to her face? A post-credits scene showing her drop a car on the real Sheriff’s head gives us a glimpse of how the movie would have looked with her in her natural form. Angela as the killer is fine, but there were much better ways to incorporate her.

KiDs CaN bE sO mEaN.
Credit: Magnet DVD

Partly due to the ending, Return was seen as a disappointment by many upon its belated release. It’s currently the the lowest rated entry on IMDb, not counting the fourth, which only amounts to a few minutes of test footage padded with clips of 1, 2, & 3. My wife, an even bigger fan of the series than I am, watched it once with me when we met and hasn’t spoken a word of it since. I enjoy it, however, it’s probably my least favorite — again, not counting the fourth.

I have to believe the massive delay contributed to its lukewarm reception. Like I already said, the movie took five years to come out, with numerous causes being cited. One was a total retooling of the CGI used to enhance Weed’s demise. When you wait that long for something to come out, your expectations subconsciously rise.

In my opinion, the main problem is that it was tailored toward diehard convention-going fans and recycles too many aspects of the original. The first kill where the egg-throwing cook is deep-fried headfirst in oil is nearly identical to the first attack in Part 1 where the pedo-rapist chef is scalded with boiling water. Also, there’s a black chef who disappears halfway through and a cop with fake facial hair. Were these similarities added so Hiltzik could point to them as proof of it being a remake, or because he thought we were clamoring for them? I’m guessing the latter. When I watch Return, I can’t help but visualize Hiltzik making that stupid, expectant Peter Griffin face, saying You liked this stuff, right? Well, here it is again!, then being crushed when I shrug my shoulders.

Credit: Family Guy, Fox

The original had a heavy focus on repressed/taboo sexuality, so I feel like this one should have further explored that to be a “true” sequel. Frustratingly, besides the symbolism of the stake through the porno mag (fittingly titled “Polecats”) and Randy losing his cock, there isn’t much going on here.

Let’s end on a positive note. The things I love most about Return to Sleepaway Camp are Felissa Rose, Jonathan Tiersten, and Paul DeAngelo. Rose does a great job in her limited role. Conversely, the men’s acting hasn’t improved. In fact, it’s gotten much worse. But it’s good to see them again after all these years and I hope it’s not the last time. I challenge you to keep a straight face when Ricky sees his cousin unmask and momentarily becomes a hair metal singer: “Angelaaaaa!”

Credit: Magnet DVD

Another part I love is the opening theme song. It’s one of my favorite movie themes ever. The credits list it as “Return to Sleep Away Camp” by “Goat and Friends”, courtesy of “Goatboy Productions, Inc.” It was obviously written for the movie, which always makes a theme cooler. To clarify, the names and events in the song are unrelated to those in the movie, just loosely inspired by them. I wasted little time ripping the song from my DVD and burning it to several different CDs so I could listen to it in my car. I would have bought it, were it ever available. Myself and many other fans were eager to hear more from Goat and Friends.

Problem is, there was zero information about them online. Even what they’re saying is a mystery. Their lyrics are harder to crack than Zodiac’s 340 cipher. There’s just enough layering and distortion to make it nearly impossible. This is the best I could do. I isolated the vocals using Audacity, but it only helped so much. I’m reasonably confident about what’s in black. The orange I’m unsure of. Let me know if you have any ideas.

Sleepaway
Sleepaway Camp
Sleepaway

Yo, yo, school is out
Hooray, finally over
Sleepaway Camp, gonna try to get over
Joan in Math is looking over my shoulder
Please show me sweet time
Making new friends and having relations
Great way to spend our summer vacation

Who all they want live by day one
Mob to check the people (sleepaway)
Then we heard a great big sound
A monster killed little Edie

Sleepaway camp
Fun in the sun (we’re just having fun)
Sleepaway camp
Fun for everyone (every single week)
Sleepaway camp
Only just begun to party (keef satisfies)
Sleepaway camp
Party all summer long, c’mon (sleepaway is great)

Sleepaway
Sleepaway camp

First time, ok
First time for some
I’m away from home
I’m on the run
Gimme love, first time for everything
First time for everyone
Yo, gimme death, gimme death
Look what ya done
And you want a buzz
So have your fun

Roll, roll, roll your head
Gently down the street (sleepaway camp)
Mary, hurry, Mary, hurry
Your life looks bad to me (but don’t do the tramp)

Sleepaway camp
Having some fun (we’re just having fun)
Sleepaway camp
Fun for everyone (every single week)
Sleepaway camp
Only just begun to party (keef satisfies)
Sleepaway camp
Party all summer long, c’mon (sleepaway is great)

[repeat without parentheses]

Sleepaway camp
Don’t do the tramp, hey

You can still download most of the music from the first three movies from the soundtrack section of sleepawaycampfilms.com. Webmaster John Klyza co-founded Hayes’ site before starting his own. I messaged him back in 2011 requesting that he add “Return to Sleep Away Camp” and he did so within a few days or weeks. His post included a lo-res ad for an album/shoe release party with an image of hands folded in prayer and the word “Goat” in big letters. While I had Mr. Klyza, I asked him if he had any updates on the band. All he told me was at first he couldn’t find much info on them. I took that as a cryptic hint and just kind of concluded the band was a one-off, in-joke side project by one or more of the members of CKY, seeing as they cameo in the movie.

Credit: sleepawaycampfilms.com

Then, I dug a little deeper and found out that Goat and Friends might actually exist. There was a skate-punk band known variously as “The G.O.A.T.” and “The Goat & the Occasional Others” in California from 2007 to 2014ish. They only released one album, The Goat Speaks, the year after the movie finally came out. The cover is the same image from the ad posted by Klyza. Once you know what you’re looking at in the ad, you can make out the words “& the Occasional Others” below “Goat” to the right. Every member of the band was a skateboarder. It consisted of Shane Heyl on vocals, Kevin “Spanky” Long on guitar, Andrew Reynolds on guitar, Beagle One-ism on drums, and Atiba Jefferson on keyboards/bass. Reynolds was a playable character in the first seven Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games, the third of which features “96 Quite Bitter Beings”. Coincidence? As you’ll soon find out, yes.

While “GOAT” today is a popular acronym for “greatest of all time”, it carries a different meaning for Heyl. “When I used to live in Arizona… I would wake up the next day from a good time and my socks would be super-glued to the bottoms of my feet.” he told Thrasher Magazine in 2009. “I guess it was from skating and drinking so much — all the toxins would seep out of the soles of my feet, and when it dried out, I would have to rip the skin to get them off. I was able to twirl the socks around the bottoms of my feet without them falling off. It was pretty nasty. From that, the homies came up with the name Goat Foot.”

It was looking promising. The name was a near match, the timeline synched up, and one of the foremost experts on all things Sleepaway Camp believed it to be the right band. That should have sealed it. However, I still wasn’t convinced. The movie theme has at least two singers, maybe three, and a tighter, heavier, lo-fi garage rock sound than the album. Why the change in direction? Did it feature additional musicians? Is there a meaningful distinction between “friends” and “occasional others”? If so, who are the friends?

My recent re-watch renewed my interest in solving this little fourteen-year mystery, so I Googled the company “Goatboy Productions, Inc.” I’m pretty sure I did that before, but to my amazement, it now leads to the Vevo channel of a New York-based artist named Goat, real name Andrew Scott Rosen. He provided the song “Great Life” for I Know What You Did Last Summer. I double-checked the end credits of that movie. They list him as “Goatboy”. I listened to a few of his songs and in my opinion his voice was a much closer match, but his music was further away than ever. The geography made more sense too.

His Discogs profile links to an old website that’s no longer online. I pulled it up using the Wayback Machine. It was last updated May 23rd, 2007, before the movie came out and contains no mention of it or the song.

I contacted Goat’s official channel “Goat Music” and waited. It seemed like a long shot. Not 24 hours later, I received a response confirming that Goat was indeed the artist who wrote, produced, and recorded the song. I was kind of surprised. It’s a huge departure from his usual style. Being able to switch it up like that is the mark of a truly talented musician. The person I spoke to was very gracious and helpful. I asked if he happened to have access to a list of personnel for the song so I might finally know who the “friends” are. He assured me he’d talk to Goat and follow up with as much information as possible. Unfortunately, I’m still waiting. If and when I do get those details, I’ll update this post. Until then, I’m seriously grooving on “Miracle”.

As it turns out, “Goat” holds a special meaning for Rosen as well. It’s “a reflection of his positive attitude and outlook on life: Good Of All Things”.

Stay positive ✌️ Peace

This Ain’t It — My Thoughts on “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (2022)

I’m going to do something now that I’ve held off on doing since starting this blog ⁠—two, actually ⁠— discuss a new movie and tell you how much I hate it. Last night, I dreamt that Leatherface ’90 terrorized a house I was in and pursued me down a canopy walkway. I’m taking that as a sign to unload my thoughts on the latest Texas Chainsaw Massacre “requel” (combination of “reboot” and “sequel” I thought I coined and was disappointed to see used by others), no matter how critical they are. I’ve been trying to follow the old advice if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all, but as Drayton Sawyer once put it, “There’s just some things you gotta do. Don’t mean you have to like it.”

The original versions of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Last House on the Left are two films from my formative years that affected me deeply. They were favorite rentals of my mom who had no qualms about watching them in front of her young, impressionable children. Blood-caked Sally Hardesty laughing hysterically in the back of a pickup and Krug Stillo instructing his victims to piss their pants are two scenes that have stayed with me since. Both movies falsely claim to be based upon true events, and my mom bought the gimmicks hook, line, and sinker. She told me on at least one occasion they’d been banned from video stores for a number of years because victims’ families sued to have them removed. This factually inaccurate knowledge made them more legendary in my mind.

The Last House on the Left is a standalone film. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre has three sequels. Naturally, as I got older I sought out the sequels. None are as good as Part 1, but they’re all in their own way enjoyable.

Tobe Hooper’s original unleashed the autistic, cannibalistic, cross-dressing, grave-robbing mad butcher Leatherface on an unsuspecting public. It’s a grueling, unrelenting experience that doesn’t lend itself well to repeated casual viewing. The second half is soundtracked by the constant buzz of a chainsaw and Marilyn Burns’ piercing screams in lieu of traditional music. There are multiple deaths, but not that much blood. Its gritty style and psychotic atmosphere are what truly affect people. The sequels are easier watches, giving them more replay value.

Part 2, also directed by Hooper, is a radical departure, basically the opposite of Part 1. It’s gory and blatantly funny. Hooper knew he couldn’t make a scarier film than he already did, so he took the subtle black comedy he felt went unnoticed and cranked it up to eleven. The result is a horror-comedy so over the top it’s almost a parody. The family’s last name is given as Sawyer, because it contains the word “saw”. Leatherface is now sexually curious. “You got one choice!” his eldest brother Drayton (variously referred to as “Old Man” and “The Cook”) reminds him. “Sex or the saw. Sex is, well, nobody knows, but the saw, the saw is family!” The film is a blast in more ways than one and has lots of memorable characters and dialogue set to some really great music. Jim Siedow steals the show.

Part 3 (Leatherface) reverts to the serious tone of Part 1. It was New Line’s attempt to refine the concept into a straightforward slasher with plans of producing more sequels and having its title character succeed Freddy Krueger as their next franchise player. The customary text crawl informs us a “W.E. Sawyer” went down for the crimes and the case was officially closed. The script is an absolute mess. It relocates Leatherface, makes him a dad (!) with a learning disability, and gives him a new family. He’s meaner too, sports a knee brace, and drives, which I don’t agree with. The movie’s not great, but has some cool parts, like the excavation of a body pit. Ken Foree is badass as always. If nothing else, check out the Arthurian teaser trailer.

Part 4 (Next Generation), written/directed by Kim Henkel, writer of the original, introduces more family members, including W.E., and places them in another new house. Leatherface is back to being an autistic cross-dresser, restoring balance to the universe. Curiously, he doesn’t manage to kill anyone this time around via chainsaw. Matthew McConaughey in a robotic knee brace takes care of that (I’m not sure what’s up with the knee braces). Part 4 gets a lot of hate, but I love it and its meta conspiracy angle about the Illuminati using the family to instill horror in people.

If I had to rank the quadrilogy, I’d probably go: 1, 2, 4, 3, with 4 being a close third. Disclaimer: my opinions on sequels change with the weather.

One complaint I have is I wish they would have reused more actors to give the series consistency. Instead, they just kept adding branches to the family tree. The only return is Jim Siedow’s in Part 2. I’m not counting the various cameos. The original Halloween series had Donald Pleasance, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Danielle Harris in multiple movies. Robert Englund played Freddy Krueger eight times in a row. Doug Bradley did the same thing as Pinhead. Brad Dourif is still voicing Chucky. Those series are better because of it.

Anyway, after those four came a remake, followed by a prequel. I saw the prequel in theatres, and all I remember is R. Lee Ermey killing a sheriff and just sort of assuming his identity, which seriously stretches believability. Then came a direct sequel to the original ignoring everything else and a prequel to that.

This latest release is the ninth official installment, another direct sequel ignoring everything else. The first and second movies were both directed by Tobe Hooper. How do producers continually justify “honoring” one, while disregarding the other? I don’t know, but we’re now at a point where the franchise has been rebooted thrice, has five continuities, three of the movies have the same title, and two share a different title. It’s like everyone involved got together and said Let’s make this shit as confusing as possible. Here’s a visual aid I whipped up. Hope it helps.

Nice.

  • Top to bottom, left to right:
  • Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013)
  • Leatherface (2017)
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)
  • Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990)
  • Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994)
  • All American Massacre (unreleased)
  • Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022)
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006)
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

TCM22 starts off with a recap of Part 1 narrated by original narrator John Larroquette, framed as an episode of a true crime docuseries playing on a TV in a gas station hawking tasteless chainsaw-themed souvenirs. A young woman asks the attendant what happened to sole survivor Sally Hardesty. The attendant informs her Sally became a Texas Ranger, devoting thirty or forty years of her life to tracking down Leatherface.

It’s all downhill from here. I watched the trailer beforehand. I knew it was going to be bad, but I could not have expected, nor would I have wished to see as much of the bad as I was to see that day. For me, an idyllic February afternoon became a nightmare.

The main characters are annoying influencers. We have interracial sisters Melody and Lila, and a white female artist dating a black guy. The first movie had hippies, who represented the youth of the 70s. One of them was physically handicapped. This new crop may seem like a natural progression, but to me it just feels like a hollow attempt to be “diverse” and “inclusive”. Never mind the fact that the last reboot featured a white female artist dating a black guy. The influencers are supposed to be “woke” liberal types, yet are quick to judge others and end up being terrible people. They make fun of a manly contractor (they eventually come to rely on) to his face for driving a pickup and owning a firearm. They’re instantly hateable and only exist to be killed. I don’t feel bad when they die. Part of the reason the original is so impactful is because the characters, while less than fully formed, are likeable, except maybe Franklin.

These influencers have somehow purchased the entire Texas ghost town of Harlow and are on their way there to auction it off to a party bus full of interested buyers. After they arrive, they notice and decide to remove a Confederate flag hanging from an orphanage window. This gets them inside where they run into an elderly caregiver and her only remaining patient, Leatherface. They kick the old woman out on the street mistakenly thinking they own the place, causing her death and in turn their own. The old woman crumples and vomits, apparently suffering a heart attack. Police are called to remove her. Leatherface and one of the influencers ride with her to the hospital. However, she dies en route. Leatherface tries in vain to revive her with oxygen. An officer reaches over to stop him, sending Leatherface into a rage. He snaps the officer’s hand off and stabs him with his own jagged wrist bones, resulting in a crash. Leatherface cuts off and wears his caregiver’s face, transforming him into a superhuman killing machine.

Two brutal deaths follow. Leatherface walks back to Harlow. First, he slashes the black guy, hideously disfiguring him. Then, he pulverizes the contractor’s head with a hammer. One girl plays an unexciting game of hide and seek while he breaks down a wall concealing his chainsaw. The carnage reaches ridiculous levels when he uses said chainsaw to roar through the party bus. The occupants pull out their phones, livestreaming their own deaths as they threaten to cancel their killer. Lila’s shell-shocked reaction to the extreme graphic violence is intercut with flashbacks of a school shooting she survived and bears scars of. I was kinda sorta halfway with the movie until this scene. It’s not believable in the slightest and feels like it’s imitating the two stupidest parts of Halloween Kills, when Michael Myers takes out an entire fire rescue team and vigilante mob by himself, major jumping the shark moments for me. Studios these days are trading in what make the originals great for massive body counts.

Killing twenty people at once isn’t horror. In my opinion, horror should feature an evil or oppressive force (this can be anything — human, ghost, alien, robot, artificial intelligence, illness, lamp, refrigerator) killing or at least trying to kill people in intimate ways. When whole groups are wiped out, it stops being horror.

Credit: Mad TV, HBO Max

The original movie is full of violent imagery, but doesn’t fixate on gore. There’s a difference. In the iconic meathook scene, for example, the hook is neither shown going in or coming out of Pam. Kirk is beheaded behind a meat grinder. And poor Franklin is disemboweled with his back to the camera. Our imaginations are left to fill in the grisly details. “You come out of this thing thinking you’ve seen a bloodbath and you’ve seen very little blood.” production designer Robert Burns proudly states in the documentary Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Shocking Truth.

At one point, the gas station attendant from earlier picks up a panicked radio transmission and phones Sally Hardesty, who answers curtly with “Hardesty”, signifying she’s now a militant no-nonsense badass. Sally is played by stage actress Olwen Fouéré, which fans say is only because Marilyn Burns passed away, assuming she would have been cast. Don’t be so sure. After all, this is the eighth Leatherface. Sally has just finished gutting a pig in her barn. According to the film’s director, this shows “she’s prepared herself for the level of violence [needed] to take [Leatherface] down.”[1] but all it does for me is bring to mind the old Nietzsche quote “Beware that when fighting monsters you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”

In other words, I don’t like it one bit. Sally was conceived as a carefree hippie. By the end of Part 1, she’s irreversibly traumatized. Part 2 claims she became catatonic. 3 kills her off, stating she died in a private healthcare facility four years later. This hardened, revenge-driven take on the character is a total 180, a shameless misguided attempt to convert Sally into a Laurie Strode clone.

Credit: istockphoto.com

Sally rolls into town with a shotgun and finds Leatherface sitting in bed in the orphanage. “Kirk, Pamela, Jerry, and Franklin.” she whispers down the barrel of her gun. It irks me how she says Franklin last when he was her brother. If I was her, I’d lead with “You killed my brother, you fuck!” She holds off on shooting him even though she’s been preparing herself for this moment for half a century, because then the movie would end. Leatherface ultimately outmaneuvers her, impaling her with his chainsaw before throwing her body atop a pile of garbage, symbolizing the way this movie treats Hooper’s legacy.

Producer Fede Alvarez told a podcast before the movie released “It is a direct sequel, and it is the same character. It is old man Leatherface.”[2] I hate to break it to you Fede, but it’s clearly not the same character, and nothing about him suggests he is old.

I would have guessed the original Leatherface was thirty to thirty-five, but it’s hard to say because we never see his face. I was surprised to read Gunnar Hansen was actually twenty-six when the movie was made. I can’t imagine the character being any younger than that. Using Hansen’s real age makes Leatherface seventy-four at the youngest, yet he moves like a man half that age, snaps bones, overpowers the burly contractor, and of course kills those twenty people, stopping only once to rest on a bed. Why can’t this series get ages right anymore? The heroine of the last reboot was thirty-nine played by a twenty-six year old.

At nearly eighty, Leatherface no-sells getting stabbed, run over, shot multiple times, uppercut with his own chainsaw, and drowned in a puddle. Horror villains have always been subject to power creep, but this is too much. Do you remember what it took to fell the original incarnation? A wrench. The driver of the Black Maria throws one square at his face, causing him to fall backward and saw through his leg. The real Leatherface wouldn’t be able to take even one shotgun blast without spazzing.

Chainsaw image credit: stock.adobe.com

The real Leatherface is human, vulnerable. He screams when confronted. After claiming his third victim in ten minutes, he panics. He frantically pulls back the curtains to see where the people are coming from. He gets so overwhelmed he has to sit down, then nervously pats his head with his hands, indicating he’s on the autism spectrum. In The Shocking Truth, Hansen recalls spending two days studying the residents of a “campus community for retarded persons” in preparation for the role.

He doesn’t kill for enjoyment. Watch the movie again. He looks frightened and/or irritated that intruders keep traipsing into his home. He kills them as a means to restore order to his world, and because his family commands him to, possibly for meat. His real passions are cross-dressing and interior decorating, which he does with animal carcasses. He’s submissive to the others, cowering in fear when Drayton raises his broomstick. Contrary to what you may read or assume, Drayton is the clear leader in both 1 & 2.

Credit: Tubi TV

Let’s get back to the new entry. Melody uses Sally’s SUV to hit Leatherface. However, she crashes, impaling herself. Sally, still clinging to life, shoots Leatherface from the trash heap. With her dying breath, she encourages Lila to finish him off once and for all. Lila takes Sally’s gun and tracks Leather into a building. The final showdown, because of course there’s a final showdown, falls incredibly flat. Lila, who as you’ll remember survived a school shooting, is forced to overcome her fear of guns to… shoot Leatherface. Except, it doesn’t work and the deathblow is dealt with his chainsaw, knocking him into a deep puddle for some reason. If this were Jason, I’d understand. The sequence relies on several last-minute Deus Ex Machina saves, a telltale sign of lazy writing.

The whole movie, not just the ending, is overwritten with tons of tired clichés. Hilariously, the excessive goriness, which is all it really has going for it, has the unintended effect of reducing its shock value. TCM22‘s biggest weakness is that it never once feels “real”, like it’s actually happening. I can’t stress this enough, it’s impossible to replicate the effect of an indie shocker on a $20 million budget. TCM22 is nothing more than a creatively bankrupt nostalgia cash-grab attempting to capitalize on the success of the new Halloween movies that somehow gets every single fucking thing wrong about Tobe Hooper’s original. The idiots even put a VHS filter over the end credits despite the original being shot on film before VHS was available and this latest bastardization being shot on digital. The only way the filter makes sense is if it was thrown in to pop the generation that grew up renting the good one on VHS. In short, this franchise is cooked, like Drayton’s award-winning chili.

Reviews of the original often contain vague allusions to “social commentary”, but fail to expand beyond that. I’ve always assumed it was simply a response to the graphic news coverage of the Vietnam War and general uptick in violence across the US of A. In addition to being hot garbage, TCM22 seems compelled to be socially conscious, half-assedly touching on issues such as gentrification and gun control. However, it comes off as pro-gun, which strikes me as odd. It also repeatedly dunks on millennials, its best hope for acceptance. Who else but ignorant teenagers passingly familiar with the title from their parents or grandparents could possibly enjoy this?

The quality of the movie, combined with the fact that we’re sitting at three consecutive entries filmed outside Texas, reaffirms my belief that Hollywood doesn’t “get it” when it comes to horror. This isn’t a hot take. Myself and I’m sure millions of others have felt this way since at least the 2000s when the number of remakes ramped up dramatically. They just can’t leave well enough alone. They milk their cash cows to death, throwing money at remakes without understanding what makes the originals work or caring what fans want. The sad thing is, as long as they profit, the situation will never improve.

Credit: thebalancecareers.com

Movies used to go twenty-five to thirty years before getting remakes. That number is rapidly shrinking. There were only fourteen years between Cabin Fevers, eleven between the most recent Carries, and nine between the most recent Chainsaw reboots. What a sorry state of affairs.

References
1. Netflix Film Club. “All The Easter Eggs In Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” Online video clip. YouTube. February 20th, 2022. Web. Access date.

2. Squires, John. “Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Fede Alvarez Confirms the New Movie is a Sequel With ‘Old Man Leatherface'” Bloody Disgusting. March 16th, 2021. Web.

It Came From Tubi TV: “Thankskilling” (2009)

I’m a little late to the party with this one, seeing as how we’re fast approaching the new year, but here it is anyway. Better late than never, I say. Join me as I take a look at this holiday horror.

Directed By
Jordan Downey

Version Reviewed
Tubi TV version

Total Runtime
1 hour, 6 minutes, 40 seconds

Synopsis
A title card tells us it’s 1621, “moments after the first Thanksgiving.” The opening frame is a close-up of an areola. Ok, they’ve got my attention. How did they know I like breasts?! The camera zooms out to reveal two massive melons attached to a pilgrim (middle-aged porn star Wanda Lust). Screams can be heard. There’s at least one murder going on in the background. The pilgrim woman runs, boobs a-bouncin’. She trips, she falls. Something with purple Evil Dead vision swoops in behind her. She turns around to see a rubbery turkey head staring back at her (voiced by writer/director Jordan Downey). “Nice tits, bitch!” it quips. An axe is shown rising up before SLASHING DOWN!

She dead.
Credit: Tubi TV

Fast forward. It’s Fall in some college town. Generic Gin Blossoms-esque music plays while students walk around campus. Five unlikely friends pile into a jeep. There’s Johnny the quarterback, Billy the big fat party animal, Darren the socially awkward nerd, Ali (pronounced Allie) the airhead, and Kristen the good girl. There’s some funny banter here. Ali hits on Johnny. Kristen jokes that Ali’s legs are harder to shut than the JonBenét Ramsey case.

Off in the woods, somewhere close by, an old hermit’s dog pees on a gift shop totem pole sticking out of the ground, causing the turkey, whose name is apparently just “Turkie”, to rise from the leaves. “Aw fuck, I’m pissed!” he exclaims between gulps of dog urine. Turkie takes out the dog with yet another axe. Alright, where is he getting these axes, and more importantly, how is he holding them?

[continued below]

Thoughts (Possible Spoilers)
Johnny’s Jeep overheats as the sun sets. With no other option, he and his friends hike off into the woods with two tents as night falls. Nobody’s wearing a sweatshirt. It looks too warm to be late November. Then again, my kids and I jumped on the trampoline Christmas Day. Darren finds a broken sign on the ground that reads “Crawberg”. It reminds him of an old legend he heard and remembers all the details of, rather conveniently. He goes on to recite that legend to his friends while they drink beers around a campfire in typical slasher movie fashion. An amateur flash animation plays through. Darren explains that a Native American man placed a curse on the town causing Turkie to appear in arbitrary intervals of 505 years to kill white people, because vengeance. The cartoon representation of the Native American man has disturbingly long nipples.

Synchronously, the stroke of midnight marks — you guessed it — 505 years since Turkie’s last appearance, placing this movie in 2126, one-hundred-five years in the future. That… doesn’t seem right. I don’t think they ever bothered to crunch these numbers before.

The calculations don’t lie

Meanwhile, the raggedy hermit (indie rocker General Bastard, whose songs, including “Liquor & Whores”, are available on Bandcamp.com for a buck apiece) tramps through a thicket in search of his beloved dog Flashy, or maybe it’s Lassie. He soon comes upon a gruesome scene.

“Your dog had an accident.” Turkie begins.

“What the Hell? What kinda accident?!” the hermit demands to know, never pausing to question how or why the foul fowl is speaking.

“Well, I took this here axe, and I axe-identally cut him.”

Wocka! Wocka!
Credit: Tubi TV

As hard as it is to believe, his “jokes” only get worse.

Minutes later, while checking in with her sheriff dad, Kristen glimpses the ghastly gobbler. She tries to warn her friends, but they laugh her off — even after an eviscerated baby bunny sails into their campfire, and Darren identifies its wounds as having been inflicted by a turkey beak. Not just any beak, a turkey beak, specifically.

The next morning, Billy wakes up to find turkey droppings all over his chest and the old hermit standing guard with a shotgun. This happened to me with a chihuahua. Johnny tells the hermit to buzz off and they all get back in his Jeep. He takes Ali home first. Kristen makes the exact same JonBenét Ramsey joke she made earlier and the others react like they haven’t heard it before.

The next scene gets dark in a hurry. A passing motorist pulls over to ass-fuck the turkey, but has the tables turned on him. Turkie whips out a shotgun and makes the man call his daughter so she’s forced to hear while he shoots her dad in the face. Then, he drives off in the car (!). I can only assume he’s going after the protags.

Will they put an end to the curse before they’re pecked off? Things are looking up when they just so happen to find a copy of the best-selling book “ThanksKilling Night: How to Kill a Demon Turkey” in Kristen’s garage, but all hope is dashed when they see it’s written in math equations for some reason. Brainiac Darren cracks the code in short order and tells his friends to remove Turkie’s amulet (what amulet?), burn him alive at the stake like a witch, and recite a prayer backward. Seems easy enough.

While they scramble to meet these conditions, the old hermit returns out of nowhere and blasts Turkie point blank in the face with a shotgun. Against all odds, the bloodied bird lands atop a garbage can full of toxic waste and gets even more powerful. Who can stop him now?

Hilariously, the “book” the protags consult is a few pieces of cardboard taped together which give the wrong year for the opening slaughter — 1491. That would put us in 1996.

_________________________

Thankskilling was shot in eleven days in Ohio in 2007 for $3,500. It’s a very silly movie that doesn’t take itself seriously or care about suspension of disbelief. With every scene, it seems to get sillier and more random until it’s so far removed from reality it feels like a weird dream. Its sense of humor is stupid, its kills are in some instances physically impossible, and its characters don’t act like humans. Nothing is as it should be. I find it hard to invest myself in a movie like that. I’m not saying Thankskilling is terrible. It has its moments. And I’d be lying if I told you it didn’t make me laugh out loud a few times. I’m just saying I can’t really get into it.

My lack of enjoyment isn’t due to the (low) budget or quality. Most of my favorite movies are cheap and/or “bad”. It’s due to the silliness. In my opinion, silliness is best kept to parody comedy. Your Airplanes, Spaceballs, Naked Guns, Loaded Weapons, and who could forget the Wayans Brothers classic Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood? I prefer it when horror presents itself seriously, or at least semi-seriously. The final result — “good”, “bad”, “so bad it’s good” — is irrelevant.

Of course, I do make exceptions. I’m only human. My opinions are complicated and occasionally contradict each other. Jack Frost and Leprechaun are two silly horrors I like. Although, to be fair, they’re a thousand times more serious than this.

Speaking of Jack Frost and Leprechaun, Turkie loves spouting one-liners like they do, right before and/or after he kills people. Most are intentionally bad, but some are anti-jokes where the punchline or lack thereof makes zero sense. For example: “There’s no such thing as a talking bird. Oh wait, I lied!” In what world does that qualify as a joke? None. The answer is none. The movie’s tagline “Gobble, gobble, motherfucker.” isn’t much of a joke either.

In one scene, Turkie kills a guy who’s railing a chick from behind and takes over. The girl doesn’t notice. Later on, someone finds an “extra small, gravy-flavored condom” by her body. I know both these things are supposed to be funny, but I’m struggling to figure out how.

In another scene, Turkie disguises himself as a cooked turkey, magically enters a character’s stomach without being eaten, and bursts out of his chest like an Alien™. This is what I mean when I say the kills are impossible.

Then you’ve got the part where Turkie peels a man’s face off, wears it as a mask Leatherface-style, and successfully impersonates him in front of his daughter. When Turkie finally reveals himself, the daughter isn’t phased in the slightest. She’s smiling and kissing a dude less than three minutes later.

“When will I realize that this skin I’m in, hey, it isn’t mine?”
Credit: Tubi TV

In fact, no one seems to be phased by anyone’s death except Darren (Billy’s hits him pretty hard). The others are totally unconcerned with the fact that a turkey is talking and killing their loved ones. This is what I mean when I say the characters don’t act like humans.

At least in Full Moon’s The Gingerdead Man, which I’m mentioning here because it also involves a rubbery, wise-cracking hand puppet, characters have trouble believing what’s happening. They say things like “What in the hell was that thing?”, “Are you telling me that thing is a cookie you were baking? That’s crazy.”, and “It had to be fake.”

Here, they don’t even question it. I guess that’s why Turkie repeatedly calls them retarded.

The overall vibe I get from Thankskilling is that of a Troma movie. I’m not a big fan of those. I’ve been trying to pinpoint just what it is about Troma movies I dislike, and a few things I’ve noticed they all have in common are: they never take themselves seriously, they exist in their own little universe, they throw a lot at the screen all at once to offend people, and they have an attitude that what they’re doing is better or more important than other movies. So, maybe it’s a combination of all of those things? However, the more I read about Troma head Lloyd Kaufman, the more it seems like he’s actually a stand up guy and I haven’t been giving him a fair shake.

For example, I didn’t know until recently that Kaufman is a vegetarian and has been married to the same woman for nearly fifty years. I admire those things in a person. I also recently saw Kaufman in an episode of Cursed Films (in drag for some reason) stressing the importance of “safety to humans” on his sets, claiming he’d hate to see one of his cast or crew members get hurt, because “a movie is only a movie”. Plus, a lot of people look up to him, including successful directors like James Gunn. I must be missing something.

In light of all this, I’m thinking of signing up for a free month of Troma Now and giving them another chance. I’ll let you know if I do, and how that goes. But this review’s not about Lloyd Kaufman or Troma, it’s about Thankskilling.

I first saw Thankskilling several years back. One of the funniest things I came across when I researched it then was Wanda Lust’s IMDb page. It used to say she was born in 1994 (I’d believe ’64 or ’74) and appeared in her first pornographic video in 2006… at the age of twelve. Last I heard, that was highly illegal. That’s some Traci Lords shit. My guess is that Lust is the one who filled out the info to make herself appear younger, without stopping to think how it made everyone she’s ever worked with look like a pedophile by extension. Her bio has since been amended. According to the cover of MILF Does a Brotha Good!, she was thirty-nine in 2007.

The sequel, ThanksKilling 3 (there is no ThanksKilling 2, except as a plot device in Part 3) is even more out there. It features a whole family of turkeys, a little boy muppet, a rapping old lady muppet, and weirdest of all, an intergalactic bounty-hunting robot piloted by a penis-worm thing. While it has its moments like 1, ThanksKilling 3 makes no sense and is far too ambitious for its budget.

Body Count
10 people, 1 dog + 1 animated death.

Bod Count
1 pair of boobs, 1 cartoon cock and balls.

Overall Enjoyability
2 or 3 JonBenét Ramsey jokes out of 5.

I Got My Copy From
N/A

Recommendations
these other ornithological epics:

The Giant Claw (1957)
The Birds (1963)
Blood Freak (1972)
Beaks (1987)
Zombie 5: Killing Birds (1988)
The Birds II: Land’s End (1994)
Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (2006)
Kaw (2007)
Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2010)