Amazon Prime comes through just in time to carve the turkey with some new Thanksgiving horror, and throws in a Christmas short as an added bonus. So I take a look at Buzzard Hollow Beef and A Christmas to Dismember, two more to add to the holiday horror page and die, gay guy , die! the page.
BUZZARD HOLLOW BEEF (2017)
Taking on the often-overlooked Thanksgiving, first time director Joshua Johnson breaks with the tradition of holiday horror. Rather than the usual holiday slasher, Buzzard Hollow Beef is trippy backwoo—…canniba—…home inva—psychological thri—… Seriously, this one defies labels as it totally sucks you into its mind fuck scenario. You end up feeling as delusional as the characters in the movie, and you never really know exactly what the hell is happening, or what is real or not.
For a family gathering at their parents’ house in the snowy mountains, a beefy brother brings his…um…”buddy”, and a pregnant and single sister brings her BFF. The dynamics are immediately weird. The brother’s buddy seems to have a past with the sister…but also seems to be with the brother now!
At first I thought they were serious, then I thought they were joking around, but then there’s a scene involving the brother alone in the bedroom with his buddy that brought me back to them being serious again.
Their sexuality is quite fluid. Just one of many compelling mysteries in this bizarre film.
After a day of mass shooting vegans…I mean, target practice with pumpkins out in a field, the family hits up a diner and a big argument ensues about consuming meat, with the creepy hillbilly owners of the restaurant even getting involved.
Another snag is hit when the buddy reveals he’s allergic to turkey, so they have to come up with an alternate plan for Thanksgiving dinner, which leads to a strange visit to the butcher.
All the while, the dad is defending the local weirdoes…
Back home, everyone begins to have reeeeaaaalllllly fucked up hallucinations.
And when it comes time for the actual Thanksgiving dinner, let’s just say if you decide to watch this one on Thanksgiving day, well…do not watch it before…um…or after dinner. I highly suggest you save this one for Black Friday.
Sure, the film may derive its name from the meat theme, but I want to believe it’s inspired by the brother.
I’d like to be stuffed by his beef on Thanksgiving.
Shit turns backwoods/cannibal/home invasion crazy…or does it? Buzzard Hollow Beef might not be about jump scares, it may not be the definitive Thanksgiving horror you need to watch annually, but it sure as hell is an atmospheric, fascinating contribution to the slim pickings.
A CHRISTMAS TO DISMEMBER (2016)
There are so many horror lovers out there aspiring to make films just like the slashers they grew up on. It’s astounding how many of them, having absorbed so many films, still think it’s as simple as having a storyline, then filming people getting hacked up on screen by a guy in a mask. Rather than the obvious basics, it’s the many complex details that make particular slashers effective that should be what young filmmakers are studying and emulating, but that’s not often the case.
Hence we have A Christmas to Dismember. While there are some technical aspects here that are reminiscent of classic slashers (like practical kill effects of basic 80s low budget slasher quality), a sort of ode to The Breakfast Club, and some humor that gets a bit lost in the flat delivery, this is essentially 40 minutes of a gay guy and his fag hags sitting around and talking…and occasionally getting killed.
Even the “storyline” becomes hard to follow because it’s virtually told entirely through dialogue. Two friends sit in the woods talking. The kids sit in an empty classroom and talk. They sit in a house exchanging presents and talking.
They play with a Ouija board and talk to their dead friend. They mention names of people we never actually see.
Then there’s a disjointed hallucinatory dream segment that makes the film more confusing (there’s even a different killer costume) before we’re back in the house for the final twist—a twist that’s essentially given away in the first scene.
It kind of feels like a school film project, so I wouldn’t discourage those involved from keeping at it and fine-tuning every aspect of the horror craft.