I imagine I’m not alone in asking myself at this time each year: where’s the Thanksgiving horror? Sure we have the Thankskilling franchise, but self-aware parody, as fun as it may be, is no substitute for a legit terrifying take. It feels particularly awkward given how Thanksgiving is wedged between the fertile times of Halloween and Christmas, holidays awash in horror films drawing their roots from the themes of the festival. I suspect a great deal of this is owed to Thanksgiving being a uniquely regional holiday, celebrated only by the United States and Canada, and with a history that does not reach as far back as Samhain or the Winter Equinox, and thus not boasting the rich blend of pagan and Christian religious mythology that spawned many other holiday traditions we know and love.
However, there is a culture with a wealth of folklore who’s own history very much ties into Thanksgiving, and for particularly dark reasons: the Native American Indians. I don’t think I need to go into much detail of why the history of the Native tribes could be a breeding ground for bloody and brutal horror-but I also think it goes without saying that this is a subject that would be particularly difficult to broach, particularly in our current times.
Yet there is one Native American legend that I think could be a perfect basis for a deviously delightful take of terror centered around Thanksgiving: The Wendigo. The ever emaciated, ever ravenous spirit of starvation and the brutal selfishness of desperation stands in stark contrast to the concept of joyously giving thanks for all you have to be grateful for, making it a perfect foil for Thanksgiving. While at the same time, the bottomless pit of The Wendigo’s hunger poses a perfect match to the gluttonous feasting with which Thanksgiving is traditionally celebrated. Could that craving for a holiday banquet not be easily perverted into a hunger of a much darker, bloodier sort? And would a cast of protagonists descended from both the Native Americans and the settlers they shared the first Thanksgiving meal with having to set aside differences and work together to overcome this spectre the frozen wastes not be a fitting theme to remind us of what we are supposed to be commemorating when we sit down to our turkey and fixings?
Certainly, I think it is a meal worth preparing.