Every holiday season, the indie horror community is treated to thrills and chills brought to us from Jennifer Nangle (Irrational Fear) as Malvolia: The Queen of Screams. Beginning in October and ending in December, the horror hostess releases three short specials, each reflecting Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas all featuring the sexy devious ghoul Malvolia and her maniacal minions. Regardless of how crazy our world has become during 2020, this year is thankfully no different. Despite production challenges gifted by the age of COVID, Nangle brings Malvolia back for a Thanks Killing that her latest victims will never remember.
Opening with a sunset in L.A. accompanied by fantastic, fitting foreboding music, this gruesome tale cuts to a very small Thanksgiving get-together. Mentioning that it has been a rough year, a sentiment to which I’m sure we can all relate, Cassie (Ian Neville) expresses her appreciation for her friend’s hospitality. Insinuated through dialogue, Cassie’s parents met a tragic fate not long ago, something the guest is clearly uncomfortable discussing with her friends Helena (Johnnie Mananzares: Sorority Slayers) and Ben (Robbie Dias: 13 Fanboy). And Abby (Linnea Swanson), who is presumably Cassie’s sister, is in no mood to socialize. However, when an unexpected guest shows up uninvited, she might not have a choice in the matter.
Returning from the kitchen with some drinks, Helena’s paralyzed with fear. A thick fog has emerged in her living room as Ben and Cassie kneel at the mercy of demonic servants Charles (Charles Chudabala: Irrational Fear) and Kelly (Reyna Meree Velarde: LA Ink). Smirking on the couch in her usual devious manner, Malvolia (Nangle) welcomes her newest victims. What ensues is a festive blood-feast fit for the Queen of Screams and devoted gorehound followers.
Although Malvolia’s Thanks Killing falls short of a brief 15 runtime, just enough character backstories are mentioned to evoke a spark of curiosity, but raises more questions than answers. Are Cassie and Abby actually sisters? What exactly was the tragedy that befell Cassie’s parents? How do Ben and Helena know Cassie and Abby? Though questions involving character relations and backstories have some implicated answers, further brief elaboration through dialogue could have strengthened character sentiment and appeal. Although this Thanksgiving horror special may be missing some side dishes, the main course is quite appetizing for genre fiends.
Although lacking some production quality seen in previous specials, Thanks Killing does exhibit a grindhouse touch with a score that’s reminiscent of the 2012 horror anthology V/H/S. As Malvolia turns her lackeys loose, Helena, Ben, Cassie and Abby become the proverbial turkey on the chopping block. Velarde is a new addition to Malvolia’s ranks as Kelly, a sadistic role that she rocks with brute strength. Chudabala returns as Charles, the delightfully insane demon who salivates at the taste of blood. And Nangle, of course, reprises her role as Queen Malvolia who has some comical moments while demanding loyalty, reverence and reveling in bloodshed.
Malvolia fans and victims, new and old, are sure to dig Nangle’s return as the Queen of Screams who keeps on giving. Despite its shortcomings, Thanks Killing carves up a festive bloodbath feast that will make turkey talons curl and sensitive viewers hurl. And now, free of charge, you can watch the latest Malvolia madness as the queen and her followers save the turkey and eat the humans by clicking the link below! Happy Thanks Killing!