Thanksgiving Horror ‘Derelicts’ to Premiere on Friday the 13th

Thanksgiving is a bit of an untapped market for horror films. It’s not that they don’t exist, but outside of Blood Rage and a handful of others, the options are quite limited. Maybe it’s because Thanksgiving lacks the month-long pomp and circumstance that its bookends, Halloween and Christmas, have. Or perhaps horror directors haven’t quite figured out how to tackle a celebration of genocide in a tasteful but still bloody manner. At any rate, they’re few and far between, which means Derelicts has a fighter’s chance at being the film that makes the holiday more attractive to horror.

Derelicts, which premiered at the 2017 Telluride Horror Show Film Festival and then made the festival rounds, is the story of a dysfunctional suburban family that has their not-so-happy Thanksgiving dinner interrupted by a violent band of vagabonds. On Friday, November 13, the film will be available to the public on the Kings of Horror YouTube channel, courtesy of Terror Films. That Friday the 13th debut will include a live chat with the filmmakers and some of the cast. The film will remain on the channel for a six-week exclusive window before hitting multiple digital platforms beginning Christmas Day.

Now, if I’m being honest, reading the plot synopsis didn’t fill me with much hope for this one. As I’ve already mentioned, I’m familiar with the genre’s track record with this particular holiday, and not only is it mostly nonexistent, it’s also just not very good. That’s why I’m proud to report that not only was I pleasantly surprised, but I’m optimistic about this one. 

As the synopsis suggests, the family looks very dysfunctional in this trailer, and they’re about to settle in for a very awkward Thanksgiving dinner. That’s all fine and well, but it’s the invaders that have me intrigued. They look like an interesting grimy bunch. And I know, the movie is called Derelicts so that’s to be expected. But there was something else about the trailer and the look of the invaders that resonated with me. It took me a second to realize it but then it hit me – Night Visitors.

For the uninformed, Night Visitors is a 1987 Christmas horror film from director David Fulk. This is probably a bit of a deep cut. I’m not sure  Night Visitors ever had any sort of a real release. Only 19 people have rated in on IMDb and it has no user reviews. It’s a bizarrely fascinating movie that I highly recommend – you can watch it on YouTube.

The trailer from Derelicts reminds me of Night Visitors. Maybe it’s just the fact that both are holiday-themed home invasion thrillers, but it feels like there may be something more that connects that two. I’m willing to go on the record right now and say if Derelicts is half the film that Night Visitors is, it may very well be just enough to finally launch a sub-genre of Thanksgiving horror. And if that happens, you may soon find us writing about our favourite Thanksgiving specials, much as we did for Halloween.

Derelicts is directed by Brett Glassberg and stars Steve Uzzell, Dalton Allen, and Emily Ammon.

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