November may not be considered the most horror-centric time of year, but the post-Halloween season isn’t without its frights. As the cold sets in and days become darker sooner, November can serve as a truly terrifying time.
There are many films to choose from, be it a Thanksgiving-centric slasher, a film set in November, or just any movie with a nod to late Autumn. From the sick and twisted to the downright hilarious, numerous films have placed some or all of their movie’s attention on November as the setting. Here’s a broad list of November’s best horror flicks.
Thanksgiving Day Horrors
ThanksKilling (2008) & ThanksKilling 3 (2012)
What happens when college students encounter a centuries-old “Turkie” created by an Indigenous necromancer? You get the plot of ThanksKilling, a low-budget black comedy featuring a killer that looks a bit like a turkey version of Freddy Krueger while having the same penchant for using the word “bitch.”
Four years later saw the release of ThanksKilling 3–which may lead you to wonder if ThanksKilling 2 pulled a Halloween 3 by going with a different plot from its predecessor. But that’s not the case. Instead, it’s the driving plot force behind ThanksKilling 3 and Turkie’s thirst for blood.
Jay Jones may be one of the more underrated slashers in terms of real-life horror potential. The PCP addict and convicted parent murderer picks back up once he escapes from an LA-area mental institution. Once he commits a few heinous acts, including carjacking, Jones ends up at the Bradley family ranch as they gather for Thanksgiving, leading to a horrific holiday for all.
Billed as the ultimate feel-bad Thanksgiving slasher, Blood Rage centers on twin brothers, Todd and Terry, who never got over the fact that their mom dated men. While one of the twins is much more dangerous than the other, it’s best to steer clear of the entire family.
Now in their adult years, the two brothers’ murderous urges are reignited when their mom announces her engagement over Thanksgiving. The film has its moments and is enjoyable enough, reminding us why early child therapy can be beneficial.
Comedian Ike Barinholtz made his directorial debut with this dark comedy as couple Chris (Barinholtz) and Kai (Tiffany Haddish) host their families for a holiday meal filled with political tension after the President rolls out a loyalty oath all Americans must sign. The evening turns violently south once the family breaks their oath to not discuss politics.
Screenwriter Mark L. Smith’s first credited production came as the writer-director of this college horror, where five students hold a séance over Thanksgiving. The film wasn’t well-received and isn’t remarkable for much if anything. Still, it did serve as the launchpad for Smith, who has since earned writing credits for Vacancy, Vacancy 2, the US version of Martyrs, and The Revenant.
Krisha is a highly acclaimed, award-winning film that leans more into drama than horror. If anything, it’s barely a thriller. So, why does it make the horror list?
Because it’s painfully relatable in all the terrible ways.
The story of a 60-something Krisha reuniting with her family on Thanksgiving day will leave many shaken. You won’t get a slasher or anything traditionally horrific from the film.
Nevertheless, you will get a tense, raw portrayal of horror that can emerge from addiction and family gatherings. Watch out for this if you are triggered by addiction or accurate depictions of family tension.
Before the rise of Amazon and e-commerce, Black Friday was by far America’s scariest night of the year. The late Thursday and early Friday morning hours after Thanksgiving are the closest thing we’ll hopefully ever get to The Purge.
What could make the day worse? How about an alien parasite arriving to mutate shoppers and staff into murderous monsters? Set on Thanksgiving night, Black Friday is supported by a solid cast, including horror veterans Bruce Campbell, Michael Jai White, and Devon Sawa.
Eli Roth’s long-awaited Turkey Day slaughterfest hits theaters this November. The story centers around a Black Friday tragedy the year before, leading to the arrival of the masked and murderous John Carver.
Based on the trailers, this holiday slasher gives I Know What You Did Last Summer mixed with Roth’s signature blend of over-the-top brutality. Here’s hoping it lives up to the hype generated by the first faux trailer in Grindhouse.
Horror Films Set in November or Feel Like Late Autumn
Estonian Director Rainer Sarnet’s film billed itself as part Grimm Fairy Tale and part Eastern European Folklore. This unconventional, beautiful film sometimes felt like The Witch and The Lighthouse while remaining a distinctly unique production.
Over Thanksgiving break, Zoey Davis and five others each receive a box with a life-changing opportunity: win a million dollars if you can escape from the most immersive, deadliest escape room imaginable. While reviews were mixed, I love this one, if not solely for the appearance of Tucker & Dale vs. Evil‘s Tyler Labine.
Alone on campus over Thanksgiving, Justine has a run-in with some shrouded figures, including one woman at the convenience store who calls her Kristy. Once back on campus, all hell breaks loose for Justine as she and the few remaining on campus attempt to avoid the shrouded killers. At times, Kristy felt like a mix of numerous horror films you may have seen before, including Black Christmas, Urban Legend, The Strangers, and a wide array of cult-centric entries.
Addams Family Values is a staple for later-stage Millennials, holding up as one of the best black comedies of the decade. It’s not as strong as the original movie, but both Addams Family films remain modern classics. Making the achievement more impressive, the franchise is primarily a family film. While much of Addams Family Values will feel more like a Halloween watch, the classicly hilarious and grim Thanksgiving play scene makes this Barry Sonnenfeld film a must-watch in November—even if the movie is set during the summer.
Hostile Takeover (1988)
Sometimes known as Office Party, this Canadian thriller centers on accountant Eugene Brackin, who takes three co-workers hostage while being made to work over the Thanksgiving weekend. With no motive or agenda, mystery swirls as the tension is ramped up to another level. Please let me know if you can find a trailer online for this one.
And that’s a slice of some of the horror you can check out to get into the late autumn spirit. Here’s hope this’ll get you through the season and into the actual peak horrifying period: The Holiday Shopping Season.
Did we miss any of the top November-centric scares? Be sure to let us know in the comments!