As it’s Thanksgiving tomorrow, I’d just like to say thanks for a few things: scores Italian giallo films, my husband, musicals about toxic superheroes in New Jerset, and my life that existed before I saw this movie.
One day, a groovy biker named Herschell stops to help a girl with a flat tire on the side of the road. The girl, Angel, invites him around to her sister’s house where there’s a party. The party is a bit wild: filled with various drugs and ‘scandalous’ women. One of the more scandalous ladies is Ann, Angel’s sister.
The two girls couldn’t be more dissimilar. Angel is a Bible-thumping stick-in-the-mud while Ann is a ‘promiscuous,’ drug-taking lady. Ann allows Herschell and Angel into the party, only under the rule that Angel doesn’t try to talk about religion to anyone.
Herschell sits down, and refuses the drugs everyone offers him as he promised Angel he’d stay straight. One girl tries to come on to him, but he turns her down as she has a boyfriend. Offended, the girl goes back to her boyfriend and tells him what happened. Her boyfriend, Guy, assures her that he knows how to teach Herschell a lesson.
Despite her promise, Angel begins talking about spirituality with one of Ann’s friends at the party. Everything is going well, but it annoys Ann. Even worse, despite Ann trying her best to get Herschell’s interest, he goes away with Angel instead of her.
Angel goes to Guy and tell him that she’s upset that Herschell doesn’t like her. He tells her that he has “something laced with something” that she can give him. Once he’s smoked it three times, he’ll be hooked.
Ann manages to coax Herschell into smoking a joint after he falls victim to the “you’re a coward” ploy. They then sleep together, and Herschell’s spiral into darkness begins. Or whatever.
Herschell, with Angel’s help, gets a job on a poultry ranch where there also just happens to be a laboratory. On his first day, two of the scientists offer to pay Herschell more money if he agrees to take part in their experiments. Something about a human needing to eat the turkey to see if the drugs used on the turkeys is safe? God knows, but I don’t really think it matters.
Somehow, Herschell thinks this sounds just dandy and agrees to partake in the experiment. When he returns home that night, he’s in a lot of pain. He asks Ann to get him more of the drug for him to take. Ann panics and calls Guy to help. And it’s pretty clear that Herschell has become the first and only person ever addicted to weed.
Now hooked on drugs, Herschell returns to the poultry farm to enjoy some drug-laced turkey!
Unsurprisingly, this doesn’t go well, and Herschell literally turns into a turkey (or, at least grows the head of one). He goes home to Ann, who understandably freaks out. “What if we got married?” WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS?
Thus begins Herschell’s bloody rampage. He kills his drug-digesting victims by hanging them by their ankles, and slitting their throats. He then drinks their blood. Why? Because turkeys. And apparently he’s so addicted to blood, he needs the blood of other junkies.
Ann tries her best to kill for plucky boyfriend. She enlists the help of two dealers who promise to get more drugs for Herschell. I have heard the saying that more drugs cancel out other drugs. But Ann seems quite content that everything will just blow over on its own and Herschell will eventually just go back to normal.
Herschell’s finest hour is attacking a supplier in cahoots with Guy. The supplier attacks Ann while she sleeps in bed, and kills her. Provoked, Herschell attacks the supplier and cuts his leg off with a table saw.
The turkey-man is eventually stabbed by Ann’s dealer friends, and his head is served with dinner. But hey, it’s all just a trip! Herschell wakes up with a human head attached to his human body. The poultry farmer finds Herschell and assists him getting home, later telling off his scientist friends for feeding Herschell the turkey.
For some reason, there’s still ten minutes of the movie. Do I really need to know Herschell’s happy ending? Nope. But anything to pad it out to feature-film length, eh?
This is the type of movie that deserves the Mystery Science Theater treatment. Everyone forgets their lines, some people are obviously reading from a script, and the movie is so goddamn preachy. It’s not at all fleshed out, but rather spends it’s time discussing the philosophy behind drugs.
It’s certainly a trippy film. One I’d only recommend if you want to see a truly one-of-a-kind movie. Also, it’s semi-festive for the season because who doesn’t love a man with a turkey head?
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.