tek's rating: ½

Turkey Hollow, on Lifetime
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This aired a few days before Thanksgiving 2015, but since I didn't have access to Lifetime, I couldn't watch it. However, I got it on DVD and watched it the night before Thanksgiving 2016. The movie is based on a special that was being developed by Jim Henson in the 1960s, but which never got produced. So... of course once it finally did get made in its current form, the Jim Henson Company was involved in making creatures for the film.

Anyway, there's this guy named Ron Emmerson, who is taking his kids, Annie and Tim, to the small town of Turkey Hollow, to spend Thanksgiving with his Aunt Cly (Mary Steenburgen). I guess Ron used to go there for the holidays when he was a kid, but he hasn't seen her since the now-teenaged Annie was a baby (and some years before Tim was born). When they first get into town, the kids discover a local legend called the "Howling Hoodoo," a Bigfoot-like monster that supposedly lives in the woods nearby. And Ron tells them that his Uncle Ned (Cly's late husband) had claimed to have seen the Hoodoo, though Ron thinks he was crazy. Anyway, when they get to Cly's farm, we see that she's kind of a hippie, and a vegan, with no use for a TV or internet. (She's even got a rotary phone.) Annie is upset to be totally cut off from the internet (her phone doesn't even get any service, out there). But Tim thinks the place is cool, especially after he discovers Ned's old journal and some weird thing that looks kind of like a cross between a keytar and... some kind of horns. Meanwhile, Annie is further upset when she learns that Ron, who is recently divorced from their mother, basically brought them here so Cly could look after the kids while her father does some work on... something on his computer.

That night, Tim hears strange noises in the woods, and goes out to investigate. He ends up stumbling onto the property of a turkey farmer named Eldridge Slump, and accidentally letting his turkeys loose. Slump calls Sheriff Grover, who takes Tim back to Cly's place, where Slump insists that Cly compensate him for the loss of his turkeys... which amounts to around $10,000. And because of town laws, she has two days to get the money, or her farm will have to be signed over to Slump. The next day, Tim goes back into the woods to search for the Hoodoo, because of an old tabloid advertisement he'd found with Ned's things, which coincidentally offered $10,000 for a picture of the Hoodoo. And he wants to make up for the trouble he caused his great aunt. Annie follows him, against her better judgement. And before long, they meet four small, Muppety "monsters" called Squonk, Zorp, Burble, and Thring. (So called because those are the sounds each of them makes.) And Tim gets it into his head that they can lead him and his sister to the Hoodoo. Meanwhile, when Cly and Ron discover that the kids are missing, they go out into the woods to search for them.

That's pretty much all I want to reveal of the plot, to avoid spoilers. Though I will say there's a cute and amusing subplot about Grover having romantic feelings for Cly, which causes him to frequently make (somewhat risqué) Freudian slips (which immediately embarrass him, when he realizes what he said). Also, the story is narrated by Ludacris (though unlike most narrators, we actually see him). He's pretty funny, and kind of breaks the fourth wall a lot (which I guess makes sense, since he's not really part of the story, though he does interact with at least one of the monsters). And, other than that... I dunno, I just basically thought it was a cute and fun and amusing movie. Pretty silly, but it had a sort of self-awareness that I really liked. And I liked all the main characters, particularly the kids. So, I'm glad I got to see the movie.


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