Title: Bone Chillers #4 – Frankenturkey, a.k.a. “Help! My Turkey Is A Frankenstein”
Author: Betsy Haynes
Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus (?)
Tagline: Look who’s coming to Thanksgiving dinner…
Summary: …it’s not Grandma!
Kyle and Annie want to celebrate Thanksgiving like the Pilgrims. They want to wear stovepipe hats, bake their own pies – even raise their own turkey. Then they meet Frankenturkey!
Frankenturkey is big. Frankenturkey is bad. Frankenturkey is mad. If Kyle and Annie don’t watch out, Frankenturkey will eat them for Thanksgiving dinner.
That summary is a lie in so many ways. Kyle and Annie do NOT want to celebrate Thanksgiving like the Pilgrims. They do NOT want to wear stovepipe hats or bake their own pies. And while they want to raise their own turkey, it’s not because they want to eat him.
Coming off that, I should clarify I actually really hate Thanksgiving, probably more than April Fools’ Day. I don’t feel I’m educated enough to make a point about how the holiday is shamelessly built off the exploitation and continued attempts at extermination of the indigenous people who lived in this country before white people ruined everything. Well I could, but I feel I’d come across as a token straw liberal and sound horribly obnoxious and phony.
Oh screw it I’m going to Hell anyway.
[Wing: A handful of links with more information RE USA Thanksgiving and native peoples: 7 Ways to be an Ally to Native Peoples This Thanksgiving, Celebrate Indigenous History This Thanksgiving, Native American Rights Fund: Thanksgiving.]
What I can say is I’d rather not celebrate a holiday that seems to pride itself on being a clusterfuck of anxiety, wherein family members are forced to invite other family members they can’t stand, waste a lot of money on one meal that could’ve been used to buy at least a week’s worth of food, and then spend the entire day arguing and yelling about shit no one’s talked about in decades before nitpicking over said meal and then offering apologies that amount to nothing.
As a picky eater I also can’t stand the holiday because everyone expects me to eat a lot and it makes me feel more self conscious than I already am when I have dinner with other people. If I ever have a family of my own, I’m not making my kids celebrate the holiday and would rather spend the day doing something fun with them instead of forcing them to watch me argue with their uncle and grandparents.
This is most likely one of the more well known “Bone Chillers” in it’s one of the three books adapted into the TV show and it’s the one book that got a sequel.
If there was ever to be a trademark monster for the franchise, it’s Frankenturkey. [Wing: Well that is a horrifying promotional image.]
I bought the sequel book first before I acquired the original, and owned this for years without reading it until I proposed a recap for the site. Well, I’d read the first chapter and was prepared to hate this when it seemed Kyle was too much like an average “Goosebumps” protagonist. I was pleasantly surprised to be proved wrong. Kyle and Annie’s affection for the actual turkey they buy is legit endearing, and the one thing that frustrates me is their condescending bitch of a mother and their equally awful dad.
As a bonus, here’s the episode on Youtube
Kyle Duggan and his younger sister Annie hated living in Massachusetts. It was a definite step down from having grown up in Florida, especially considering how drab and ugly the late Fall weather made everything look. And of course the closed-in feeling being surrounded by all those trees generated, making the location creepy and uncomfortable. [Wing: I am loving their hatred of cold, gross fall weather. Me too, dudes. Me too.] They didn’t understand why their parents had to move back to the house where Mr. Duggan grew up. Kyle hated leaving all his friends behind, and he hated going to a school where his mom was a teacher (she’d worked in a different school than the one Kyle attended back in Florida). He wished he’d been able to finally make some new friends, but that was proving difficult for two reasons.
The first was his mom.
The second was Jake Wilbanks.
Jake was the oldest kid in the sixth grade (already on the verge of developing a mustache) because he got held back. He was also the class bully, and lived near the farmhouse where the Duggans resided. Kyle and Annie were hoping to get to school early to avoid the daily routine Jake established. Every morning he’d make Kyle hand over his lunch money before the bus arrived. That very first morning, Jake punched Kyle in the face for saying “No.” Kyle bled while his lip swelled up, and all his classmates laughed at him when they saw how ridiculous he looked.
Of course Kyle hadn’t told his mom since that would’ve made him look worse. And chances are Mrs. Duggan woudn’t have helped anyway. The rest of the kids found Kyle’s lie about “Falling down” hilarious; they all knew Jake picked on the new kids. After that, Jake switched to punching Kyle in the stomach so no one would see any marks. Kyle vainly hoped no visible bruises would let the other kids believe he was standing up to Jake.
This morning, Kyle told Annie to make sure Trouble (their fat golden retriever) didn’t follow them as they headed off. Unfortunately, Jake was waiting for them and implemented a recently added twist to the routine. Before punching Kyle, Jake forced him to get down on his knees and say “I’m a wimp” ten times. Annie was horrified and threatened to tell on Jake, but Jake ignored her and threatened Kyle some more. Jake’s abuse just reinforced Kyle’s desire to return to Florida, making it feel like today of all days was the worst day of his life.
Not knowing they were gonna get a LOT more worse.
Climbing on the bus, Kyle saw his classmates Jonathan, Jason, and Eric, and once again wished he had the courage to befriend the three. They reminded him of Matt and Joel, his best friends back in Florida. But they didn’t seem interested in turning their trio into a quartet, so they didn’t notice Kyle. Luckily, it appeared that was changing when they talked to Kyle for the first time ever in the school hallway. The three asked if Kyle was handling Jake since he didn’t appear to have any cuts or anything. Kyle casually assured them without falsely bragging he was handling things. That seemed to impress them, much to Kyle’s internal relief.
Unfortunately his mom was in a disgustingly chipper mood and some of the kids couldn’t help but snicker at Kyle when she had “Big news” about Thanksgiving. Isn’t it just wonderful how they’re all living in the state where the Pilgrims had the very first Thanksgiving? Jake wanted to gag, but Mrs. Duggan didn’t notice. She declared Winston Middle School’s doing a reenactment of the first Thanksgiving evar. All the kids will come to school, dressed as either Pilgrims or “Indians.” Jake, Eric, and a few other boys declare it’d be cool to dress up as “Indians” and eagerly ask to do so. The entire class starts to do “War whooping.”
Oh but what kind of “Indians” you say? Do they want to be Sioux? Algonquin? Spokane? Iroquois? Navajo? Hopi? Seneca?
LIKE ANY OF THEM FUCKING CARES!
God I can’t fucking believe my sibling and I probably had to do shit like this when we were in elementary school.
But if I’m not able to name every Tribe on this continent alongside the ones that got wiped out, I guess I shouldn’t judge. I don’t know.
[Wing: Knowing that the Thanksgiving story taught in most schools is a lie and calling out the racism of our celebration of it doesn’t require knowing everything ever. We can lift up native voices with our privilege.]
Oh and Kyle figures he’ll be stuck as a Pilgrim, and if Jake’s an “Indian” he can look forward to getting scalped.
Things got worse that afternoon at home. Annie had begged Kyle to tell their parents about Jake, but he insisted on handling it. He also knew he couldn’t sic Trouble on Jake because all their dog cared about was food. [Wing: …are they going to sic the turkey on Jake? I hope they’re going to sic the turkey on Jake. Please let them sic the turkey on Jake.]
During dinner, Mr. and Mrs. Duggan try to be sympathetic about how much Kyle misses Florida. Annie pipes in she misses their old home for most of the same reasons as Kyle. Mrs. Duggan claims there are exciting things about Massachusetts as well. Like their school’s Thanksgiving recital, with all the cultural appropriation one could ask for.
Kyle begs their parents to allow them to go back to Florida to celebrate Thanksgiving like they used to. They’d have a Thanksgiving picnic at the beach, collect shells, ride Jet skis. It’s then Mr. Duggan hits on the “Brilliant” idea of pretending they’re Pilgrims at home, too. It’ll be a new Thanksgiving tradition. Mrs. Duggan thinks it’s great. I, on the other hand, want to throw up.
“Can we invite some Indians?” Kyle asked halfheartedly.
Annie kicked him under the table. “Native Americans,” she reminded him in a hoarse whisper.
Kyle ignored her and looked at his parent. “Well can we?”
The eight year old.
The. EIGHT. YEAR. OLD.
Is smart enough to say “Native Americans” when no one else in her family does.
Congrats Mrs. Duggan somehow your child is smarter than you specifically because you’re not her teacher.
Mr. Duggan clarifies they’ll make pumpkin pie from real pumpkins, roast marshmallows by a fire [Wing: Super Pilgrimy, that.], and even raise their own turkey to eat. And the kids will get to feed him until he’s fat enough for them to eat on Thanksgiving. Mrs. Duggan suggests they can bring the turkey to school for the recital and ALL of Kyle and Annie’s friends will be hella impressed.
Kyle is not.
The next morning, Kyle looks out his bedroom window. Looking at the old chicken coop and barn surrounded by bare trees, the atmosphere all brown and grey and dead, Kyle felt everything in this part of the country looked like it was part of some gigantic cemetery. Kyle and Annie wished they could stay home instead of having to go out in such cold, ugly weather.
“Where’s that Pilgrim spirit, kids?” asked Mr. Duggan with a chuckle as he pulled on a thick down jacket. “Just think about what they had to go through to have the first Thanksgiving.” He paused for a moment, then went on dramatically. “Why, after months at sea in leaky little boats, they had to tame the land! Build homes! Raise a crop to have food for the winter!”
…the land was already “tamed” ya freakin’ nipnub.
Wing remind me why I wanted to recap this book? [Wing: Because you like Kyle and Annie? Because Frankenturkey is amazing?]
Anyway, the Duggans make their way to Berkowitz’s Feed Store to pick out a turkey. Mr. Berkowitz brings them to a pen half filled with gobblers. Annie notices there are pennies on the floor of the pen. Berkotwitz explains turkeys are idiots and require seeing something shiny to get their attention so they can eat. They’ll peck the ground, missing the pennies and getting their food instead. Berkowitz is amazed turkeys managed to get onto Noah’s Ark. [Wing: I … I have no words.]
Kyle and Annie are allowed to pick the turkey from the pen. Annie wonders how they can choose when all the birds look the same. Yet Kyle notices one who stands out.
He pointed to a turkey that was standing all by itself in the far corner of the pen. There were no shiny pennies in the dirt where it stood, but once in a while it wood lean down and peck at the grain. But most of the time it stood still, watching the other birds.
“He looks kind of scared,” said Kyle.
“And lonely,” added Annie softly. “I feel sorry for him.”
“Me, too,” said Kyle. “Maybe he’s like us.”
Annie screwed up her face in surprise. “You mean he’s from Florida?” she asked. “How can you tell?”
Kyle grinned at his little sister. “No, silly. I mean I don’t think he likes it here. Maybe one of the other turkeys is a bully. Let’s take him. Okay?”
Well damn, that’s some empathy I did not expect when I started reading this book.
The Duggans buy this turkey, and Mr. Duggan decides to house him in the old chicken coop. Kyle argues the coop is falling apart, but his dad insists it simply needs new chicken wire. He then fondly reminisces about wading through three feet of snow to get eggs when he was a boy. Kyle and Annie wisely decide not to call their dad on his bullshit.
Kyle looks inside and really doesn’t want their turkey staying in such a creepy wreck, but Mr. Duggan insists he knows best.
Kyle and Annie rushed to the van. The little turkey was huddling in a corner behind the backseat.
“Here turkey, turkey. Here, turkey, turkey,” Annie coaxed. She held out a hand toward him.
The small bird waddled straight toward her and didn’t make a sound when she picked him up and cuddled him in her arms.
“I think he likes me already,” she said in a voice filled with wonder.
[Wing: I have a bad feeling about how attached I already am to this turkey and these kids.]
Taking the turkey to the pen, the kids were amazed when he didn’t require shiny things to eat or drink. But Kyle reminded Annie what Berkowitz said about there being no smart turkeys. Annie was still unsure if the bird would be okay in the chicken coop, and that it would hopefully be warmer.
Kyle glanced out the window. A weird feeling came over him.
The little turkey was pressed against the chicken wire, and he was staring longingly back at Kyle.
No seriously I did not think I would get emotional with two kids bonding with a turkey. [Wing: RIGHT? I was not prepared.]
Kyle and Annie stared out the window and feared the turkey was indeed too cold. They asked their parents to let them bring the bird inside, but they refused. Mr. Duggan reminded the kids they’re eating the turkey for Thanksgiving, so don’t get attached.
Mrs. Duggan joked not to name the bird either, or Trouble would get jealous.
But when Kyle looked back, he could tell it was as though the turkey was silently asking for help. Kyle knew all too much how that felt. He then asks what they’re gonna do to the turkey.
“Well, we’ll fatten him up,” said Mr. Duggan. “Then a couple of days before Thanksgiving, I’ll sharpen the old ax and chop off his head.” Mr. Duggan slammed the side of his hand against the table and made a loud whacking sound. “That’s just the way we did it when I was a boy. Then, when all the feathers have been plucked, your mother will fill the bird with stuffing and pop him in the oven. He’ll be delicious. And you children will have had a part in our best Thanksgiving ever!”
Jesus Christ I think I honestly hate this couple about as much as I hate Darryl Hoode and that date rapist Sean. Are you that fucking dense you have no clue how uncomfortable you’re making your kids?!
Kyle is understandably disgusted, having never realized all THAT is what it happens to turkeys on Thanksgiving. The thought of doing it to that poor bird outside makes Kyle feel horrible, so he goes to check on him. Kyle even asks the turkey if he’s okay, and the bird leans against the fence like he’d appreciate being petted. More straw is put in the coop so the turkey will be warmer.
“There,” he said with satisfaction. He poked a finger through one of the holes in the chicken wire and scratched the turkey gently on the head.
“Gobble,” the bird said softly. “Gobble, gobble.”
Reaching over the fence, Kyle lifted the turkey out of his pen, Then, sitting down on the cold ground, he snuggled him in his lap.
“You’re a nice turkey,” he told the bird.
“Gobble, gobble,” the turkey replied.
“I don’t care what my parents say. I’m going to give you a name,” Kyle said. “I’m going to call you Gobble-de-gook because of the way you say ‘gobble, gobble,’ all the time.”
“Gobble, gobble,” said Gobble-de-gook. He looked up at Kyle as if he understood.
For ease of access I’m referring to the turkey as GDG from this point on.
But then the comforting mood is almost ruined when Trouble charges out of the house! Or is it?
Kyle watches as Trouble presses his nose up against GDG’s fence.
Trouble didn’t budge. Then Kyle noticed that the dog had stopped growling. His nose was still firmly pressed against the wire, but his tail was wagging.
Kyle shook his head in amazement. “Trouble, are you trying to tell me that you like Gobble-de-gook?” he asked.
Trouble rolled his eyes toward Kyle and wagged his tail even harder. He whimpered softly at the little turkey.
Gobble-de-gook didn’t act the least bit afraid of the big dog. He strutted around in his pen, making soft gobbling noises.
Trouble sat down beside the pen. His tongue lolled out of one side of his mouth, and he looked at the turkey with a sort of goofy doggy smile.
“Woof,” he said softly.
“Gobble, gobble,” said Gobble-de-gook.
Then Trouble poked his nose through the wire again and whimpered. With that, Gobble-de-gook strutted up to the wire and rubbed gently against Trouble’s nose.
“Wow,” murmured Kyle in amazement. “You guys are friends. Trouble, I’ve always known you were special. And now I know you’re special, too, Gobble-de-gook.”
[Wing: Oh, hell, more emotions. WHY. WHY?]
Kyle hurried to show Annie how Trouble and GDG were friends, and warned her not to tell their parents he named the turkey.
Later their parents explain to Kyle and Annie how it would be their responsibility to take care of the turkey. Kyle wasn’t exactly prepared for that, and Annie’s grossed out at the idea of cleaning the pen. However, Kyle’s in for a pleasant surprise. When Mr. Duggan explains, to accommodate the new morning routine of feeding and giving the turkey water, he’ll drive Kyle and Annie to school. That means no more morning beatings from Jake!
During recess Jake immediately asked if Kyle got his dad to drive him to school because he’s a scaredy-cat. Lucky for Kyle the recess monitor was Mrs. Swoogle, who worked as a motorcycle cop before she was a teacher. Nobody pulled any shit when SHE was around. Kyle was safe for the time being. He tried to act brave by informing Jake his family now had a turkey to raise for Thanksgiving but Jake doesn’t believe him. Jake then proceeds to go full sociopath by promising to check out said turkey, and then…
“And even if you are, I just might decide to wring that stupid bird’s neck and then break off a drumstick and eat it!”
Future rapist, right here.
Kyle immediately regrets opening his big mouth out of fear for GDG’s safety. His one relief comes from realizing Jonathan, Jason and Eric hadn’t seen how scared he was.
On the bus ride home, Kyle told Annie what happened and they both decided GDG needed protection. Not just from Jake, but their parents as well. They don’t want him being killed for Thanksgiving so the kids decide to hide him. Only Annie realizes if they hide GDG, Jake will think Kyle lied. She starts to cry at the thought of Jake harming her brother, so Kyle assures her they’ll come up with a new plan…
At which point Annie remembers Jake doesn’t take the bus home. In fact, no one knows where he runs off to after school. HE COULD BE AT THEIR HOUSE RIGHT NOW.
Thankfully he’s not, but that’s too close for Kyle and Annie. While Annie notices how GDG follows the kids around like a pet, Kyle comes up with the idea to fake out Jake and their parents. They can hide GDG and substitute a fake turkey. All they have to do is make it look convincing enough to fool their parents and their bully. Mr. and Mrs. Duggan did delegate them the hard work of raising the turkey, and they only bother to look out the window to check on him. Annie dubiously asks where they’re gonna get a fake turkey. Kyle promises they can take care of it…
Brother and sister lead GDG down to their cellar (which was just as creepy as the woods surrounding the house), and so far the Duggans only used it to store shit they rarely needed most of the time. Kyle gets creeped out by all the cobwebs, but the coast is clear for GDG to make himself comfortable. Annie brings down the food dish and water bowl, shocked by how much the cellar reeks. After making sure GDG’s okay, the two hurry to enact the next step before it starts to rain.
Taking Trouble with them, Kyle leads Annie to the nearby supermarket where they pool their money together to buy a frozen turkey. The trio of siblings and dog make it home just as it starts to rain. Kyle orders Annie to get a bunch of wire hangers and a pillow before meeting him in the garage. Too bad the darkening storm clouds were giving Kyle a bad feeling.
Kyle props the frozen turkey on his father’s workbench before taking out an old Halloween mask. The blood-red mask had an orange beak and was covered with warts; unfortunately it was the best Kyle could do. While Kyle stuffed the mask with newspaper, lightning flashed in the sky.
Annie freaks when she sees Kyle’s work in progress, but he fills her in on what they’re doing and advises her to get moving. Working with the glow of a flashlight and the occasional streak of lightning, the kids did the following:
- Connect the Halloween mask to the dead bird using the coat hangers
- Remove the feathers from the pillow
- Paint them brown
- Glue them to the bird
By the time they’re done, Annie feels their substi-turkey looks weird. Kyle’s more worried about getting into the house before the storm really hits (the garage isn’t connected to the house). He’s more concerned about the thunder and lightning than the rain. That’s when the rain REALLY hits the fan.
Suddenly the sky lit up like daylight as a bolt of lightning crashed through the window and hit the turkey.
They jumped back and Annie screamed. The electric current danced along the wire coat hangers and made the bird glow. It popped and cracked and lit up the room like a fireworks display. The rubber head bobbed up and down, and the frozen body twitched.
Annie and Kyle closed their eyes and clung to each other in terror. The stench of burning feathers filled their noses.
By the time it’s over, Kyle and Annie hesitate to open their eyes. When they do, they’re horrified by what their bird has become.
The fake turkey was no longer the frozen corpse of a bird laid out on their father’s worktable.
The Halloween mask was no longer lifeless rubber with painted eyes that had been connected to the body with coat hangers.
The bogus turkey was alive!
And it was struggling to get up!
The Duggan kids can’t believe this! The fake bird looks just like GDG! This new turkey pecks at the floor trying to get a bent nail when Trouble begins growling at it. Trouble can’t wait to get out of the garage when Kyle notices the new turkey has red eyes. Annie doesn’t see it, but Kyle does. This turkey is giving him the creeps.
Which, you know, considering it was magically brought to life by a bolt of lightning, is totally understandable.
[Wing: THIS IS AMAZING. I never knew how much I needed a Frankenstein retelling with a TURKEY, but here we are.]
Kyle kneels down and motions for the turkey to come towards him from the work bench. Petting the turkey’s head, Kyle notices it feels like an actual turkey instead of a Halloween mask. Nor can he feel any wire hangers as he inspects the neck.
Annie’s hoping to tell all her friends about this as they carefully bring the new bird to the pen, looking out for Jake or their parents. The turkey gives no objection to going into the pen, but Kyle’s afraid it’ll turn back to a frozen carcass at any moment. Watching the bird from the living room window, it dawns on Kyle where he’s seen this before. Or rather, read this before. He asks if Annie remembers the story of “Frankenstein,” about the doctor who created a monster brought to life by a lightning bolt, and how the monster went on a rampage.
The two then turn to the bird outside and shout in unison [INSERT TITLE HERE].
Mr. and Mrs. Duggan return a short while later after the storm ends, Kyle still worried Frankenturkey will collapse at any moment. The Duggans explain they were out shopping for all kinds of racially insensitive bullshit for the Thanksgiving recital and their Pilgrim play at home. Kyle asks if they saw anything unusual in the yard, and is relieved to hear they did not.
Mrs. Duggan talks about needing to buy feather headdresses for the “Indians” and gushes about the cute Pilgrim costumes they’ll get to wear. She’s even making one for Mr. Duggan so they can eat Thanksgiving dinner like real Pilgrims! Won’t that be the bee’s knees?
And Mr. Duggan expects the kids to get into the spirit of things.
This couple are what’s wrong with this country.
Before Kyle can protest there’s a loud banging on the door. The kids immediately fear Frankenturkey’s gone monster and beg their parents not to open a door. They’re right in a way, because it IS a monster behind the door.
Jake with the biggest, phoniest grin on his face, asking if Kyle’s home. Mrs. Duggan’s delighted to learn Jake is SUCH a good friend of Kyle’s. The Duggans gladly invite Jake inside, and Kyle can only play along out of fear of what Jake or his parents would do to him. Annie’s more worried Frankenturkey might turn back to his ingredients right in front of Jake. Kyle realizes they can only play it by ear at this point as the Duggans attempt to show Jake the turkey.
Kyle moves fast claiming their turkey goes to bed in the pen really early, but Mr. Duggan insists on letting Jake see the bird. After all, he came all this way to see the bird. Oh I’d like to show Jake the bird, alright. Kyle and Annie are relieved to at least see Frankenturkey’s in the pen after all, and Jake seems placated for the moment. That’s when Trouble comes out of the house, but stops a few feet away from the pen. Looking at Frankenturkey, Trouble seems petrified. The dog loved GDG, but this new bird has the dog scared out of his mind.
The Duggans take Trouble inside and let Kyle and Annie hang out with their “friend” Jake. In fact, Mrs. Duggan even invites Jake to join them for dinner! Jake says he can’t join them tonight, but appreciates the offer. Mr. Duggan adds he’s free to join them ANY time.
Once the morons-I MEAN, parents are back in the house, Jake threatens he might stop by three times a week to have dinner with his good friend. Annie ain’t having that and swears she’ll poison Jake’s food if he tries anything on her brother. This pisses Jake off so much he decides to snap Frankenturkey’s neck right then and there!
Grabbing the turkey, Jake asks if it has a name. The moment Kyle says Frankenturkey’s name, the otherworldly bird goes on a rampage. It starts pecking at Jake’s head, squawking and screaming as it beats the brutish young man with his wings and slashes him with clawed feet. Kyle can’t believe this as he watches Frankenturkey go for Jake’s eyes. Jake babbles and flees for his life before Kyle tries to sic Frankenturkey on him. [Wing: YES!] The bully’s long gone, so now Frankenturkey turns his gaze to Kyle and Annie! [Wing: …NO!]
The siblings make a run for their house and slam the door just as Frankenturkey almost reaches them. Annie starts sobbing over what they’ve created, wishing they hadn’t made a fake turkey and played God. Kyle gets the movie “Frankenstein” confused with the book and manages the villagers stopped the monster by trapping it in the castle and burning it down. Annie wonders if they could burn down the chicken coop, but Kyle knows that’s a stupid and dangerous idea.
Kyle spent most of the night watching Frankenturkey from his room, wondering why the bird hated them so much. They hadn’t brought him to life on purpose, nor had they planned to. They only wanted to protect GDG.
At school the next day, Jake was telling everyone about Frankenturkey, but lies he fought the bird off when he went for Jake’s eyes. He promises to wring the turkey’s neck and threatens Kyle before stomping off. Jason, Jonathan and Eric ask Kyle if that’s what really happened. Kyle says Jake’s full of hot air and their turkey is harmless. When recess ends, Jake grabs Kyle and claims Frankenturkey didn’t scare him. But Kyle knows better and sees a golden opportunity to deal with Jake once and for all.
“Want to know a secret, Jake? Frankenturkey’s a monster. I created him myself, the same way that mad scientist created the monster in Frankenstein. And I created Frankenturkey to take care of you. I made him out of dead turkey parts and old coat hangers. Then I put him under the garage window before the electrical storm hit.”
Kyle watched the bully’s eyes grow large and his mouth drop open. He smiled to himself and went on.
“Then the wind howled. The rain came pouring down. And a lightning bolt as big as a tree crashed through the window and hit that dead turkey. He came to life in an instant! And that’s not all,” Kyle added in a menacing voice. “He’ll do anything I tell him to do. You mess with me again, and I’ll sic him on you so fast, your head will spin.”
Jake cringed and turned a pale shade of green.
“What’s the matter, Jake?” Kyle asked sarcastically. “I didn’t scare you, did I? Not a big bully like you.”
Kyle threw back his head and laughed as he strutted on down the hall, leaving Jake speechless behind him.
Weeks passed and Thanksgiving drew near. Kyle and Annie alternated between caring for GDG and feeding Frankenturkey. The Friday before the big day, Kyle began to notice some startling changes in the abnormal turkey. While they weren’t overfeeding him, Frankenturkey was twice as big as GDG. And his appearance was slowly starting to revert back to what it was before he came to life! His beak was bigger, had warts on it, and turned the same shade of orange as the mask. Kyle could smell burning feathers and noticed the coat hangers were sticking out of the turkey’s neck!
Kyle and Annie were terrified of Frankenturkey breaking out of the pen again, but then Saturday they had more problems to take care of. Mr. Duggan figured now was the time to sharpen up the ax. Which was in the basement. Kyle offered to get the ax for his dad, but in a rare moment of good parenting, Mr. Duggan didn’t want Kyle handling such a dangerous object by himself. Mrs. Duggan told her husband to wait until after the Thanksgiving recital to chop the turkey’s head off since he’s the star.
This just made things more complicated for Kyle and Annie. If their dad went in the basement, he’d find GDG. Their mom couldn’t bring Frankenturkey to school because he’d be a danger to everyone. First things first, Kyle drags Annie away from breakfast so they can hide GDG somewhere else.
Using the leftover chicken wire and an old doghouse from the barn, Kyle and Annie take their beloved bird out in the woods to search for the perfect spot to protect him. Annie manages to find a nearby cave where they can safely set up the chicken wire so GDG won’t be in danger. They won’t even need the doghouse because the cave’s so small. The kids set up the chicken wire using some old poles Kyle found near the barn, but Annie’s worried about leaving GDG by himself. He looks so sad. Kyle tried to convince Annie the turkey would be okay, but looking around at how creepy and forlorn the woods appeared this close to winter, he wasn’t so sure.
And OH SHIT IS FRANKENTURKEY GONE?!
The kids can’t find him in the pen, but they do find a clump of golden brown hair in the grass. Trouble! The kids panic looking for their dog, out of fear Frankenturkey’s done something to him. Annie locates Trouble underneath the porch, missing patches of hair and sporting a gash on his nose. The kids gently bring Trouble inside the house to clean him and tend to his wound, while trying to figure out what they’ll tell their parents. Kyle figures they can just say Trouble wandered into the woods and got scratched by a raccoon…
Obviously not thinking his parents would freak if they thought Trouble might have rabies.
Luckily, aside from the cut, Trouble’s more scared than he is hurt. Annie proposes dressing him in a T-shirt like she did when she was younger, so they can hide the missing hair. Kyle’s unsure of that plan, but Annie asks if he can think of anything better. Annie’s at least pleased with how beautiful Trouble looks in her flowered shirt when Kyle discovers Frankenturkey’s back.
The siblings were horrified as they watched the monster turkey from Annie’s room. His appearance got worse; his head had totally reverted back to the mask. And even from Annie’s room they can see the coat hangers sticking out of Frankenturkey’s neck. Kyle wonders if Frankenturkey will go on a rampage like the Frankenstein monster did, when a hideous thought occurs to him. What was Frankenturkey doing while Kyle and Annie tended to Trouble? What if he went after GDG?
Unfortunately, the kids get held up from making sure GDG is okay by their mother. She’s working on their Pilgrim costumes and wants Kyle and Annie to try them on. Kyle would rather do anything else when he sees those God awful black pants and lies they forgot to feed the turkey. When Mrs. Duggan sees Trouble in Annie’s shirt, she assumes the kids were playing dress-up with the bird outside. That’s why he’s “Wearing” a Halloween mask. But Mrs. Duggan insists on the kids trying those costumes now. As Kyle squeezes into his he feels like even Trouble’s laughing at how dorky he looks.
The fitting takes forever and Kyle agonizes about poor GDG and if he’s still alive. Once that’s over, Kyle and Anne sneak out of the house with Trouble alongside them. Kyle’s worrying about that hole in the pen’s fence, wondering how often Frankenturkey’s sneaked out when everyone was gone for the day. They couldn’t even try to repair it because Frankenturkey would simply attack them. Thankfully, GDG is safe and sound.
When the kids return to the house, they find Frankenturkey staring at them with his beady, blood-colored eyes. His gobbling sounds more like a threat than anything else.
Wednesday arrived and Mrs. Duggan is just SO excited for Thanksgiving Eve and the recital and all that bullshit. Their mom tells Kyle and Annie to get the turkey while their dad helps her load the school’s costumes into the car. Oh and take that silly mask off the bird. Kyle is really not looking forward to this because of how embarrassing it’ll be. Annie mentions they can’t bring Frankenturkey, and the bird seems to know what’s going on and WANTS to be taken. He wants an excuse to create havoc.
Kyle proposes they take GDG, just for today, to placate their mom and to stop Frankenturkey from murdering anyone. The kids head for the woods while their parents are wrapped up in Thanksgiving make-believe. GDG even seems to understand Kyle when he says they have to hurry. Thank God Mrs. Duggan’s an oblivious douchebag and she doesn’t notice any obvious differences between GDG and Frankenturkey…
Whom Kyle sees as their car drives away, outside of the pen and standing behind the car. Kyle is helpless to watch as Frankenturkey flaps his grotesque wings and follows after the Duggans. While the car’s too fast for Frankenturkey, Kyle fears the bird will have no trouble finding the school. If it could come to life from getting struck by lightning, it could do anything.
As the Duggans arrive to the school, kids started mobbing the car and laughing, excited for the big day. Mrs. Duggan gently ordered the kids to go to their classes and she’ll bring the costumes to their teachers. Kyle and Annie will bring the turkey to each class so everyone can see the star of the show. Mrs. Duggan takes GDG to the teachers lounge while Kyle and Annie get passes from the school secretary.
Kyle can’t believe how decked out the school’s become for the stupid holiday. Even the secretary Miss LaMaster was dressed up, but as a scarecrow instead of a Pilgrim or “Indian.” Kyle still wishes he got to be an “Indian” so here’s where the racist crap returns. Kyle watched in envy as Jonathan, Jason, Eric, and Jake got to put war paint on. Jake even painted lines and moons on his chest and adjusted a feather headband. He completed the delightful ensemble by doing a whoop, and then took out a rubber tomahawk and did a little dance.
Kyle had more to worry about than this Redskins bullshit. Outside the classroom window was Frankenturkey, watching everything. And at this point I hope he pecks everyone to death.
Kyle clutched his black Pilgrim hat and stared back at Frankenturkey outside the classroom window. The blood-red head and hideous wart-covered beak seemed twice as large as before. The wires connecting Frankenturkey’s head to his body pulsed like throbbing arteries. But worst of all were the big, red, evil eyes. Kyle tried desperately to look away, but he couldn’t. He couldn’t even blink. He was helpless. Frankenturkey had gotten stronger and more powerful. And there was nothing Kyle could do about it.
Kyle’s attention is diverted from the monster turkey when Jason-Jonathan-Eric asks where the turkey is. When Kyle looks back outside, Frankenturkey’s gone. Miss LaMaster calls for Kyle over the intercom saying if he’s got his costume on, he can get the turkey from his mom and starting bringing the bird around the school. Out in the hallway, Kyle’s trying to convince himself he imagined Frankenturkey outside. The empty hallway isn’t doing much for Kyle’s nervousness.
Just as Kyle reaches the teacher’s lounge, he sees Frankenturkey outside the main glass doors to the school. He hurries to get GDG before Mrs. Duggan sees the zombie bird outside the school.
Back in the classroom, everyone thinks GDG is cool. Well, everyone except Jake, who thinks this is the same bird that attacked him. Kyle tries to tell everyone about GDG, but finds it hard to talk seeing Frankenturkey watching him from the window. Amazingly, no one else notices the other bird. Jake is definitely freaked out by GDG and embarrasses himself when he refuses to pet the turkey. All the kids start to laugh realizing what a coward Jake is before Mrs. Duggan calls them off.
Of course she notices THAT.
Jason-Jonathan-Eric is impressed by how Kyle called Jake’s bluff, and invites Kyle to join them on a bike ride the following Saturday. Kyle accepts, while trying to hide how ecstatic he is but also how terrified he is about Frankenturkey. Would Kyle still be alive to go on that bike ride?
The rest of the day was a nightmare for Kyle as he kept his eyes open for Frankenturkey, but the day passed without incident. The Duggans returned home and Kyle’s mom mentioned it’d be such a shame to eat GDG. Such a nice bird.
Annie’s worried about putting GDG in the pen. Frankenturkey’s not there, but she doesn’t want GDG getting his head chopped off. The kids bring GDG back to the woods, scared Frankenturkey will come out of nowhere and kill them. That night after dinner, Mr. Duggan announces he’s gonna chop off the turkey’s head. Kyle and Annie do everything to stall their dad, but sure enough he goes outside to find an empty pen. Seeing the hole in the fence, Mr. and Mrs. Duggan become livid at the kids and blame them for losing the turkey. Even worse, all they have in the house is tuna.
Tun fish casserole on Thanksgiving? The thought horrifies Mrs. Duggan.
“What would the Pilgrims think?”
I want to stab this woman with a Sharpie.
Kyle doesn’t care, because GDG is safe and hopefully Frankenturkey’s gone forever. Oh Kyle. It’s never that easy.
Thanksgiving morning is rainy and dismal, and Mrs. Duggan still insists the family does the Pilgrim cosplay bullshit. Ugh, Kyle doesn’t want to spend all day dressed in that stupid costume, but at least the kids can check in on GDG. Annie worries how they can keep GDG a secret while still taking care of him, and the weather’s getting colder. They can’t keep him in that cave forever.
The miserable rainy weather makes Kyle homesick for Florida as they head to GDG’s cave, when the kids hear a crashing sound. Something’s coming after them! They’re in for another nasty surprise when they reach the cave and a swarm of bats flies out. Kyle almost gets separated from Annie, but at least they’re able to find GDG is still okay. And that’s when they hear the sound outside the cave.
Jake has to get on his knees to crawl into the cave, explaining he followed Kyle and Annie. He says he needed to know if the turkey brought to class was the same turkey that attacked him. Jake admits he felt they weren’t the same, because GDG’s eyes were nicer and far kinder than the eyes Frankenturkey has. For once, Jake actually seems humbled, but the moment’s ruined when Frankenturkey shows up!
Frankenturkey blocks the entrance to the cave, burning wings outstretched, and advances on the siblings, Jake, Trouble, and GDG. Kyle was horrified to see Frankenturkey’s claws had become longer and looked like metal. They even popped out like switchblades! Annie is ordered to run while she can, so Kyle and Jake can hold Frankenturkey off. Well, Kyle will. Jake’s scared shitless. Annie is able to run past Frankenturkey before the bird can attack.
Jake is petrified and Kyle has to tell him not to yell so they don’t agitate the monster. But Jake’s not trying very hard.
“Jake, listen,” Kyle whispered. “Don’t wimp out. He knows you’re scared. That’s why he’s picking on you instead of me. That’s what bullies do.” He couldn’t help adding, “You ought to know.”
Kyle whispers to Jake they have to be ready to move when Frankenturkey gets closer. If they both slip by him, the bird will be too confused by them heading in different directions. It’ll give them a chance to escape. Kyle adds this’ll only work if Jake stops being a wimp.
The giant bird shook its head back and forth, splattering green pus from his warts all over the boys. Kyle gagged on the putrid smell.
On the count of three, Kyle orders all of them, including Trouble, to get ready to run. At three, the boys and the dog move it. Kyle desperately tries to dodge the knives on Frankenturkey’s feet while the smell of burning feathers overwhelms him. The evil bird squawks and screams as it tries to stop Kyle from escaping. The turkey lunges at Kyle when Trouble leaps forward and bites Frankenturkey’s leg, causing the monster to shriek in pain. As the monster bird hopped around on one leg and bled on the cave floor, Kyle and Trouble flee.
But wait! Where’s Jake? He’s still in the cave!
Kyle goes back to rescue his bully, and finds Jake backed into a crevice while Frankenturkey advanced on him. Kyle takes a deep breath and attacks Frankenturkey by butting the creature in the head. He then grabs Jake and drags him out of the cave as Frankenturkey squawks some more. The boys have to keep their heads down as Frankenturkey slashed the air around them with his claws. The boys make it out of the cave and into the woods, but Kyle gets turned around. He’s never been to THIS part of the forest before. Jake decides to stop being useless and knows where to go since he grew up in this area.
The rain and lightning start again as Frankenturkey gains on the boys. Jake has to stop because of a cramp, but Kyle offers to let Jake lean on him so they can keep moving. Finally the boys reach the Duggan house, and Kyle calls for Annie and their mom. Annie screams when she sees Frankenturkey. That’s when Kyle gets an idea and orders Annie to open the garage. He tells Annie to take Jake and Trouble and hide in the corner. Kyle then positions himself in the exact spot where Frankenturkey was brought to life, luring the creature into position and hoping for-
At that instant, a bolt of lightning streaked across the sky and crashed through the window. It shattered the glass and stabbed deep into the bird, lighting him up like a giant X ray. Electricity danced along the wire coat hangers, sizzling and popping. Frankenturkey blinked on and off like a neon sign.
By the time it’s all over, Annie tells Kyle to open his eyes. In the spot where Frankenturkey stood, all that remained was a golden-brown turkey cooked to perfection.
[Wing: I … I would not eat that. Is the sequel about them being possessed by Frankenturkey?]
The kids marveled at how delicious the turkey looked when GDG appeared. Kyle couldn’t believe they left the poor thing back in the cave. Annie hugs GDG and he nuzzles up against her, while Jake thanks Kyle for saving his life. Just then, Mr. and Mrs. Duggan drive into the garage and wonder what the fuck is going on. The parents were out looking for a supermarket that was still open. The siblings explain they couldn’t let their parents kill GDG, so they looked for a supermarket out of town where they managed to buy a replacement turkey that got cooked at the deli counter.
Well, they’re kind of telling the truth since they DID buy Frankenturkey to spare GDG.
The parents aren’t sure what to think, but seeing the cooked turkey they decide to believe the kids. And hey, they were getting attached to GDG as well. They can keep him as a pet after all!
While bringing the cooked turkey into the house, Kyle asks if they can have Jake’s family over. Jake would love to join the Duggans since his mom’s an awful cook and they only have turkey cold cuts on Thanksgiving anyway. And the kids don’t have to wear the costumes because they’re muddy and torn!
A nice dinner, new friends, and a new pet, this is the best Thanksgiving Kyle ever had!
No seriously, racism aside, I really love how affectionate GDG was with Kyle and Annie and that whole thing about the eyes. What also surprised me was how much Annie cared about Kyle and that she didn’t antagonize him or make his life miserable.
That whole end sequence was so cartoony, though.
I’m going to review the sequel for next year, but it goes in a very… different direction. It’s more a mix of “Pet Semetary” and “The Monkey’s Paw.”
So look, I’m not wishing a Happy Thanksgiving, but I do hope you guys manage to make it through whatever the hell your families are most likely forcing everyone to go through this year. Good luck.