Director Eli Roth is a well-known name in the horror genre, creating popular films like Cabin Fever (2002), Hostel (2005), The Green Inferno (2013), and Knock Knock (2015). With his latest release of his holiday horror film Thanksgiving (2023) garnering raving reviews, he’s announced he’s been thinking of the next holidays to put a frightening twist on. In a recent interview with CinePOP, Roth revealed that he believes the Easter Bunny could make for an exciting horror villain. This idea presents a compelling twist on the beloved holiday character, transforming the traditionally adorable mascot into a figure of terror.
He told CinePOP, “I had such a great time with Thanksgiving it’s hard to think of another one, but I do feel like there’s a great killer Easter bunny movie out there.” So, will he be the one to take the idea and turn it into another festive film?
Roth’s recent success with Thanksgiving has proven that there is still a significant audience for holiday-themed horror movies. As Roth mentioned in the interview, several holidays have been covered by directors before. While most are understandably centered around Halloween, a few notable mentions include My Bloody Valentine (2009), Krampus (2015), Black Christmas (1974), and even April Fool’s Day (1986). However, there’s plenty of room for more mainstream holiday horror, and if anybody can take a bright and cheerful holiday and turn it into a terrifying slasher flick, Roth is the man for the job.
The Potential of an Easter Horror Film
The concept of an Easter horror film is not entirely new. Low-budget slashers like Beasterday (2014), Easter Bunny Massacre (2021), and Bunnyman Massacre (2022) are available to watch, though they tend to be cheesier than what audiences favor in popular horror cinema. Roth’s innovative talents and ability to produce a high-budget Easter Bunny horror movie could potentially fill this gap, providing audiences with a fresh and thrilling take on the Easter holiday.
Roth’s track record with Thanksgiving suggests he could successfully execute this concept. Thanksgiving references real horror classics and a few of the genre’s guilty pleasures. If Roth were to direct an Easter-themed horror movie, it would likely contain similar ties that fit the theme. If he were to create more festive horror films, it could open up a whole new world in the genre. There are plenty of holidays that prominent directors have yet to explore, like Tax Day, which would essentially write itself. Still, there are nearly limitless ways to connect even the most popular holidays to various horror sub-genres and add fresh new elements.
Currently, there’s no official announcement that we’ll see a Roth-directed Easter horror film. Thankfully, we get to look forward to Thanksgiving 2, which is expected to be a 2025 release around the holiday.
About Eli Roth’s ‘Thanksgiving’ Film
Directors Jeff Rendell and Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving was released in theaters on November 17, 2023, followed by a digital platform release on December 19, 2023. The idea originated from a 2007 Grindhouse parody trailer, part of a collection of exploitation movies and trailers by Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. The trailer featured a very 80s-style slasher flick revolving around the Thanksgiving holiday. The idea was so well-received by fans that they demanded a full-length feature of the faux film. So, 16 years later, Roth finally made the movie a reality.
“I want the audience cackling and hiding their eyes, going, ‘I can’t believe they’re doing this! How much farther is this going to go?!’ And when I’m shooting it, I shoot everything.” He told Polygon. Those who’ve seen it would likely agree he did just that.
The tongue-in-cheek slasher slasher flick takes place in a small Massachusetts town that a killer terrorizes. As you may have guessed, the villain appears around the Thanksgiving holiday. A local superstore, RightMart, has a massive Black Friday sale, causing riots to ensue and resulting in multiple deaths. A year later, the survivors are targeted by a mysterious figure dressed in black and wearing a John Carver mask. Those who were a part of the tragedy include high schoolers Gabby Addison Rae), Jessica (Nell Veralaque), Yulia (Jenna Warren), Scuba (Gabriel Davenport), store owner (Rick Hoffman) and his wife Kathleen (Karen Cliche), and customers who were spotted on security footage partaking in the violence, though it was deleted. Sherrif Eric Newton (Patrick Dempsy) begins investigating the murders, though Jessica is the one who ultimately starts to solve the mystery. Although several suspects come to light, the true murderer may shock you.
Overall, it was well-received, with fans seemingly appreciating the horror elements and bits of humor throughout the film. It grossed $45.8 million worldwide, making it one of the most profitable holiday horror movies to date.