And now, Scary-Crayon presents...
The Five SCARIEST 49¢ Thanksgiving Cards
by: Wes

Before we even get into the cards themselves, there's something even more scary about this piece: inflation. Until now, all of our articles had been about 39¢ cards, but the signs that I encountered during my most recent visit to the card shop revealed that -- like the heroes of Altered Beast fwom deah gwaves and the once-buried corpses that are now coming to get you, Barbra -- the price of terror has risen! And not by mere pennies or a nickel, either, but by a whole freaking dime! Considering that I can buy a two-pound bag of frozen french fries for a dollar, that's like... 0.2 pounds' worth of frozen french fries. Criminal! And seeing as how $1 can also get you a four-pack of frozen chicken patties, a dime would net you more than enough chicken to start your own necromantic voodoo ritual. Granted, that much chicken would only allow you to raise something about the size of a hamster from the dead, but still. You should be outraged.

That said, you might have noted that this article is being posted exactly one week after the Thanksgiving holiday. That's in part because I simply wasn't able to get to it in time, but also because what you will find below is so horrific that, had you seen it before November 23, 2006, your entire Thanksgiving would have been totally and irredeemably ruined. No amount of familial communion or green bean casserole would have been able to alleviate your fears regarding the scheming turkey hordes or the strangeness that abounds during this annual November celebration of gluttony. I mean, the title of the article says it all -- there are some very scary things to come in this piece! Things much more terrifying than frozen dollar store french fries and reanimated hamsters. That said, I'm pretty sure folks with heart conditions and pregnant women (et cetera) can safely read this article, but if you have a heart condition or are pregnant (et cetera) and something decidedly unpleasant happens to you while reading this article, I will not be held accountable. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

The 5th SCARIEST 49¢ Thanksgiving Card:

Nothing scary here, right?WRONG.

Okay. I admit that, in the traditional sense of the word, there is nothing scary about this card. I mean, a smug talking turkey standing on a wooden pedestal and bragging about people being able to gorge themselves with reckless abandon during the holidays -- even when said people are gorging themselves on members of his species -- is not at all scary or even unsettling, right? I suppose you don't find the idea of a giant wooden horse filled with menacing enemy soldiers to be the least bit daunting, either, because this card clearly exemplifies the kind of cunning that Odysseus employed to bring about the downfall of Troy. Look closer.

Here, we have a genetically engineered superturkey -- because regular turkeys don't fucking talk -- praising the virtues of gorging oneself and not feeling like a turkey afterwards. Given that SmartTurkey (ST) here apparently doesn't think too highly of "feeling like a turkey" despite being a turkey himself, the statement might lead you to believe that he in fact identifies more closely with humans and looks down upon his turkey brethren. Even if that were the case, however, he is also probably smart enough to know that he will never be safe so long as greedy humans live -- least of all around Thanksgiving. Therefore, something more sinister must be afoot.

My guess? ST was the sole successful product in an ongoing PETA research initiative intended to imbue turkeys with superhuman intellects. The other turkeys, however, remained normal... except for a curious side-effect that left their flesh ten thousand times more poisonous than the most potent toxin currently known to man. This fiendish fowl knows full well, then, that eating like a pig on Thanksgiving won't make you feel like a turkey -- but it will make you feel so sick that within three nanoseconds of ingesting the poisoned turkeys' flesh you will retch so violently that when you finish you will be little more than a trail of skin and sodden clothes and stinking organ sludge leading right up to your own stripped skeleton fifteen feet away. And now you see why I waited until after the holiday to post this piece -- would you really have been able to enjoy your turkey dinner with the knowledge that ST is on the loose, plotting your gruesome demise with his every conscious thought? I think not.

The 4th SCARIEST 49¢ Thanksgiving Card:

More uncharacteristically intelligent turkeys.Exactly why should that make me happy?

Like the previous card, this one features turkeys that are clearly more intelligent than we have been led to believe. Conventional wisdom states that turkeys will stare up at the sky during a rainstorm until they are drowned by the downpour, whereas these birds are obviously smart enough not only to know that they are in danger during Thanksgiving time, but to attempt to fool their slaughterer by mimicking the sound of another animal that is somewhat less likely to be preyed upon en masse during the holiday season. What makes this card scarier than the last one, then? Well, whereas the danger in the previous card stemmed primarily from a single turkey -- likely the product of genetic experimentation -- the much larger sample of intelligent turkeys depicted here suggests that perhaps their newfound intelligence is the result of something more natural: evolution. However, it must be noted that despite being incredibly intelligent for turkeys, these creatures are still far from possessing the brainpower necessary to successfully subvert the human race. They may have learned to mimic cows, but they haven't even bothered to change their appearance -- of course the farmer man isn't going to be fooled! So the real danger is likely tens or even hundreds or thousands of years in the future. Like global warming and the distant threat of the polar ice caps melting, that just ain't gonna frighten most people.

But it's not these turkeys that you should be worried about. It's the ones that you can't see -- the wild turkeys -- that should scare you. Domesticated turkeys may not be all that bright, but wild turkeys are renowned for their agility and cunning. So, assuming that evolution produces comparable increases in intelligence in both domesticated and wild turkeys, we're looking at an entire species of markedly intelligent birds that are ubiquitous in the United States and may or may not be holding a grudge concerning the rampant slaughter of their genetic cousins during the holiday season. But oh! It's worse than that. Recall that turkeys are descended from one of the most fearsome and widely known dinosaurs: Velociraptor. Remember how scary it was in Jurassic Park when those raptors chased those idiot kids around the kitchen, all the while making that horrible clicking sound as they clacked their claws on the floor? Remember that, at the end of the first film (ignore the second movie; there's no fucking way a little girl would be able to kick a raptor without her leg getting torn off and gobbled up in the process) the humans were only saved because kind Mr. Tyrannosaurus Rex took pity on them? Well, my friends, the T-Rex went extinct a long time ago. When the new raptors come to roost and draw upon their terrifying genetic memory to spread serious carnage, I'm afraid that we'll be on our own.

I'm almost certain that you're protesting right now, saying something about how real Velociraptors (as opposed to Utahraptors) weren't the six-foot giants depicted in the Jurassic Park films, but were instead a diminutive three feet tall, much like wild turkeys today. Well, they might have been relatively little guys that only had 2.6" claws (only? 2.6" is pretty fucking long for a claw), but human beings lack the armored hide of Ankylosaurus. If a thing that size decided to jump at a man from thirty feet away and start slashing at him with its talons -- and in a gang to boot -- I'd bet money that he'd be likely to have a pretty lousy afternoon... and if our assumptions are correct and the image on this card is any indication of what is to come on the evolutionary horizon, the human race may be in for a whole heaping lot of decidedly unpleasant days. After all, those things can open doors.

The 3rd SCARIEST 49¢ Thanksgiving Card:

What?Sweetheart, sweetheart, sweetheart!

There are a whole bunch of reasons that this card is potentially scary -- the least of which is that it's just fucking weird. I mean, we've got two rodents, inexplicably dressed in Sunday school clothes, gorging themselves on strawberries and cake while hiding from a creepy woman with three chins who looks vaguely like a cross between Rowan Atkinson and Alfred Hitchcock and even more like some actor whose name and roles completely escape me at the moment. (EDIT: Larry Drake. LARRY DRAKE! The actor in question is Larry Drake, whom I think I remember from the Darkman films and several of his numerous assorted televised appearances. Thanks for the info, Liv!) Nevertheless, whether it's the freaky lady's intention to smash those churchgoing mice flat with her trusty flyswatter or the fact that the vermin are wearing clothes or the totally unnecessary repetition of the word "sweetheart" in the card's text, there's something about this one that really rubs me the wrong way. Perhaps it's because, given the way that the mice's outfits match the cookie jar and the inability of mice to make their own clothes, I suspect that the little ones are actually this woman's pets, but she's clearly out to kill them. And maybe I'm stretching things a bit, but the thought of loved ones going nuts and attempting to murder each other over the holidays strikes me as being pretty scary indeed. Or not. That lady is still way scary-looking, though.

The 2nd SCARIEST 49¢ Thanksgiving Card:


Now we're talking! This is the kind of Thanksgiving card that I might create. On the cover, we've got an innocent picture of blueberries and pumpkins and pears and squash, but the gnarled appearance of the squash (I think that's squash, anyway) and the deep blacks and ripped frame of the image are obviously evocative of rot and decay. The text is ostensibly positive, except it's exceedingly sparse and printed in a markedly creepy font that makes one question the true intention behind the words. It's the kind of Thanksgiving card that Jonathan Harker might expect to receive from Count Dracula -- and not Bela Lugosi's relatively suave portrayal or the cultured, menacing Christopher Lee version, but Max Schreck's shrunken and ratlike Graf Orlok from F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu. It's a card that begs to be taped to a dusty five-year-old fruitcake and delivered with a sinister grin to neighbors whom you really, really cannot stand. It's a card that inarguably oozes malice and enmity, making it the most overtly scary card that we've seen thus far. Except it doesn't scare me, because I absolutely adore it.

The SCARIEST 49¢ Thanksgiving Card:

evil squirrel on the looseAnd oh yeah, happy Thanksgiving, Grandpa!

Despite the more pronounced menace of the previous card, however, I've got to give the nod to this one. It's a shame, because the text on the interior of the card is actually quite touching. Like many 39¢ 49¢ cards, the meter of the rhyme is totally fucked up, but the otherwise positive message about grandfathers almost makes me wish both of mine weren't dead and buried, because I might have liked to send them copies of this card. Yet they probably wouldn't have bothered to open it, because they would likely have looked at the cover and audibly muttered, "What. the. fuck?" I mean, that is one seriously vicious-looking squirrel, and, unless the card means to imply that the squirrel is a loving grandfather, it has absolutely nothing to do with the message of the card, let alone the Thanksgiving holiday. It's just there, staring into your soul with its beady little eyes, about to bite into a nut that, unbeknownst to you, sprang from a tree that derives its nourishment from the buried corpses of all of the people that this bushy-tailed monstrosity has killed during its thousand-year lifespan. I'd really like to meet the person who designed this card so that he could explain exactly what it has to do with grandfathers or the sharing of love or Thanksgiving. If, during a holiday dinner as a child, that person was molested by his grandpa in the kitchen while fetching the pumpkin pie for dessert, we might finally be able to make sense of this thing.

That about does it for the Thanksgiving card review -- we hope that you've enjoyed reading our analyses of the five SCARIEST 49¢ greetings that the 2006 November holiday season had to offer. We're a bit late to wish you a happy Thanksgiving, but we hope that your upcoming winter holiday of choice is a swell one! Stay warm, enjoy a slice of pumpkin pie, and try not to think about the intelligent turkey uprising or the horrible beady-eyed tree rats creeping about just outside your window. After all, 'tis the season to be jolly... not terrified out of your wits. ;)

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