The faux scary movie trailer, starring comic Yisrael Campbell, shows what happens when the celebratory customs of a non-Jewish family observing Thanksgiving collide with those of a Jewish family marking the eight-day Festival of Lights — and it ain’t pretty. The gentiles are overcome with fright as the Jews force them to extend their giving thanks from a single day to eight days.
“The Sullivans’ Thanksgiving Day is about to become eight days of hell,” the voiceover announcer says as Campbell, his wife and many children show up at the door.
“Are you ghosts?” asks the teenage daughter of the non-Jewish family. “No, we’re the Rosenblums,” answers the Jewish mother in a sinister nasally voice.
The Shoot East production traffics in stereotypes, but knowingly so. As we see the Jewish mother wrapping a turkey leg in a napkin and putting it in her purse, we hear: “From the people who brought you ‘The Chrismukkah Massacre’ comes a tale of stereotypes gone completely out of control.”
“We are definitely playing to stereotypes, but we say so,” admits Gary Rudoren, a veteran Chicago and New York improv and comedy writer, actor and director currently living in Jerusalem, who co-wrote the script with Campbell and Micah Smith.
“We were going for an energetic take on this whole Thanksgivukkah thing, and we were looking to be a bit edgy and to do something outside of what others have been doing,” Rodoren explained. “We came up with the idea of a horror movie. It’s actually a parody of what a hack Hollywood writer would actually pitch.”
With two and a half more weeks to go before the two holidays, we are sure to see more creative takes on the once-in-70,000 year overlap. Fortunately, this parody has come out early — as a reminder not to take ourselves too seriously as we prepare the latkes with cranberry sauce and the Manischewitz-brined turkey.