Thanksgiving might be over, but the scrumptious scent of Eli Roth’s “Thanksgiving” still lingers over the holiday horror season.

The director’s murderous pilgrim slasher — set in Plymouth, Massachusetts the year after a violent Black Friday trampling leaves three dead on the floor of a department store and puts a masked killer on the path to revenge — invaded our real-world theaters on November 17. It’s doing well with critics and audiences alike, who have been gorging on its themed gore and delighting in its snappy satire and inventive use of corncob holders as a victorious reunion for the “Cabin Fever” director and the horror genre.

Slasher fans have quickly accepted the rampage of the mysterious “John Carver” as a success by all important metrics (it’s doing well at the box office and on Rotten Tomatoes), but the villain’s Thanksgiving-timed arrival in theaters has been a longtime coming for Roth. The feature-length horror flick is the culmination of more than 30 years of nightmarish daydreaming between the director and screenwriter Jeff Rendell, who conceived the idea together as teenagers. It was first realized as a fake trailer in Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s “Grindhouse” in 2007, but would stall at various stages of development over the decade-plus to come.

The meal of a movie was worth the wait. “Thanksgiving” is Roth’s eighth feature film, and his first true horror outing since “Knock Knock” with Keanu Reeves in 2015. The filmmaker released two projects in 2018: the Bruce Willis-starring action revenge movie, “Death Wish,” and the Jack Black and Cate Blanchett-starring fantasy film, “The House with a Clock in Its Walls.” Before that, Roth broke into Hollywood closing out TIFF’s midnight programming with “Cabin Fever” in 2002. He’d follow the successful horror debut up with a streak of genre films, including “Hostel” (2005), “Hostel: Part II” (2007), and “The Green Inferno” (2013).

Looking back on Roth’s career, IndieWire has ranked every feature narrative film Roth has directed. He’s written and produced others, including 2012’s “Aftershock” and 2016’s “Cabin Fever” reboot, as well as acted — see “Inglourious Basterds.” Roth’s shark documentary “Fin” from 2021 has been excluded.

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