Turkey Shoot  movie

Year: 1973

Duration: 01:27:35

Directed by: Brian Trenchard

Actors: Steve Railsback, Olivia Hussey, Michael Craig, Carmen Duncan, Noel Ferrier, Lynda Stoner

Language: English

Country: Australia

Also known as: Blood Camp Thatcher, Escape 2000, Insel der Verdammten, Les traqués de l’an 2000

Description: In the fictional country of the military dictatorship of unreliable and simply sympathizers re-educated in special camps, turning into obedient slaves. “Embarkation” places is not enough, but the problem sadistic bosses of one of the IUT solved very easily.

For dignitaries coming to rest, arrange so-called hunting turkeys, there are targets in the prisoners. A deadly game where the hunters could use all kinds of weapons and firearms, was for them safe until the role of the “turkey” is not appointed beauty and courageous Chris Paul Anders …

Review: A wonderfully wild Aussie action-thriller set in a not-too-distant future, “Turkey Shoot“, or “Escape 2000” as it’s also known, gives us yet another variation on that well-worn “Most Dangerous Game” type plot. A totalitarian government rounds up *anybody* it considers to be a problem and imprisons them in “re-education” camps. A small group of these “deviants” – Paul (a very engaging Steve Railsback), Chris (the lovely Olivia Hussey from Black Christmas), Rita (Lynda Stoner), Dodge (John Ley), and Griff (Bill Young) are let loose to participate in a “hunt” with the promise that they earn their freedom if they survive until sundown.

The plot and characters may be familiar, but it’s still an energetic and exciting piece of escapism. It’s well acted, with entertaining heroes and villains. Michael Craig is the diabolical head baddie, but often gets overshadowed by the fun malevolence of sadistic flunky Ritter (Roger Ward, who was Mel Gibsons’ boss in “Mad Max”) and kinky nastiness of Jennifer (alluring Carmen Duncan). It’s directed with gusto by Brian Trenchard-Smith and moves at an excellent pace. The Australian setting is a bonus; the impressive scenery is well photographed by John R. McLean and the music of composer Brian May is quite rousing.

Of course, this really can’t be taken all that seriously. A case in point is the odd yet amusing addition of a “mutated” character named Alph and played by Steve Rackman, in low-tech werewolf-like makeup. He feasts on one characters’ little toe in one enjoyably twisted moment. The character doesn’t really add anything but is such a goofy, bizarre touch that it just adds to the camp appeal.

There’s violence aplenty so seeing this in its full-length uncut version is advisable. Highlights are a machete to the head, a body cut in half, a body obliterated by machine gun fire, and the like. There’s even a nice little dose of nudity. Winning ingredients for an infectious dose of trash, albeit trash with seemingly something to say about where society may have been heading in 1982.

If you haven’t seen it, I recommend checking it out. It’s a real hoot of a film.

Review #2: The film starts w/some real life footage of riots during the credit sequence, which I guess is supposed to explain the state of the world in 1995 (the future in which this film takes place). Cut to a few folks being rounded up in a patty wagon and shipped off to a prison camp where they are to be “adjusted” to society’s standards, i.e. beaten and broken down. Our hero, Paul, is played by Steve Railsback (never heard of him, but he comes off as a poor man’s Steve McQueen) and he gets sent to the camp for being a rebel (he ran a pirate radio station). Actually Paul is a repeat offender and as escaped prison camps before–this time he is sent to the harshest camp of them all, run by the ruthless, Charles Thatcher (excellently played by Michael Craig). Along with Paul is an innocent women, named Chris (Olivia Hussey), who just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and a women accused of prostitution, Jennifer (Carmen Duncan). Inside they meet the evil prison guards, the two main guards played with relish by Roger Ward (MAD MAX) and Gus Mercurio (THE BLUE LAGOON). Ward is Chief Guard Ritter and his character is a highlight of the film–so much so that he was dominate on the movie poster for the film released in the UK. The scene where Ritter beats a very smaller woman to death for forgetting the words to the prison’s “anthem” and a scene where an escapee is set on fire are two examples of the prison guards cruelty in the first half of the film.

Thatcher, who just happens to be a snobby white-wealthy-fat-cat-game-hunter with white-wealthy-fat-cat-game-hunter friends–decides to have a “turkey shoot”, using some of the prisoners as game. Thatcher and his 3 friends (an old fat perv, a psychotic woman and an eccentric collector of the exotic), without hesitation, gleefully choose their prisoner of choice and the hunt is set in motion. Of course, Paul, Chris and Jennifer are chosen, along with another prisoner named, Dodge (John Ley/MAD MAX)–who is an asshole and only part of the film so we can see his character killed and not care, but in fact enjoy his death (sick yes, but that’s the way I like it!). Also added to the hunt is another prisoner, who was to be executed, but added to the hunt for fun (a mistake as he’s very crafty). The prisoners are given ID cards and are told they are now “free” (if they escape that is) and are given a 3 hour head start, but Thatcher has no expectations of any of the prisoners surviving, but then he forgot he was dealing with Steve Railsback!!…wait who? Oh yeah, the star.

Once the “hunt” portion of the film starts, it’s non-stop excitement. Think PREDATOR but w/4 Predators, but they’re humans, not aliens and you’ll get a pretty good grasp of the film. The film is high camp–which can throw people off if they’re expecting a serious film. One of the hunters has a henchman named, Alph–a beast-man that he picked up at a freak show–now if that doesn’t clue you in on what type of movie this is, you’re hopeless. The film has a rather serious tone up until the introduction of Alph and at that point I was like, “Ooooooh! Okay, I got cha’–it’s THAT kind of movie.”–at that point I grabbed me a bowl of popcorn, settled into my recliner and waited for the ride to begin. Alph, by the way, is awesome.

This movie doesn’t disappoint–great gore, great characters, lots of action, some tits thrown in for good measure, hammy acting, a cool synth score (standard for the era) and all sorts of weaponry and explosions–it’s a beautiful thing! I can’t say Steve Railsback is much of an action star–the proof being he didn’t go on to ‘be’ an action star (or much of a star at all) after the film. Olivia Hussey’s character was a tad annoying in that “I’m just a timid lady–help me!” kind of way. On the bonus featurette on the DVD it’s said by some other members of the cast that she wasn’t very comfortable w/her role and it shows.

Speaking of the bonus featurette, it features at length discussions with Roger Ward, Michael Craig and Carmen Duncan and it’s pretty interesting. Duncan comes off as kind of a snobby bitch, but Ward and Craig seem cool with the film–accepting the fact that it’s a mindless exploitation film, where as Duncan has kind of a high and mighty attitude towards the film. All three talk about life on the set and their thoughts on their characters and other members of the cast. There’s also a separate interview with director, Brian Trenchard-Smith, who also seems to accept the film for what it is. He’s was/is a “working” director and he did the best with the budget he had and the time he was allowed to do it and still made an entertaining film…mindless and violent, but entertaining none the less!

Anyone with an interest in Australian Exploitation films should watch this.



Turkey Shoot 1982