Monday, April 25, 2016

Turkey Shoot - The 1982 Dystopian Most Dangerous Game Exploitation Feature

Turkey Shoot, also known as Escape 2000 in the US (not the film that MST3K did an episode on in season 7) and Blood Camp Thatcher in the UK, is an explosive not-to-subtle excuse for a gore fest, disguised as an Orwellian drama. Not to say that this isn’t fun in the same way Ilsa She-Wolf of the SS is fun.
In the future people that society categorizes as “deviants” are rounded up into prison camps to be reeducated. This particular camp is so successful, because they pay almost no attention to the attrition rate. As such deaths are colorful and plenty and happily shown on the screen, usually performed by the warden’s burly sergeant, Ritter.
As the Warden Thatcher recites: “One of you has been foolish enough to try to leave us before his re-education was completed. In my view this is treason, and will be treated as such. You will remember our motto: 'Freedom is obedience, obedience is work, work is life'. Well, now understand once and for all that the reverse is also true, 'Disobedience is treason, treason is a crime, crime will be punished!'”
The film follows a small group of camp prisoners, most notably Paul (Steve Railsback) – a pirate radio presenter who was caught broadcasting anti-dictatorship messages – and Chris (Olivia Hussey), a shy shop owner who was captured when a protestor randomly stumbled into her store and the police thought he was conspiring with her.
Now all of this fun camp frolics culminates in a manhunt ripped from The Most Dangerous Game, where the Warden to aid his political career, has gathered together a collection of rich and powerful people to have a game hunt. Each of them picks out a target, with an additional condemned man tossed in, and they are given a head start.
As with most 80s low budget schlock there is an over-the-top ridiculousness in the weapons and equipment of the hunters. While the warden contents himself with a rifle, the female sadist lesbian (it is hinted) uses explosive tipped arrows from her crossbow, while the portly politico seems to like setting things on fire, and the last, a flamboyant libertine, uses a futuristic jeep vehicle with a scoop on the front, a machinegun mounted on top, and a “mutant” creature-covered in hair and fangs, with green cat eyes- he found in a carnival.
Strange as this sounds, the film was partially subsidized by the Australian government under its 10BA Film Tax Exemption Scheme, which was designed to bring new business and industry into the country and succeeded for a while.  Still budget problems were a large part of the issue with this film as at the last minute film lost about $700,000 of it's $3,200,000 budget, two weeks before production began when a major investor backed out. This cut the film from 44 days to only 28 and the first 15 pages of the initial script were removed as well as a 4 page helicopter chase scene. 

Still Turkey Shoot is what you make of it. If you go in wanting to see Citizen Kane reborn, then you will sorely upset. If, however, you want to see a fun exploitation flick with some nice gruesome gore to chew on, then jump on it.
Full film is below. Enjoy and Caveat Emptor.