‘Hunting is the sport… people are the prey!’
Turkey Shoot is a 1982 Australian dystopian futurist exploitation film with horror elements directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith (Night of the Demons 2; Leprechaun 3 and 4). The movie notable for its extreme violence and sadistic prison sequences. It has also been released as Escape 2000 and Blood Camp Thatcher.
The cast is a mix of international actors and Australian soap opera stars and television personalities including Steve Railsback, Olivia Hussey, Michael Craig and Carmen Duncan. Aussie composer Brian May provided the synth-soaked score.
AskMen.com labelled the film “Easily the cheapest and nastiest piece of mainstream celluloid ever stitched together by our [Australia’s] mad cinematic scientists.”
The film features plot elements of The Most Dangerous Game, but rather than having human targets hunted for sport by a madman on his own island, The Establishment offers the opportunity to rich adventurers with legal immunity.
In the future, anyone who does not conform with the totalitarian government is thrown into a ‘re-education’ camp: a nightmarish place where torture, sadism, rape and murder are carried out on the whim of the psychotic commanding officer, Charles Thatcher (Michael Craig). Steve Railsback, Lynda Stoner and Olivia Hussey star as three spirited individuals who have been newly interred in such a camp. But can they survive the horrific ‘Turkey Shoot’ – a periodically-held event in which the camp leaders hunt down and kill the inmates for sport?
Actress Lynda Stoner was apparently very demanding on the set. Due to her strong animal beliefs (she is a long term campaigner of numerous animal right causes), she refused to cut open a dead fish in one scene, forcing the special effects department to jerry-rig together a fake one as fast as possible for the scene.
Reviews [click links to read more]:
” …while not all of the carnage is convincing (the scene where a character’s hands are cut off is almost laughable), odds are you’ll be wincing through the entirety of the film’s final 45 minutes. Shot on-location in Queensland, Turkey Shoot, certainly isn’t Trenchard-Smith’s best work […] but it’s definitely his most vicious…” 2,500 Movies Challenge
“The end result is neither great art nor great schlock, but it’s rarely dull. To sum up, exploitation fans might enjoy the cheap thrills on display here, but most viewers will find Escape 2000‘s cocktail of goofy sci-fi and exploitation schlock too much to swallow.” AllMovie
” …Turkey Shoot is awesome. This serves as another great example in the long list of examples that highlight how amazing Brian Trenchard-Smith is as a director. There is a reason Quentin Tarantino loves this man. It’s because he’s awesome. You should love him too.” Bloody Disgusting
“Turkey Shoot has a number of interesting ideas, but it’s undercut by a languid pace (which is admittedly interrupted at times for some disturbing interstitials) and a kind of “not ready for prime time” atmosphere that hangs over the production, despite what are at least fitful attempts to deliver a decent design aesthetic and properly hyperbolic performances.” Blu-ray.com
“For all its cheesiness, Turkey Shoot stands up well as entertainment for a modern audience used to more sophisticated fare, and it’s clear now that this among the greatest successes of a frenetic movie-making period. Its roughness is well compensated for by its energy and it is surprisingly satisfying to watch.” Eye for Film
“Those enticed by the frowzy hype Turkey Shoot has generated over the years will be pleased to know it doesn’t disappoint: like a freak at a carnival, a screening of the film fills its venue with an inscrutable air of weirdness. Dazzling in its unerring perversity, this air deserves to be bottled and preserved so future schlock appreciators can unscrew the cap and take a whiff.” In Film Australia
“As thoughtful as the film seems to be at first, it’s at least as equally unconcerned with anything beyond trash movie thrills by the end. The heroes are stock action movie types, the villains are broadly-played, outlandish caricatures, and the violence is plentiful and even shocking: more than once I found myself surprised by how ruthless Smith is with dispensing cast members.” Oh, the Horror!
“It’s the villains who all seem to be having the fun here because the prisoners give some terribly wooden and lifeless performances […] Blood Camp Thatcher is a little one-dimensional and a little blunt with its intentions but it’s a trashy, highly entertaining ride…” Popcorn Pictures
“This futuristic splatter is clearly inspired by Mad Max but it’s a bloody and deliciously fun mess with machetes through the head, hands/toes lopped off, death(s) by arrow piercings, bisection via heavy machinery […] A befuddling but enjoyable outing.” The Terror Trap
“The makers of Turkey Shoot needed to come up with a commercially viable Ozploitationer, and succeeded. Mr. Trenchard-Smith may have wished he weren’t quite so deep in the action-gore groove, but he gave a bad situation a major effort and pulled the movie through.” Trailers from Hell
“The first half of Turkey Shoot is fairly decent. It kinda plays like a futuristic version of a Naziploitation movie and features a very nice Verhoeven-esque coed shower room scene. The climax is lively too and director Brian Trenchard-Smith sure knows how to film a mess of stuff blowing up.” The Video Vacuum
“Like a fine wine Turkey Shoot hasn’t properly aged yet and watching it before it peaks will only result in an uneven, and ultimately disappointing, experience. But give the film another decade, and Turkey Shoot could stand along any of the great, terrible trashy exploitation films in cinematic history. There is genius in this film, it just needs time to fester.” Where the Long Tail Ends
On 8 September 2015, Severin Films released Turkey Shoot in the US on Blu-ray HD-transfer, restored from the original vault negative, with the following features:
Not Quite Hollywood Out-Takes (1hr 17min) featuring Brian Trenchard Smith, Antony I. Ginnane, Steve Railsback, Lynda Stoner, Roger Ward, Gus Mercurio, Bob McCarron
The Ozploitation Renaissance (26 mins) Discussion with Director Brian Trenchard-Smith, Producer Antony I. Ginnane and Cinematographer Vincent Morton
Making of featurette (24 mins)
Audio Commentary with director Brian Trenchard-Smith
Escape 2000 Alternate Title Sequence
Blood Camp Thatcher Alternate Title Sequence
The British cinema release and the initial Guild Video VHS release suffered an incredible six minutes of cuts!
Buy DVD: Amazon.co.uk
Cast and characters:
Steve Railsback … Paul Anders
Olivia Hussey … Chris Walters
Michael Craig … Charles Thatcher
Carmen Duncan … Jennifer
Noel Ferrier … Secretary Mallory
Lynda Stoner … Rita Daniels
Roger Ward … Chief Guard Ritter
Michael Petrovitch … Tito
Gus Mercurio … Red
John Ley … Dodge
Bill Young … Griff
Steve Rackman … Alph
John Godden … Andy
Oriana Panozzo … Melinda
Fiona Maconaghie … Prisoner shot by Mallory (uncredited)
Kerry Rossall … Officer arresting Chris (uncredited)
Brian Trenchard-Smith … Officer arresting Paul (uncredited)
Aspect ratio: 2.35: 1