Action, Science Fiction

Turkey Shoot (1982)

Comments Off on Turkey Shoot (1982) 25 January 2016


Studio: Severin

Theatrical Release: October 14, 1982 (Australia) 

Blu Ray Release: September 22, 2015

Director: Brian Trenchard-Smith

Not Rated

Review by James Klein

Released in the USA as Escape 2000, this is what I like to call a “White Castle film”. There is nothing nutricious at all but goddamn it tastes good. That’s the best way I can describe what Turkey Shoot is like; it’s a silly, cheap, mindless exploitation film but the movie is just a load of fun and always entertaining, one can’t help but forgive it’s short comings.

Set in the not too distant future, the world is over run by a fascist government in a totalitarian world where citizens who don’t obey their government are “deviants” and sent to concentration camps for what they call as “behavior modification”. Once they accept their government and new way of life, they are free to leave. The film opens up with three prisoners being sent to a camp lead by Anders (Steve Railsback, whose never seen scenery he was afraid to chew) who aids newcomer Walters (Olivia Hussey, playing the same meek and frightened role she always plays) in prison life.

The warden of the camp, Thatcher (Michael Craig, best known to genre audiences from being in Vault of Horror) devises a game where he and a few fellow friends decide to make sport of the prisoners and offers them a chance to leave the camp while being hunted. They are given 24 hours to make it out alive and if they aren’t dead by then, they are free to go. So the first half of the movie is a prison film where the second half of the movie is a Most Dangerous Game rip-off.

Turkey Shoot is pure comic book silliness and doesn’t ever take itself too seriously. There are some strange moments like a wolfman ripping off and eating a guy’s toe, leaving the viewer wondering what the fuck did they just see. The campiness is there but thankfully it doesn’t go too over the top where the movie evolves into a Troma movie, knowing it is a joke. If anything, the film goes by too fast and never sets up a more clearer look into the world where these characters must live or why these characters are sent to the camp. The script is more of a blue print to set up the action sequences, some of which involve limbs being hacked off, characters chopped in half and one hunter being shot by a machine gun where he actually explodes. The film was edited down to an R rating and released in the U.S. in 1983 under the title Escape 2000, but here Severin has released the fully uncut version with all the gore intact. Honestly, I may be making the movie sound more brutal than it really is as Turkey Shoot is much more tame compared to what is on television nowadays (anyone ever see The Walking Dead?).

Severin’s blu ray imports all of the special features that were on the old DVD such as the audio commentary by the soft spoken Brian Trenchard-Smith who points out the many flaws that he finds with the film after all these years, a separate interview with the director, a brief featurette with some of the actors who admit they didn’t like working on the film due to budget constraints and also Railsback love for being ‘method’, and the Escape 2000 alternate opening which is the same opening but with a different title. There is now a theatrical trailer, a 30 minute retrospect on Ozploitation films, and more interviews with the cast (this time including Railsback). Needless to say Severin once again goes out of their way in giving fans as many special features as possible for such a small cult film. The picture looks great and the transfer is pretty astonishing given the films age. There is however some print damage that pops up if one has an eagle eye. The 2.0 DTS track sounds fine although I was hoping for a 5.1 option.

If you are a fan of exploitation films or cheap science fiction movies, Turkey Shoot may be worth the hunt.

Movie Rating: ★★★½☆

Blu Ray Rating: ★★★★☆

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