Turkey Shoot (aka Blood Camp Thatcher aka Escape 2000)
d. Brian Trenchard-Smith / 1982 / Australia / 93 mins
Viewed on: Hard-Gore/Screen Entertainment (Region 2) DVD
This product of the great 10BA tax boom in Australian feature filmmaking is one I’ve been meaning to catch for years. It’s the kind of film that people much cooler than you recommend, raving about it being a cult classic and how ‘you just have to see it, it’s brilliant!’ Ordinarily, those sorts of comments tend to put me off, but I have been hankering to see this rather notorious Ozploitation classic for some time now. And even though I picked up a dirt cheap copy on the internet before Christmas, it wasn’t until yesterday that I had a chance to watch it. And you know what? It aint half bad.
I kind of expect to be let down by anything burdened with the tag ‘cult’, figuring that there is usually a reason that no one watches the kind of crap that nerds pay $50 for on VHS because it’s never seen a DVD release (not the case here, of course, but you get my drift). Obviously there’s plenty of reasons to watch a ‘cult’ film, but I guess I was expecting Turkey Shoot to be, well, a bit of a Turkey. But I was wrong. Sure it’s cheesy, and the narrative is more than a bit patchy, and the complete lack of coda is a tad baffling, but it’s really nicely shot. And the gore is gory enough without being over the top and the nudity is, shock horror, almost in context!
Narrative wise, it’s a rather sadistic portrait of a distinctly Orwellian dystopia in which three ‘social deviants’ are the latest addition to Charles Thatcher’s brutal behaviour modification camp. For a bit of sport, Thatcher decides to invite a few buddies along for a hunt and the three newcomers are let loose along with two other inmates with the promise of freedom if they can last until sundown. No prizes for guessing what happens next, but imagine a less sophisticated Battle Royale and you’d be on the right track.
Despite Quentin Tarantino ordaining Brian Trenchard-Smith as one of his favourite directors, I really do have a hankering to see more Trenchard-Smith films all of a sudden. I might even watch BMX Bandits again.
Watch the Turkey Shoot trailer:
Or watch the whole damn thing: