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Australia 1980
Directed by
Brian Trenchard-Smith
93 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
David Michael Brown
4 stars

Turkey Shoot

Synopsis: Set in the a future not too far away, Paul Anders, Chris Walters and Rita Daniels are taken prisoner for defending their rights against a militant dictatorship. Taken to detention centre Camp 47, the trio of so-called deviants soon realise that their only escape is to take part in evil warden Thatcher’s turkey shoot, a hunt where humans become the prey for a select group of nouveaux riche. Armed only with a head start, it’s a race to the death as the prey are pursued with a raft of high calibre weapons and a bizarre mutant called Alf.

An ultra violent, camp revision of the classic The Most Dangerous Game, Turkey Shoot is a lurid exploitation film that makes no apologies for what it is, a Z-grade action movie that delivers the shoddy goods. After the opening credit sequence that parallels the totalitarian world of Orwell's '1984' embellished by a violent youth uprising it’s downhill all the way as on comes the trash and out goes the political allegory. If director Brian Trenchard-Smith had had his way it would be a very different film but budgetary cutbacks reduced it to the rip-roaring actioner we have today; even if some of the director’s political intent is still visible on the walls of Camp 47, Re-education and Behaviour Centre: ‘Your stay here will make you an asset to society.’

Listening to the cast and crew today, many seem embarrassed at this blot on their C.V. This is a shame as on its own merits, Turkey Shoot is great fun. Star of the cult classic The Stunt Man Steven Railsback is adequate as an action hero and the girls, Olivia Hussey and Lynda Stoner, are merely there to look good in underwritten roles. More joy is to be had in the over-played villains: Michael Craig is charismatic as the evil Thatcher, Roger Ward is immense as the sadistic guard, Ritter, and the demented group of hunters who pursue our heroes attack their roles with relish. A special mention must be made of Alf, a disturbing, toe-chewing creature who growls his way through the movie in a startling manner with no real explanation for his existence.

In the UK Turkey Shoot was renamed to tie in with a nation’s hatred of the Conservative government helmed by its most infamous Prime Minister. With its new moniker, Blood Camp Thatcher, the film, ironically, was shorn by the censors of its numerous scenes of nudity and violence but became a cult hit nevertheless thanks to its relentless pace and non-stop action. Entertaining in the extreme, it’s a must see for any Ozploitation connoisseur. Turkey Shoot is Australian trash at its finest.




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