Turkey Shoot (1981)
By: J.R. McNamara on October 17, 2005  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Umbrella Entertainment (Australia). All Regions, PAL. 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 2.0 Mono. 89 minutes
The Movie
Director: Brian Trenchard-Smith
Starring: Steve Railsback, Olivia Hussey, Lynda Stoner, Michael Craig, Noel Ferrier, Carmen Duncan
Screenplay: Jon George, Neill D. Hicks
Country: Australia
AKA: Escape 2000, Blood Camp Thatcher
In the late seventies and early eighties, Anthony I. Ginnane was Australia's answer to Roger Corman. He produced a series of genre films in Australia and New Zealand that included titles such as Dead Kids, Patrick, Thirst, The Survivor and Turkey Shoot.

Known in the USA as Escape 2000 (funny, as it is set in 1995) and in the UK as Blood Camp Thatcher, Turkey Shoot has some of the legends of 1980s Australian talent: Noel Ferrier, Carmen Duncan, Lynda Stoner (TV's Cop Shop and Prisoner), Roger Ward (Mad Max), and Gus Mercurio, with imports Steve Railsback (The Devil's Rejects) and Olivia Hussey rounding up the cast along with veteran Michael Craig (The Vault of Horror).

Turkey Shoot tells the story of a terrible future, where simply questioning a police officer's actions can land you in one of the state's terrible prison camps, as Chris Walters (Olivia Hussey) has found out. Joining two other new prisoners, subversive malcontent Paul Anders (Steve Railsback) and prostitute Rita Daniels (Lynda Stoner), she finds herself in the inescapable camp run by Warden Charles Thatcher (Michael Craig) and his villainous aide de camps Chief Guard Ritter (Roger Ward) and Red (Gus Mercurio). On occasion, Thatcher runs 'turkey shoots' where he releases weaponless prisoners into the forest surrounding the camp for various heavily armed politicians and socialites to track down and kill. The prisoners reward if they survive…freedom!!

Turkey Shoot was directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith (Dead End Drive Inn), and was an attempt to cash in on the popularity of the Mad Max films (dystopian future) and inescapable prisons (Escape from New York). Unfortunately, this film seems at times like something is missing, and there is. One of the financial backers pulled out at the last minute and the 15 pages of script had to be removed, and the set up featuring citizen unrest and a police state, became a small series of stock footage of rioting and civilian rebellion. This, and the fact that one of the female stars refused to do nudity, and Steve Railsback's intense method acting style which caused some cast conflict meant that the movie and the director suffered. Turkey Shoot went from being an exploitative social commentary to an over the top campy gore fest (remember most of the Australian cast are known for either soap operas or Grahame Kennedy's Blankety Blanks), but somehow still remains a great bit of moronic entertainment, and I mean that with great affection.
A really nice and clear 2.35:1 transfer.
Unspectacular Dolby 2.0 mono that just does the trick.
Extra Features
Blood and Thunder Memories is an interesting 23 minute 45 second series of interviews with Lynda Stoner, Roger Ward and Michael Craig. Filmed in 2003, this featurette is like a purging for these three stars of the sins of Turkey Shoot. Intercut with scenes from the movie they discuss all their opinions of the film and of other cast members.

A Good Soldier is a 9 minute 43 second interview with director Brian Trenchard- Smith. As with Blood and Thunder Memories, Trenchard Smith discusses the trials and tribulations of filming Turkey Shoot.

There is also a trailer for Turkey Shoot (2 minutes 40 seconds).

Umbrella Propaganda is four trailers of Umbrella releases, including Barry Mackenzie Holds His Own, Puberty Blues, The Kentucky Fried Movie and Rock 'n' Roll High School.
The Verdict
It is the 'car accident' factor that makes this movie appealing. You don't want to look, but you just have to. Turkey Shoot is a cult classic that does nothing for the reputation of the Australian film industry, but has to be seen never the less. Dumb fun!
Movie Score
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