Turkey Shoot

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Turkeyshoot 7786.jpg

"Sir, I am a deviant! The lowest form of life on Earth! The Re-education and Behaviour Modification Centre is my salvation!"

Also known as Escape 2000 (in the US) or Blood Camp Thatcher (in the UK), this Cult Classic 1982 Australian 'ozploitation' sci-fi action film was directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith, of BMX Bandits, Dead End Drive-In, The Man from Hong Kong and Leprechaun 4 fame.

The plot of the film is fairly archetypal: it's Twenty Minutes Into the Future and Australia is controlled by a fascist totalitarian government. For the slightest percieved offenses, "deviants" are sent to prison camps to be subjected to reformative torture. The new arrivals at Re-Ed Camp 47 are Chris Walters (Olivia Hussey), a shopkeeper accused of helping a rebel; Rita Daniels (Lynda Stoner), a suspected sex worker; and Paul Anders (Steve Railsback), a political dissident who has escaped from several other camps. After suffering brutal treatment at the hands of Camp Master Charles Thatcher (Michael Craig) and his chief enforcer, Ritter (Roger Ward), the prisoners accept a deadly deal. They will be human prey in a 'turkey shoot' Thatcher has organised for Secretary Mallory (Noel Ferrier), and fellow VIPs Jennifer (Carmen Duncan) and Tito (Michael Petrovich). If they can evade the heavily armed guests in the surrounding jungle until sundown, Chris, Rita and Paul will be set free, or so Thatcher claims...

The film is a charmingly cheesy, campy, over-the-top B-Movie, that can be a lot of fun if you acknowledge it for what it is and don't think too hard about it. Recommended for anyone interested in Australian cinema, or who enjoyed Mad Max. Quentin Tarantino has cited both the film and its director as among his favorites.

Tropes used in Turkey Shoot include:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Jennifer's crossbow bolts, with explosive and pyrotechnic heads.
  • Always Save the Girl: Averted when Chris finds that Griff has got his hands on a rifle and tries to hook up with him. Griff refuses as he figures they're all dead anyway and plans on killing as many hunters as he can. Of course the hero runs into a burning canefield to save Final Girl Chris, so it's not completely averted.
  • Annoying Arrows: Averted with Jennifer's quarrels as Griff finds out. She'd mentioned earlier that the arrowheads were designed to be very difficult to tear out.
  • Asshole Victim: Apart from the bad guys there's prison trustee Dodge, who appears to think the hunt (at least in his case) is a ruse to release him for his loyalty. He discovers otherwise.
  • Beard of Evil: Tito. Ritter naturally is a case of Bald of Evil.
  • Beast Man with Animal Eyes: Former circus freak Alph, whom Tito uses as an attack dog.
  • Blind Without'Em: Ritter removes Dodge's glasses before making him run. He should have known then and there he was being set up to be killed.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Griff with his L2A1 rifle in the shootout with Thatcher. In fairness the actor is shown fiddling with the magazine pretending he's about to insert a new one, so he was clearly aware of this trope.
  • The Baroness / Psycho Lesbian: Jennifer. Or as Diamanda Hagan called her, the "crazy, aggressive, rapist, predatory, crossbow-obsessed lady!"
  • Bury Your Gays (In-Universe): Thatcher announces that while promiscuity is allowed among the inmates, homosexuality is punishable by death.
  • Car Fu: Those red buggys are used to kill people and later to help break out the prisoners.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Roger Ward as Ritter.
  • Cool Car: Averted. Attaching machine guns, bulldozer blades or a big-ass fan to a bright red all-terrain buggy does not make it look any less ridiculous.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Anders is put in a cage out in the sun where he's forced to hold up a heavy weight.
  • Deadly Game: Football played with large jugs of gasoline. Which are chained to a prisoner.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The entire conversation about Jennifer's Sniper Pistol. Not to mention Thatcher's long red buggy, according to critic Diamanda Hagan.
  • Enforced Method Acting: Rumor has it that real bullets were fired at the actors in some scenes, though they may have just been BB's (still capable of causing injury though).
  • Evil Laugh: More of an evil snigger actually -- Red and Dodge.
  • Fan Disservice: Cutting away from I Have You Now, My Pretty Les Yay to other scenes, then returning to Lynda Stoner's naked, blood-splattered, quarrel-impaled corpse. Even for an Exploitation Film (perhaps especially for an exploitation film) that's pretty shocking.
  • Final Girl: It's no surprise that innocent Chris survives while whore Rita gets lesbianed to death.
  • Friend or Foe: The guards attack just in time to get blown up by their own air force, leaving the prisoners free to escape into the jungle.
  • Gorn: People get run over, burnt alive, chopped by machete and bulldozer blade, impaled by arrows, and in one notable case ripped apart by machine gun bullets.
  • Groin Attack: Red forces himself on Chris in the shower; she pretends to respond favourably, reaching into Red's pants then suddenly yanking up the zip. Not only this, but Red is later kicked in the crotch by Griff, and finally impaled between the legs by a jungle Booby Trap. Mallory also cops a dart in the groin moments before he burns to death in the canefield.
  • Gun Stripping: Jennifer assembles her Sniper Pistol blindfolded.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Mallory is shot with his own tranquilizer gun, leaving him unable to flee the burning canefield his Giant Mook set alight. Ritter has his hands cut off by his own machete. Jennifer gets an explosive-head quarrel in the neck.
  • How We Got Here: Chris and Anders in the Van in Black taking them to Camp 47, showing how they got arrested.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty

Red: "And now my little flower, I'm going to taste your honey!"

"I've been looking for you for a long, long time. I'm going to make you...feel...like you've...never...felt...before... (moves in with tongue waggling)

  • Make an Example of Them: A scene which impressed even Quentin Tarantino is Ritter (played by 6ft, 3" Roger Ward) shadowboxing and then beating to death a tiny female inmate, picked at random as a 'lesson' to the New Meat.
  • Naive Newcomer / Wrongfully Accused: Chris is arrested when the police chase a man into her shop and start beating him. When she protests, they say he must have been seeking shelter there (why else would she defend him?) and haul Chris off for 'questioning'.
  • Oh Crap: Thatcher when he discovers Secretary Mallory has been killed.
  • Ominous Multiple Screens: Used for spying on prisoners and entertaining guests.

Tito: (after watching an inmate being burnt alive) "Better than network television."

"I guarantee by the film's end you'll be blind."

"I hope you fucking choke you oaf!"

Hagan: "Ritter goes off to start a fire and smoke out Chris and, it's a good plan -- I'm sure it'll fuck up somehow."
(Mallory walks into the canefield that's about to be burned, instead of waiting for Chris to be flushed out)
Hagan: "Oh, that was fast. Fuck-up achieved."

  • What Do You Mean It's Not Political?: Thatcher as the name of the chief villain. Plus the rhetoric of the Re-Ed camp seems aimed more at rebels against society's petty rules than political opponents of the regime; an obvious Take That aimed at the ever-popular "get tough on delinquents" rhetoric of politicians.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Justified because Thatcher wants to break Anders' will first. And when he first catches Anders in his sights early in the hunt he doesn't fire because it would be too easy. After all, the whole point of Hunting the Most Dangerous Game is to get a thrill out of doing it.
  • Whip It Good: Red.