Sunday, January 31, 2010

Turkey Shoot (1982)

Fact: Brian Trenchard-Smith is one of the great unsung heroes of Exploitation Cinema. Here's a man whose credits include "Stunt Rock", "The Man From Hong Kong", "Dead-End Drive In", and others-all classics in the field of Australian Exploitation-or as it's more commonly known, "Ozploitation." This is a sub-genre that has become more well known over time thanks to the essential documentary "Not Quite Hollywood." One of the most well known examples of this kind of Exploitation Cinema is Smith's 1982 film "Turkey Shoot."

The premise to the movie deals with a group of "Deviants" in a fascist future (or in this case, 1995) who have been sent to a rehabilitation fortress run by the evil Charles Thatcher (Michael Craig.) Long story short, they soon find themselves in a fight for their lives against Thatcher and his cohorts (including Australian Character Actor Roger Ward) in a "Most Dangerous Game" like situation. There's one thing Thatcher and co. didn't expect though-one Paul Ward (the one and only Steve Railsback), whose not going to go down easy.

"Turkey Shoot" (also known as "Escape 2000" and the awesomely titled "Blood Camp Thatcher") is a blast of old school Exploitation Hokum that makes for a lot of trashy fun. It certainly has political undertones (The fact that the lead villain is named Thatcher, the fact that the villains look like Bourgeoisie pigs, etc.) but in the end, it's not interested too much in political commentary-it just wants to entertain you with cheap thrills, and on that level, it succeeds. If a Circus Freak/Wolfman, gore, gratuitous nudity, a predatory lesbian and more are your thing, then this is heaven. It also helps that the movie never treats itself too seriously. Quite the contrary in fact-this is a goofy, gory splatter movie, and it knows it, and has fun with that fact.

The movie isn't without flaws though. For one thing, the acting (save for a Railsback as a total bad ass and Ward as a sadistic guard) is weak, and at times grating-you never really feel for any of these guys. Also, the electronic score by Brian May (no, not the same Brian May from Queen) is dated as hell, not to mention annoying.

Those are all mild quibbles though. "Turkey Shoot" is trash cinema done right, and is a ton of fun to boot. Some might not enjoy it (and if they wouldn't, then why are they reading in the first place?) but for guys like me, it's just what the doctor ordered.

Rating: 8.5/10

No comments:

Post a Comment