Seems like every time I turn around, the fine folks at Severin Films and CAV Distribution are releasing even more obscure and excellent titles, many of which I’ve never even heard of. As an avid movie fan, I am chagrinned to admit there are titles out there with which I’m not familiar, but I also find it fascinating as well. It’s amazing just how many are out there. Today’s title, TURKEY SHOOT (also known as ESCAPE 2000 and BLOOD CAMP THATCHER) is one of these long-lost classics. And although it’s dated, it’s a lot of fun nonetheless.
If you are not familiar with TURKEY SHOOT, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Severin Films:
The Infamous Ozploitation Splatter Classic Now Presented Totally Uncut In HD For The First Time Ever!
In a totalitarian near future, defiant citizens are labeled ‘deviants’ and sentenced to brutal ‘behavior modification’ camps. But when new prisoners Anders (Steve Railsback of THE STUNT MAN and HELTER SKELTER) and Walters (Olivia Hussey of ROMEO & JULIET and BLACK CHRISTMAS) are chosen as human prey for rich people to hunt, they will be thrust into a nightmare of depravity, dismemberment, cleaved skulls, exploding heads, lesbians with crossbows, the insane hungers of a deformed cannibal circus freak, and more. Michael Craig (THE VAULT OF HORROR), John Ley (BMX BANDITS) and Roger Ward (MAD MAX) co-star in this notorious blood-and-thunder shocker – also known as ESCAPE 2000 and BLOOD CAMP THATCHER – from maverick Ozploitation director Brian Trenchard-Smith (STUNT ROCK, DEAD END DRIVE-IN) and producer Antony I. Ginnane (PATRICK, THIRST), now fully restored in HD from the original vault negative.
The concept of this film is not new, however it is one of my favorite overarching storylines in fiction or films. I love the idea of someone hunting human beings because man is intelligent and resourceful, therefore he makes the perfect prey to try and bag.
TURKEY SHOOT is shot well for the most part (as I said, it’s dated, so the camerawork is nothing amazing), but it looks good onscreen. If you take into consideration the time period in which it was made, the production value looks high and makes this look like a bigger budget film (IMDB estimates the budget was 3.2 million, certainly nothing to sneeze it for back in the day).
The acting is pretty decent, with Steve Railsback and Olivia Hussey in the lead roles. Railsback is just about a genre icon, starring in many memorable films that include LIFEFORCE and ED GEIN. Hussey is probably best known for her stunning portrayal of Juliet in Franco Zeffirelli’s ROMEO AND JULIET, however she is well known in genre circles as well for starring in films such as 1974’s BLACK CHRISTMAS, Stephen King’s IT, and the cult classic ICE CREAM MAN. The rest of the cast is somewhat memorable, although the only standout performance is given by Michael Craig as the prison warden, Thatcher.
The special effects in TURKEY SHOOT are surprisingly very well done, particularly the gore. Some of my favorite scenes include a man getting both hands chopped off with a machete and a woman whose head explodes when she is stabbed in the face with an explosive-tipped arrow.
The storyline is nothing new, but it is executed well and holds the viewer’s interest. When all hell breaks lose in the camp towards the end, a full-fledged battle breaks out between the prisoners and the guards. This battle sequence is intense and fun, a great note on which to end the film.
TURKEY SHOOT is a big win for me, and I highly recommend it. Labeled as a classic from the Ozploitation (Australian exploitation) genre, this is a film you won’t soon forget after it’s over. The film is available now, so give it a look.