Wednesday, July 13, 2011

gobble my neighbours.

Turkey Shoot (AKA Blood Camp Thatcher, Escape 2000. 1982).
Dir: Brian Trenchard-Smith.
Cast: Steve Railsback, Olivia Hussey, Michael Craig, Lynda Stoner, Gus Mercurio, Michael Craig, Roger Ward, Carmen Duncan, John Ley, Michael Petrovitch, Carmen Duncan, Bill Young, Dave Hill and Noel Ferrier.



'Disobedience is treason, treason is a crime, crime will be punished!'



Welcome to the whacked out, black clad and oh so slightly fascistic future world of 1995.

A world where even having a quick peek at a police officer's squinty teeth can lead to a kicking and a stay in one of the state's creepy correction centres.

And a world where mild mannered antique toting tottie Chris Walters (the virgin Mary herself, Hussey) has found herself arrested for the heinous crime of having a criminal run into her shop to avoid a beating of a tomb-toothed copper.

Drugged, mugged and thrown into the back of a converted ice-cream van alongside the notorious pirate deejay 'pumping' Paul Anders (the legendary Railsback) and balloon breasted rent-a-whore Rita Daniels (Prisoner Cell Block H's Stoner), Chris soon finds herself transported to the infamous Camp Thatcher, a former Butlins holiday camp cum detention den specially built to re-educate societies deviant population.

Who seem to consist mainly of gingers by the look of those imprisoned there.

Ladies and gentlemen! Live tonite at Saltcoats Butlins....it's Bardot.


In charge of this hellish camp of cruelty is the notorious silver fox Charles Thatcher (teevee stalwart, Robert Kilroy-Silk impersonator and Doctor Who's 'Tonker' Travers himself Craig) aided and abetted by the arse obsessed man-vole Red (Cap' Daulton from Flipper himself; the late, great Mercurio) and the bald-pated, psychotic man mountain (with a nice line of Freddie Mercury moustaches) Chief Guard John Ritter (Australian acting royalty Ward).

Thatcher, it seems relies on all this heavy handed help in order to maintain his unbroken eight year run as the undisputed winner of the crazy camp commandant bastard competition (sponsored by Asda no less) and to this aim has devised a series of vaguely amusing 'Total Wipeout' style games that run alongside the daily beatings, rapes and shootings to keep the inmates entertained.

What a lovely chap.

"Can we fuck him up the arse with a tractor?" Asked Bob. "Yes we can!"

After thrilling his new captives with a special game of football featuring a small boy, two plastic bottles of petrol and a match and following Chris almost getting gang raped in the shower block, Thatcher invites our hero, the constantly crying Chris, slutty Rita, the camps bespectacled rent-a-nutter Dodge (Ley from BMX Bandits) and a politically motivated tall man named Griff up to his office for a friendly chat.

It appears that Thatcher has a proposal for the captive criminals (and surprisingly it doesn't involve screwing over the miners for once) and over cocktails and sausage rolls, excitedly explains it to all and sundry.

Turns out that he's really keen on organising a special event for the visiting roly poly Secretary for Lard, Mallory Towers (the gravity defying Ferrier) and his recently arrived pals; the bearded mentalist Tito Jackson (Mike Raven wannabe Petrovitch) and the pigeon chested yet loveably loopy lesbian Jennifer (Duncan, best known for A Country Practice), so decides to up his ante (oooh missis) and organise a little game of cat and mouse for their entertainment.

By this I actually mean that he's about to blatantly crib from the Richard Connell short story "The Most Dangerous Game" obviously.

First filmed as The Hounds of Zaroff starring the milky thighed and fantastically breasted Fay Wray alongside a gin soaked Joel McCrea back in 1932, the novels well thumbed plot regarding a rich hunter chasing hunks and totty for cash has been remade almost every other year since under the guise of everything from Game of Death to The Running Man via The Beast Must Die.

Saying that tho' it is a very good plot.

Faye Wray: You would...and so would your granddad.

Anyway, back to this plot (which is still quite entertaining) and with our 'turkeys' given a three hour head start (and with a get out of jail free card if they survive till sundown), it's time to see what specialist death dealing devices our hunters have brought along to make things more interesting.

Whilst Mallory has a big, fuck off dart gun capable of stunning his victims into submission so that he can have 'the sex' with them (he'll be hunting Chris then) and Jennifer has a horse, a multi-function crossbow and a massive big black leather strap-on (hopefully she'll be wanting Anders if we're lucky....nope it's Rita. Damn), it's Tito that wins tonight's prize for greatest (and most amusing) hunting human kit pulling up as he does in a bright orange Bob the Builder tractor.

And (for no apparent reason) with a top hatted werewolf played by Slade's Dave Hill (possibly) and named Alf in tow.

When asked where he acquired such a companion Tito nonchalantly replies "The circus" and drives away.

No, really.

"Aright me chap where's me Cuppa Soup?"


It's bullets vs. brains in a jungle-based, testosterone fuelled fight for survival and there can be only one winner.

Well, possibly two.

Or perhaps Anders might be lucky and free all the prisoners at some point so there could even be loads of winners in a kind of lottery survival syndicate.

 I didn't really think that last bit thru' did I?



In a blatant attempt to cash in on the early eighties violent dystopia genre,  Trenchard-Smith (director of the Nicole Kidman classic BMX Bandits and the fantastic Leprechaun 4: In Space) alongside writers Jon George and  Neill D. Hicks originally planned to mix the streetwise sensibilities of Mad Max with the literary goodness of 1984 and the human drama of Papillon.

Unfortunately for them (but not us) a major investor pulled out at the last minute (taking $700,000 of the film's $3,200,000 budget with them) causing half the script to be binned (but only the boring character stuff and a helicopter chase).

Adding tension to an already fraught shoot was perennial bridesmaid Railsback's intensely serious (and intensely annoying to the rest of the cast) acting style, a supporting cast made up entirely of the cream of Australian teevee's light entertainment and soap division and a female lead that refused to gut a fish and, after agreeing to a nude scene, would eventually only show her (albeit ample) arse on camera.

It's only after the fact that you begin to realise how lucky they were that the finished film turned out as downright enjoyable  - and watchable - as it is.

Arrow in mah mooth!


If anything Turkey Shoot is all the better for it's numerous back stage struggles, mutating as it does from a fairly serious social commentary style movie into an over the top camp as pants gore fest via an emotionally vacuous romance that ends up making the whole endeavour as wildly schizophrenic as Railsback's performance is comfortingly staid.

Posh and Becks: the pikey years.

Possibly the greatest thing to ever come out of Australia (definitely the greatest movie anyway), Turkey Shoot should be legally enforced viewing for anyone who's ever expressed an interest in film or film-making and refusal should be punishable by death.

Or at least a quick goosing from Alf the werewolf.

As our criminalist colony cousins would say "Fair dinkum mate!"

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