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Film / Turkey Shoot

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"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: In Space fame.

The plot of the film is fairly archetypal: it's 20 Minutes into the Future in an unnamed fascist totalitarian state. For the slightest perceived 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.

Another film by the same name was made in 2014, but was more like The Running Man and is only loosely inspired from the original. Internationally, it was titled Elimination Game.

This film provides examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Jennifer's crossbow bolts, with explosive and pyrotechnic heads.
  • All Crimes Are Equal: People get sent to the reeducation camps for being political dissidents (naturally) but also protesting police beating up a suspect or just allegedly working as a prostitute.
  • 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.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The film ends without clear resolution of the plot, only the promise that revolution is led by people like those depicted, according to H. G. Wells (who provides the ending quote) as the now-armed prisoners leave the area.
  • Animal Eyes: Alph has eyes like a cat's.
  • 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.
  • The Baroness: Jennifer. Or as critic Diamanda Hagan called her, the "crazy, aggressive, rapist, predatory, crossbow-obsessed lady!"
  • Beard of Evil: Tito. Ritter naturally is a case of Bald of Evil.
  • Beast Man: Former circus freak Alph is a hairy, beastial man whom Tito uses as an attack dog. He even has eyes that look like a cat's, and acts in a very animalistic way, so while ostensibly just having a genetic condition his appearance and manner put Alph firmly in this category.
  • 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.
  • Bury Your Gays: Thatcher announces that while (non-reproductive) sex is allowed among the prisoners, same-sex relations are forbidden and punishable by death. Jennifer, who's implied to be a lesbian, is also killed near the end.
  • Car Fu: Those red buggys are used to kill people and later to help break out the prisoners.
  • Celebrity Paradox: The 2014 film has the original playing in a hotel room at one point. Carmen Duncan and Roger Ward had roles in both films, as completely different characters.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Roger Ward as Ritter.
  • Clear My Name: Rick in the 2014 film was framed for murder and hunted on a TV program. He has to exonerate himself as he outruns numerous assassins.
  • Condemned Contestant: In the 2014 film the plot is about a TV show (Turkey Shoot, of course) with convicted murderers hunted for sport, with a pardon if they win (none ever has).
  • 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.
  • Deadly Game:
    • Football played with large jugs of gasoline. Which are chained to a prisoner.
    • The 2014 film has the entire story revolve around one, with convicted murderers hunted for sport on a TV show.
  • 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.
  • Eunuchs Are Evil: All the camp guards must be castrated to hold the position, Anders says. They're all sadists or at least working for a brutal regime (the job kind of entails this). However, it's possible he's lying.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Apparently, as psychotically brutal as the regime is, with re-education camps in which torture, castration and rape is the norm and prisoners die often to teach the rest to bend the knee, nobody has escalated yet to the complete annihilation of all dissidents — although Secretary Mallory seems extremely pleased when Ritter suggests the idea, so it's a good thing he dies before things got worse.
  • 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.
  • Fanservice Extra: A number of the prisoners are shown nude in the showers (both male and female).
  • Final Girl: It's no surprise that innocent Chris survives while the promiscuous Rita is killed.
  • Final Solution: Ritter's proposed solution for deviants would be not even attempting to "reeducate" anyone, but just kill them all. Mallory even approvingly calls this "the ultimate solution".
  • Frame-Up: The 2014 film has Rick Tyler, a Navy SEAL who was framed for murdering woman and children, then hunted by assassins on a TV program.
  • 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.
  • Gasoline Dousing: The guards force a prisoner into playing a cruel version of football with gasoline jugs. When he loses, he's burned alive.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Inverted. Thatcher tells the prisoners the administration accepts prisoners having sex, but not getting pregnant. Any prisoner who does will undergo a forced abortion, then be sterilized. In the man's case, they are castrated.
  • 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:
    • All of the guards must be castrated to hold the position, Anders claims.
    • Male prisoners getting female prisoners pregnant are castrated as punishment.
    • Red forces himself on Chris in the shower; she pretends to respond favorably, 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 cane field.
  • 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 her 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: In the original film, bored government bigwigs hunt down political prisoners. The 2014 version turns it into a TV show where convicted killers are hunted instead.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty
    Red: "And now my little flower, I'm going to taste your honey!"
  • I Know You Know I Know: Thatcher telling Anders about the hunt; it's obvious that Anders knows it's a set-up, and that Thatcher realizes this.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Alph rips off and then eats one of Dodge's toes.
  • Immoral Reality Show: The 2014 film changes the plot to be this, convicted murderers are legally hunted for entertainment with millions watching.
  • In Name Only: The remake in 2014 basically shared the name (not even that with international releases, where it's titled Elimation Game) and concept of people being hunted for sport, and that's it.
  • Jungle Japes: Ritter does the "hacking insignificant branches in your path with a machete" and "avoid great swinging Booby Trap" clichés.
  • Karmic Death: The two men who threaten Chris with rape both fall victim to groin attacks.
  • 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.
  • Na├»ve Newcomer: Chris enters the camp without a clue what's going or why she's there. She's quickly clued in by the brutal administration and dissident Anders. The audience learns of their workings through this.
  • 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."
  • Penal Colony: Re-Ed Camp 47 turns out to be on an island, so there's no escape.
  • Police Brutality: In the opening scene, a pair of police officers chase a running man into Chris' shop, then start kicking him after he falls down. Her protesting it makes them suspect that she's his accomplice and she thus gets sent off to a reeducation camp.
  • Product Placement: The two vehicles used by the hunting party to move around are visibly labeled in some close-up shots as being made by the Austrak company.
  • Prison Riot: Near the end, Anders breaks into the camp on a buggy, leading his fellow prisoners in a revolt after they arm themselves.
  • Punishment Box: Anders is put in a cage out in the sun where he's forced to hold up a heavy weight.
  • Rape as Drama: So much so that Diamanda Hagan invented a Drinking Game — every time a character threatens, indicates or suggests they're going to rape someone, take a shot.
    "I guarantee by the film's end you'll be blind."
  • Regret Eating Me: Dodge after Alph bites off his little toe and eats it.
    "I hope you fucking choke you oaf!"
  • Sentry Gun: Twin remotely-controlled 20-calibre guns are in the towers (actually they're 7.62mm MG3's). The one time they're used they prove completely incapable of destroying a slow, red-painted unarmored buggy and its blatantly-exposed occupants.
  • Shower Scene: There's one with equal-opportunity fanservice as the inmates have a co-ed shower.
  • Stock Footage: Used quite effectively for the opening credits and the bombing raid at the end.
  • Tested on Humans: Mallory tests his tranquilizer dart gun on a passing prisoner.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: There's a mass prison break-out and you can't get the Camp Master on the phone? Send in the Royal Australian Air Force to kill them all (guards included) with a napalm strike!
  • Title Drop:
    • In the original film, Mallory uses the term "turkey shoot" in one scene as a Deadly Euphemism for Thatcher's invitation to hunt and kill inmates. Apparently, even in a totalitarian regime like theirs there's some things that they want to keep a secret about what they are doing in re-education camps.
    • In the 2014 remake, the Immoral Reality Show is named "Turkey Shoot", leading to it being dropped a lot.
  • Vasquez Always Dies: Rita Daniels, who is more open to doing anything to survive (including sleeping around the camp) is raped and murdered by Jennifer, while Chris (who remains a Neutral Female for most of the film to the point that Anders has to yell at her to shoot when he tells her to man a machine gun at the climax) survives.
  • Villain Ball: Lampshaded by Diamanda Hagan.
    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."
  • Weaponized Car: Tito's Austrak RT-45 buggy has a machine gun on top and a razor-sharp bulldozer blade on the front. They both see use (the bulldozer blade severs Beast Man Alph in half and the machine gun kills a lot of guards in the climactic assault on the camp).
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The film features of mix of Australian, British, and American actors, and the opening credits feature riot footage from settings as varied as Japan and Italy. This was likely a deliberate choice by the filmmakers to appeal to the broadest audience possible.
  • Whip of Dominance: Red wields a whip and a has a preference to use it to punctuate a lot of his sentences.
  • 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.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Ritter beats a female prisoner to death slowly in his early establishing character moment simply as an example to the newcomers. None of the other villains show any compunctions about harm to women either.
  • 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'.
  • Your Head Asplode:
    • Thatcher stands up in the middle of the climactic prison escape, letting Anders get a clean head shot with an MG-42. The burst makes Thatcher's head explode.
    • In the 2014 film, the Libyan dictator's head is absolutely destroyed by the rifle bullet which hits him.