Friday, September 16, 2016

Turkey Shoot


   Few words bring a smile to my face as immediately as the word "Ozploitation" does. The genre's more action packed offerings are properly insane. There's just a crazy flavor to Australian exploitation that regular exploitation doesn't have. Look at Fair Game, or Razorback. The movies are just... insane. I'm already sounding like a broken record. Anyways, I finally got around to seeing Turkey Shoot, and it's one of the titans of the Ozploitation genre. I cannot believe I didn't sit myself down and watch this sooner. It's bloody amazing.

   At best, exploitation movies have something shocking or reprehensible every ten minutes or so. Turkey Shoot is on point with that formula, the movie is nuts from the start. It opens with real footage of riots and anarchy, and then introduces us to each of our main characters and how they've ended up on their way to a 'reform' camp. The warden of this particular camp, is a sociopath named Thatcher who has it out for the hero. So Thatcher organizes a hunt, where himself and a few other uber-elite wealthy patrons can get their perverse kicks by hunting a few of the inmates they've turned loose in the wilderness.

   The movie has an on-the-cheap style to it that's a hallmark of the genre, but that's part of the fun. The whole thing is set in this dystopic future where society has become ruled by a totalitarian regime and oddly enough, it seems less fantastical than ever with the current state of affairs in the world right now. But, like any good exploitation movie, this is nothing more than cathartic escapism. The movie doesn't really have much socio-political commentary, and even if the first 20 or so pages of the script weren't nixed for budget reasons, I doubt it would've made a difference. The movie is a lean, mean, sordid mess of a good time. There's violence galore and gallons of blood. What more could you want?

   The villains in any exploitation movie have to be fantastic. This is no exception. There's actually five main villains in this movie, and they're all a blast to watch. There's the bourgeois trio of rich hunters who're just here for a good time- hunting people. There's Thatcher, and then there's Thatcher's right hand man, a guard named Ritter. He looks like Sid Haig on steroids or something. At one point, early on in the flick, Thatcher assembles all the inmates in the yard to watch the newbies get inducted. Thus, Ritter has to make an example of one of the inmates. He singles this girl out, and has her recite the camp mantra, over and over... while he's basically shadowboxing at her face.

   It's a terribly disturbing scene, and a small indicator of what's to come. There's also a scene where the guards punish an inmate who tried to escape by playing a game with him, where he has to try and keep these two orbs from spilling gasoline everywhere, as he's kicked and pushed around. I'll let you guess how that spectacle ends. There's also the obligatory shower scene where the movie crams in as much female nudity as it possibly can. And, then more or less, we're off to the hunt! The trio of rich pricks all have their own special weapons. A customized tranquilizer gun, a crossbow... and a carnivorous mutant freak. Like, woah ho ho. That escalated quickly. But then again, that's what this whole genre is about.

   Our heroes, who have more personality than I'd have expected, have to try and stay alive til sundown if they want their freedom. But, it's one of those, "yeah right" type of deals. Like, c'mon. We've all seen The Running Man. Anyways, things get properly nuts once the hunt is underway. The movie is wild and intense, and not for the weak of stomach. It's a pretty gory movie, and a perversely creative one at that. Every few minutes I had a big dumb grin on my face in a mix of shock and disbelief. Did they really just do that? Did the freak just rip that guy's toe off and eat it? Did that guy seriously run his car over the other guy? Wait, where did the rocket launcher come from? It gets absolutely crazy, I loved it!

   Boasting a pretty solid cast, (Steve Railsback, Olivia Hussey, Michael Craig, and Roger Ward) the movie is full of entertaining personalities as well as top tier action/adventure. It's a reprehensible little survival thriller and is obviously not for the weak-stomached, or those unfamiliar with the genre. Nevertheless, it's an absolute treat for those who are. If you like your movies full of cheap, sleazy, lurid thrills, and wholesale violence, you'd be hard pressed to do much better than Turkey Shoot. It's not just brutal, like the best of it's genre, it's creative with it's violence. It aims to shock as much as it aims to entertain, and by god it does what it sets out to. I had a blast with this nasty and sleazy little movie. It has quickly worked its way into my list of favorite exploitation films, which is no small feat!

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