Good idea: combine the dystopian future subgenre and the premise of the classic story “The Most Dangerous Game,” and turn it into a movie.
Bad idea: let that movie take shape as 1982’s Turkey Shoot (Turkey Shit as I like to call it).
Directed by Brain Trenchard-Smith, Turkey Shoot is set in a totalitarian Australia in the year 2000 and follows Paul (Steve Railsback) and Chris (Olivia Hussey) as they are sent to a rehabilitation camp known as Prison Camp 97. Paul is, according to exposition, a master of escape; while Chris is a shown to be a master of looking good and being damn near useless. While there, they, along with three others, are entered into a hunt put on by warden Charles Thatcher and his bourgeois friends—and if they can survive until sundown, they will be set free. So, grab your crossbows and explosive arrows, your bullets and rifles, your bulldozer dune buggy and ape-like werewolf hybrid…thing—and saddle up, for the hunt is on!
With a premise like that, anyone can be forgiven for going into Turkey Shoot expecting an action-packed, suspense-filled, thrill-a-minute explosion of kick assery. Instead, we are subjected to 45 minutes of nothing happening except character development that amounts to little more than boring exposition about a character’s past—and we’re still left knowing very little about them—and a scene of female nudity which proves to be the high point. Then, the hunt begins! Ho ho! This is what we’ve all been waiting for! A bullet-slinging, knife-flinging, fist-throwing, ass-kicking orgy of violence and gore that only the finest of Ozsploitation films can deliver, right?
Much like the poorly-written and poorly-developed characters, the action comes off as well as a race car with two flat tires. Thinner-than-anorexic characters deprive the sequences of any emotional investment, fights simply go through the motions to move on to the next sequence, and—yawn!—fuck, I’m getting sleepy just writing about this. There are a few gory special effects, but they’re nothing Andy Milligan couldn’t pull off on a good day So, we’ll just write them off.
However, the film does have a few moments of, I’m assuming, unintentional humor. A scene in which a character gets run over by a truck comes off like something Jess Franco would have filmed because it is so obvious the man is just planted in a hole up to his waist, lies face-down on the ground, then leans up when the truck “runs over” him. Another scene has a character get stabbed in the throat with an explosive arrow, and her head goes up like a cheap firework without a drop of blood or gray matter to be seen. Or when one baddie runs over the werewolf whatever thing when he has plenty of time to slam on the brakes (of course the driver is screaming at the thing to move). Oh, and we get a lovely scene in which a character explodes after being hit by a single, non-explosive round. But the cherry on the cake belongs to a scene in which Paul is trying to convince Chris to man a gun while they are speeding in the bulldozer dune buggy towards a group of baddies firing at them with automatic weapons. Never before has a character in a film come off as so terribly stupid and useless.
Oh, and this film does have one great lesson to teach us: when you’re being hunted by rich people, the best thing to do is go for a swim. Yup, one of the characters, a blonde female (insert joke here), decides to take a swim in a river while ominous music tells us that nothing good will come of this. Of course, nothing does.
But aside from these few stupid/hilarious moments, Turkey Shoot has little to offer in the way of entertainment. Of course, that’s assuming you’re totally sober while watching it. A few beers or shots of vodka might glaze your brain over enough to make this thing somewhat enjoyable. But I do have to give it credit for one thing: the title is a fine example of truth in advertising.
|The characters are bored--and you will be too if you watch Turkey Shit.|