Brian Trenchard-Smith is one of the most intelligent, well-spoken directors you're ever likely to run across. Just check out some of his commentaries over at the venerable Trailers From Hell webiste and you'll see what I mean. That said, BTS certainly made his share of trashy films in his day. He always seemed to bring something more to them though. That fierce intelligence shone through in one way or another via the cleverness of his filmmaking. TURKEY SHOOT (aka ESCAPE 2000) is not an unfamiliar story. Set in a dystopian future (my favorite kind of future), this tale focuses mainly on one particular "re-education" camp wherein the Orwellian powers-that-be have locked up a bunch of deviants. The dystopia itself is very much out of 1984 or some such thing and the people of its society are kept in line with fear tactics and torture. It is an ugly time and this prison camp is an ugly placed filled with rape-y guards and sleazy officers. Our three main characters are Paul Anders (Steve Railsback), Chris Walters (Olivia Hussey) and Rita Daniels (Lynda Stoner) - all of whom have been shipped off to this camp for various crimes against society. Anders in particular is a troublemaker and has escaped from many camps previous to this one. The three form a bond against the forces of evil within the place but end up as bait for a "Most Dangerous Game" style hunt that is put on for rich folks. So the movie is very much a dystopian take on that story within an exploitation context. The film has some rough torture scenes, violence, blood and nudity, just what every genre fan is looking for from a movie like this basically. It even has a hairy freak of a half-man/half-beast who looks like a refugee from TEEN WOLF (seriously, this guy resembles Michael J. Fox's wolf double from that movie). This creature/dude's presence adds a lovely touch of ISLAND OF LOST souls to the proceedings which is a little odd, but quite welcome.
Despite a compacted production schedule and a much smaller budget than was initially planned for, BTS pulls of a movie that is an enjoyable and memorable genre exercise. I personally understand why the Most Dangerous Game plot has been used over and over and over in movies - it's just a good cinematic scenario. TURKEY SHOOT is at least as good if not better than most of the Most Dangerous Game movies out there and for genre acolytes, it's kind of a home run. It's no surprise at all that this movie has developed a significant cult following since its release back in 1982. The three lead actors are all cult performers in their own right so that has only helped the movie continue to maintain its reputation as a classic. Well worth seeking out for Brian Trenchard-Smith-heads and everyone else too.
Severin Films went all out on this disc. Not only does the transfer look very good, but they also and added quite a few nice supplements so hats off to them.
-First up is a very good audio commentary from director Brian Trenchard-Smith himself. There is also a separate 10 minute interview with BTS also.
-For those that dug Mark Hartley's excellent documentary NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD, this disc includes about an hour of extended interviews from that production from the following folks: Brian Trenchard Smith, Antony I. Ginnane, Steve Railsback, Lynda Stoner, Roger Ward, Gus Mercurio, Bob McCarron. A lot of these extended interviews focus on TURKEY SHOOT which is great.
-The Ozploitation Renaissance – a round table discussion with director Brian Trenchard-Smith, producer Antony I. Ginnane and Ozploitation cinematographer Vincent Monton. (26 minutes).
-Turkey Shoot: Blood & Thunder Memories – featurette (24 minutes).-Escape 2000 Alternate Title Sequence and Blood Camp Thatcher Alternate Title Sequence.
TURKEY SHOOT can be purchased on Blu-ray here: