Oz Classic: Turkey Shoot (1982)

24 Mar

By Gram Morris

3 prawns

Trying to explain Turkeyshoot’s plot would feel like an exaggeration; after all the film-makers never did.

Budget problems meant the first 12 pages of the script were thrown out and serious film critics like Phillip Adams would probably like to ask director Brian Trenchard-Smith why he stopped there.

Thankfully Turkeyshoot was made and stands as a perfect introduction to the can-half-assed-do attitude of Australian genre film making in the 70s (That is of course if you havn’t already seen the Ozpolitation documentary Not Quite Hollywood).

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For the record, Turkeyshoot is set in a maximum security concentration camp in a dystopian future in which three prisoners (Played by Steve Railsback, Olivia Hussey and Rita Daniels) who must take part in a bloody manhunt if they are to survive.

But it’s the appearance of Wolfman at the hunting party that really raised some questions for me.

Why a wolfman? Was he a genetic experiment gone wrong? If we give up our civil rights in the future does that mean there will there be wolfmen too? Are there more like him and if so are they in better shape than this one (who seems to be struggling a bit through the chase scenes)? Why does his master drive around in a tractor anyway? Is it because the wolfman can only run short distances and has to be carried when he gets tired?

Overall, Wolfman’s character is underdeveloped and a wasted opportunity.

The film had limited success in Australia and was universally panned by local critics.  However not everyone hated it; doing quite well in London under the opportunistic title Blood Camp Thatcher. By all reports Olivia Hussey had such a horrific time making this film that the mere mention of girt by the sea sends her into a catatonic state.

If you have ambitions in life like helping the poor or becoming Donald Trump then I don’t think Turkey Shoot is going to help you much but if the idea of watching people’s heads explode or toes being bitten sounds like a fun way to spend your time then you have my blessing.  Not for chickens.

(DVD features include an interview with Director Brian Trenchard-Smith and the cast – which is even more fun than the film)

Screen Australia has curator notes and clips here.

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2 Responses to “Oz Classic: Turkey Shoot (1982)”

  1. campbell March 28, 2011 at 10:44 pm #

    gram, do you fancy watching it again? i’d like to watch this film with your personal commentary. perhaps at a public screening at fed square? i’m sure we could organise the p.a. system for you.

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  1. Janne the Director’s Favorite Rare Movies Top 100 List #82: The Most Dangerous Game (1932) « Lunki and Sika – The Animated Adventures! - March 31, 2011

    […] Oz Classic: Turkey Shoot (1982) (australianfilmreview.wordpress.com) […]

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