Turkey Shoot (1982)

And so to what is still probably the most notorious film in the entire Ozploitation set, Brian Trenchard-Smith’s update of The Most Dangerous Game to a (then) near-future fascist society of indeterminate location (the accents are even more confusing and wobbly than in Harlequin). Wherever it is, there are concentration camps for “deviants”, at one of which a select few get to have their re-education interrupted to become targets for the operators of the camp when the latter feel like a bit of sport. Lots of violence ensues. Turkey Shoot was a troubled production with performers who were less than thrilled to be involved (looking at you in particular here, Olivia Hussey) and one of the financiers pulling out, causing the loss of over a quarter of the budget, two weeks of shooting and about 20 pages of script, most of which were apparently meant to establish the future setting; the end result is pretty reprehensible in a lot of departments—acting (if that’s the word for it), logic, Roger Ward’s moustache, Gus Mercurio’s accent—and yet there’s something perversely admirable about the manifest glee with which it goes about presenting these atrocities, about its whole-hearted embrace of its own trashiness, about Trenchard-Smith’s determination to make something out of a bad situation and his evident belief that the best way to go about it was to ramp up the excess and bugger naturalism. I mean, once Alph enters the picture—and what the fuck was Alph actually supposed to be, anyway?—any pretence at anything like depth just evaporates; anyone who watches this film expecting anything other than a grossly exploitative, over the top, ludicrously violent, blackly comic action movie probably deserves what they get, really. I’m not sure if there’s any conventional standard by which this can actually be described as a good film per se, but I had a lot of fun watching it.

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