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  Turkey Shoot Absolute HuntsBuy this film here.
Year: 1982
Director: Brian Trenchard-Smith
Stars: Steve Railsback, Olivia Hussey, Michael Craig, Carmen Duncan, Noel Ferrier, Lynda Stoner, Roger Ward, Michael Petrovich, Gus Mercurio, John Ley, Bill Young, Steve Rackman, John Godden, Oriana Ponazzo
Genre: Action, Thriller, Trash, Science Fiction
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: It is the future and society has broken down into rioting and civil unrest, then built up again under dictatorship rule. To this end, any rebellion among the citizens is met with a zero tolerance reaction, and even the mildest form of complaint can result in the protestor being arrested and carted off to one of the prison camps around the country. So it is that Chris Walters (Olivia Hussey) found herself in the back of a truck headed for one of the establishments after trying to stop police beating a suspect - but her fellow prisoner Paul Anders (Steve Railsback) knows all about this treatment...

That's because he has been through the experience before and is a committed insurgent. The early scenes of Turkey Shoot would have you believe that it has important things to say about civil liberties, never mind totalitarian states, but soon it degenerates into your basic action adventure, so swiftly that you may be wondering why they ever bothered to play the social injustice card at all. By and by the story grows not only gratuitously nasty, but pretty ridiculous as well, more content to think up novelty deaths than anything more compelling.

In those early stages, the film looks like an Australian version of those women in prison movies that piled onto the world's cinema screens during the seventies and eighties - there's even a shower scene. But this has what (most of) those films did not: male prisoners. Nevertheless, the evil guards are still happy to dole out the violence and torture no matter what the gender of the victim, all at the behest of the warden, Thatcher (seasoned British thesp Michael Craig). The warden's name led to the film remamed as Blood Camp Thatcher in the U.K., to make the unwary think that the then-Prime Minister has something to do with the plot.

So apart from anti-fascist politics and brutality, what else did Turkey Shoot offer? How about a werewolf?! Ah, now you're interested! Well, I don't know if he's a genuine wolfman, but Alph (played by wrestler Steve Rackman, best known for Crocodile Dundee movies) apparently was found in a "freak show" and he's hairy with multi-coloured eyes, so he probably is. The reason he is introduced is that he has been invited along by one of the idle rich who oversee the camp and wanted to add a twist to the upcoming chase.

A chase, you say? A manhunt? Yes, with crushing inevitability it turns out that the film is yet another version of The Most Dangerous Game, and the defiant Paul and his pals are going to be set free to see if they can escape. The catch is that the bad guys are going to hunt them down with state of the art weaponry - and a werewolf - and the odds are stacked in the villains' favour. There was a chance here that some by the numbers excitement could have been worked up, but in effect you're watching some actors running through picturesque Australian landscape at great length. This may be punctuated by moments of gore, but when a man who has supposedly had his hands cut off has plainly pulled his shirtsleeves down to cover them is one of the "highlights" you can tell it's pretty shoddy stuff. Mildly amusing in its vigour, Turkey Shoot needed far more inspiration than redundant sadism. Music by Brian May.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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