Turkey Shoot/Review

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Turkey Shoot is undoubtedly the most famous film of Australia’s exploitation cycle – or perhaps the better term is infamous. Despite the majority of Australia’s exploitation output being locked away in a closet (although this is changing with the release of Mark Hartley’s Not Quite Hollywood), Turkey Shoot is one of the few which has managed to remain relatively known (along with, perhaps, Richard Franklin’s Road Games and Russell Mulcahy’s Razorback – although the latter probably for the wrong reasons). It’s notoriety was generated mostly from critic reaction to the film upon its release (its outrageous exploitative violence being the main target).


The film concerns a futuristic society (similar to the dystopian environment of George Orwell’s 1984 perhaps) where rebellious citizens are shipped off to behavioural modification camps to re-align them with the ways of the state. The film centres on repeat offender Paul Anders, innocent bystander Chris Walters and beautiful blonde Rita Daniels (played by the busty Lynda Stoner) as they are taken to a camp run by Michael Craig’s Thatcher. Once there, they are given a proposition: elude Thatcher and his guests in a forest manhunt for a day and you earn your freedom.

Turkey Shoot is classic exploitation. The primary attraction is the hunt and the brilliant splatter sequences, but the film also resembles (especially at the start) a classic Women-in-prison film. Women in communal showers, prison guards taking advantage of them, torture, a breakout with guns blazing. The prison is co-ed, but the style is definitely there. It is a film imbued with the very spirit of exploitation and consequently, it is the first film I recommend to people when on the subject of Australian exploitation. Then there’s the death sequences. It’s hard now to see why the violence in the film caused such a problem with the Australian critics of the time. People are cut in half, crossbow bolts pierce numerous body parts, heads explode. But it’s all so innocently entertaining that it’s hard to be offended at all.

Reviewed by Angel

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