Thursday, September 17, 2015

Turkey Shoot (Severin Blu-ray) - You Have to Be in It To Win It

I first saw Turkey Shoot a few years back under its alternate title Blood Camp Thatcher based on a fervent and heated employ by my brother in law who was convinced that my love of gore and exploitation cinema would be enhanced greatly by watching it. He gave me a copy and I just let it sit for a period of time, ever receiving the follow up from him to watch it. It was as if he was pleading with me to enjoy the movie; he knew I would. Hell, even I knew I would but I had to wait for the proper Sunday morning when the wife was at the gym, are little ones were still a-snooze and I had the house sort of to myself. There’s nothing more glorious than exploding bodies, Steve Railsback fighting the force of dystopian evil and cup o’ Joe. Oh wait there is… watching it in beautiful HD from Severin Films with a bounty of extras and a supreme new transfer. The turkey shoot is on for a robust physical release.

The movie itself plays out a bit like 1984 (which sounds like it was actually the desired script) meets a women in prison movie, with men too and complete with Ozploitation elements. Imagine the future with all of the outlandish brainwashing techniques, neo-con rhetoric and double speak. That’s the setting for a showdown between human nature and the altered, engineered human condition gone haywire. Turkey Shoot takes place in a prison in a jungle that almost feels like The Big Bird Cage as opposed to something futuristic. The attire of the prisons is perfectly new wave and the mechanisms of torture and control are novel. Some of the weaponry appears dated while others (like the exploding crossbow bolts) feel fresh, like something out of an Enzo Castellari picture. Then of course there’s the beast man and the strange all-terrain vehicle completed with front plow… these are truly special, perfectly Ozploitation and actually intimidating at times.

If you’re not feeling the tension during Turkey Shoot which Railsback is more than happy to hammer into you with his high energy performance, you may be laughing at some of the dated effects work combined with buckets of gore au graten. The beautiful splatter in this movie should easily have labeled it a video nasty. It’s a satisfying tale of revenge and rebellion with baddie bad guys and lovable good guys. You may actually find yourself rooting out loud for the Camp Thatcher rebels.

The release is a nice transfer with appropriate contrast, black levels and clarity befitting of a Severin Blu-ray release. I did not notice an abundance of DNR and the sound quality was good. The cover features traditional artwork and looks great (not washed out or out of focus). The extras really shine with this release. The mini doc about the Ozploitation movement of the late 70’s and early 80’s will help to establish a framework for the original release, but it should be noted that it is not nearly as thorough as Not Quite Hollywood. That being said there are snippits of the Not Quite Hollywood documentary included on the disc as pertains to Turkey Shoot. There’s a short discussion of the film and making of by the filmmakers and actors. You get hearty tidbits like: Railsback was a method actor who used real weight in this torture sequence rather than fake it and Olive Hussey was terrified of Australia. I always enjoy the alternate title cards for classic exploitation pictures; the Severin release includes both the Escape 2000 and Blood Camp Thatcher sequences! That’s a treat.

You like to laugh and enjoy the female form, jailed and at the mercy of malicious madmen and you have a hearty appetite for gooey gross gore? Then Turkey Shoot is a perfect fit for you. It’s a creative work by the darkest minds creating a challenge for the audience while allowing everyone to have a messy good time. Another great Severin release. Incidentally, you can also grab the recently released LP of the soundtrack. It’s a handsome package as well, composed by Ozploitation legend Brian May (not of Queen) and released by Dual Planet also featuring the traditional, colorful cover art. (Order the LP HERE).

You can order the Severin Blu-ray now:

From Severin:

The Infamous Ozploitation Splatter Classic
Now Presented Totally Uncut In HD
For The First Time Ever!

In a totalitarian near future, defiant citizens are labeled ‘deviants’ and sentenced to brutal ‘behavior modification’ camps. But when new prisoners Anders (Steve Railsback of THE STUNT MAN and HELTER SKELTER) and Walters (Olivia Hussey of ROMEO & JULIET and BLACK CHRISTMAS) are chosen as human prey for rich people to hunt, they will be thrust into a nightmare of depravity, dismemberment, cleaved skulls, exploding heads, lesbians with crossbows, the insane hungers of a deformed cannibal circus freak, and more. Michael Craig (THE VAULT OF HORROR), John Ley (BMX BANDITS) and Roger Ward (MAD MAX) co-star in this notorious blood-and-thunder shocker – also known as ESCAPE 2000 and BLOOD CAMP THATCHER – from maverick Ozploitation director Brian Trenchard-Smith (STUNT ROCK, DEAD END DRIVE-IN) and producer Antony I. Ginnane (PATRICK, THIRST), now fully restored in HD from the original vault negative.

Special Features include: 
  • Not Quite Hollywood Extended Interviews with:
Brian Trenchard Smith
Antony I. Ginnane
Steve Railsback
Lynda Stoner
Roger Ward
Gus Mercurio
Bob McCarron
  •  The Ozploitation Renaissance – 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) 
  • Brian Trenchard-Smith Interview (10 minutes) 
  • Audio Commentary with Brian Trenchard-Smith 
  • Turkey Shoot Trailer 
  • Escape 2000 Alternate Title Sequence 
  • Blood Camp Thatcher Alternate Title Sequence

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