Tuesday, September 29, 2015

TURKEY SHOOT (Blu-ray Review) - Severin Films

Directed By: Brian Trenchard-Smith
Written By: Jon George, Neill D. Hicks
Starring: Steve Railsback, Olivia Hussey, Michael Craig
Color/93 Minutes/Not Rated
Region FREE
Release Date: September 22, 2015

The Film
Freedom is obedience. Obedience is work. Work is life. That quote sums up the totalitarian mindset of the politics that drive TURKEY SHOOT. Citizens who don't comply with the corrupt and oppressive law of the land are detained into behavior rehabilitation camps where they're forced into labor, abused mentally, physically and sexually and tortured before they're able to be released back into society. A group of inmates are chosen to be prey for a group of rich people to hunt on the grounds of the camp which leads to one of the most insane thrill rides ever put to celluloid.

When a film production has to literally toss the first 15 pages of its script due to losing a chunk of its funding it usually spells doom for that movie. TURKEY SHOOT overcame that obstacle. While it may not have had the grand scale director Brian Trenchard-Smith originally envisioned, he rolled with the punches and decided to shift the tone to what he described as a "Lucio Fulci splatter film". I wouldn't argue that with him. The film definitely makes its feelings and points known with social commentary but the reason this movie was a financial success is because it is violent, gory, action packed and just a bit sleazy.

Combining genres such as horror, action and the women in prison genre, TURKEY SHOOT is classic exploitation that all fans need to see. The acting is competent from a script that is a bit campy but not without its message. The direction and photography also get the job done. There's nothing super flashy in the directing or camera work but it's never distractingly bad either.

It's no surprise that TURKEY SHOOT, released as Escape 2000 in the USA, was heavily cut by the Australian censors - Exploding bodies, machetes to skulls, toes being eaten, circus freaks, explosions, male and female nudity, blood and guts rule the film. Audiences may not have gotten all the goods in theaters back in 1981, but Severin Films makes sure we get it all in the glory of HD.

The Audio & Video
Severin Films delivers TURKEY SHOOT on Blu-ray with a beautiful anamorphic widescreen transfer that has a light but natural grain structure giving the disc a very film like feel. Detail is strong in textures and surfaces, from the metal of a crossbow to concrete block torture devices. Colors are warm and natural and skin tones are fleshy without being waxy. There's no signs of excessive digital noise reduction or edge enhancement. The 2.0 English soundtrack isn't flashy or boisterous but it gets the job done nicely with a properly mixed HD presentation that is free of any damage such as popping or crackling and has no issues with background noise.

The Extras
-"The Ozploitation Renaissance" - 26 minute featurette with interviews on the Australian film market during the 70s and 80s
-"Turkey Shoot: Blood & Thunder Memories" 23 minute featurette with interviews of several cast members
-Audio commentary with director Brian Trenchard-Smith
-Interview with director Brian Trenchard-Smith
-"Not Quite Hollywood" extended interviews with: Brian Trenchard-Smith, Antony I. Ginnane, Steve Railsback, Lynda Stoner, Roger Ward, Gus Mercurio, and Bob McCarron - 77 minutes worth of interview footage filmed for the 2008 documentary from Mark Hartley
-Alternate "Escape 2000" title sequence

The Bottom Line
Severin Films is Blu-ray. Blu-ray is TURKEY SHOOT. TURKEY SHOOT is awesome.

TURKEY SHOOT is available HERE

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