Turkey Shoot (1982 film)

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Turkey Shoot
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith
Produced by
Screenplay by
  • Jon George
  • Neill D. Hicks
Story by
Music by Brian May
Cinematography John R. McLean
Edited by Alan Lake
  • Hemdale
  • FGH
  • Filmco
  • Second FGH Films
Distributed by Roadshow (Australia)
Release date
  • 14 October 1982 (1982-10-14) (Australia)
Running time
93 minutes
Country Australia
Language English
Budget A$3.2 million[1]
Box office A$321,000 (Australia)

Turkey Shoot (also known as Escape 2000 and Blood Camp Thatcher) is a 1982 Australian dystopian exploitation-action film directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith and starring Steve Railsback, Olivia Hussey and Michael Craig. The cast is a mix of international actors, Australian soap opera actors and television personalities.

The film is notable for its extreme violence and sadistic prison sequences, and it features plot elements of The Most Dangerous Game, but rather than having human targets hunted for sport by a madman on his own island, the story features a concentration camp known as "The Establishment", which offers the opportunity to rich adventurers with legal immunity. AskMen labeled it "Easily the cheapest and nastiest piece of mainstream celluloid ever stitched together by our mad cinematic scientists".[2] The film has spawned a 2014 remake.


In the totalitarian near future, "social deviants" are sent to prison camps for re-education and behaviour modification. The new arrivals at Camp 47 are Chris Walters (Olivia Hussey), a shopkeeper accused of helping a rebel; Rita Daniels (Lynda Stoner), a suspected prostitute; and Paul Anders (Steve Railsback), a dissident who has escaped from several other camps. After suffering brutal treatment at the hands of Camp Master Charles Thatcher (Michael Craig) and his chief enforcer, Ritter (Roger Ward), the prisoners accept a deadly deal. They will be human prey in a "turkey shoot", which Thatcher has organised for Secretary Mallory (Noel Ferrier), and VIPs Jennifer (Carmen Duncan) and Tito (Michael Petrovich). If they can evade the heavily armed guests in the surrounding jungle until sundown, Chris, Rita and Paul will be set free. As the "turkey shoot" progresses, the tables are turned, and the prisoners become the hunters, culminating in a free-for-all slaughter terminated by a government napalm airstrike.



According to Brian Trenchard-Smith, the film was always meant to be a satire.

The original script was sort of like I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang meets The Most Dangerous Game, with 70 pages of Chain Gang and Most Dangerous Game lasted about 35 pages. I didn't think that was good balance. Also it was set in the depression era Deep South. We had tax based financing in place on condition that it was supposed to be set in Australia. So I suggested we set it in the future, and make it more universal. We wanted to make a tongue in cheek but gutsy action movie with subtext about corporate fascism at the beginning of the Reagan era. (He had Australia frightened...Ronald Ray Gun cartoons were often spray painted on Sydney walls in 1981) So we hired Neill & Jon to redo it. Then of course, there were days when I was writing pages myself during the shooting.[4]

Turkey Shoot was produced during the Australian film tax exemption scheme 10BA. Under 10BA film costs were subsidized by the Australian government, and directors tended to cast foreign leads in the hope of boosting success in Europe or the Americas.

The movie was shot in northern Queensland near Cairns. According to Brian Trenchard-Smith the schedule was slashed from 44 days to 28 just prior to filming.[5] David Hemmings was one of the executive producers and shot some second unit which Trenchard-Smith says caused some tension:

He did not think much of me. He knew that a Completion Guarantor had me waiting in the wings to take over an earlier film Hemmings was directing if he continued to remain behind schedule. He was having an on again off again affair with a member of the cast. When he made fun of me in front of my wife and new born son once in the production office, I poured beer on his head. He was a little more careful with me after that.[4]

Lynda Stoner had insisted on no nudity when accepted the role, but when she arrived on set she found out she was required to do some. She objected, pressure was put on her, so she compromised and did a back shot but says she always regretted it. Olivia Hussey had a miserable time during filming, hating coming to work and being terrified of the Australian bush.[6]


Turkey Shoot grossed $321,000 at the box office in Australia,[7] which is equivalent to $984,110 in 2009 dollars.

The film was released theatrically in the United States by New World Pictures as Escape 2000 in October 1983.[8]

The film was released in the UK under the opportunistic title Blood Camp Thatcher[9] referring to the cold camp commandant Charles Thatcher, rather than the then British Prime Minister.

The film was released on special edition DVD by Anchor Bay Entertainment.[10]

2008 Melbourne International Film Festival[edit]

Turkey Shoot featured in a Focus on Ozploitation collection of 1970s and 1980s Australian exploitation films, including Barry McKenzie Holds His Own, Dead End Drive-In and Razorback. These over-the-top B grade films were characterized by lashings of gratuitous sex, violence and fuel-injected muscle car mayhem which pushed the boundaries of audience taste to new limits.[11]


Joe Baltake, film critic for the Philadelphia Daily News, gave the film a negative review, describing it as a "vomitous offering" and "unfit for human consumption".[12] Bill O'Connor from the Arkon Beacon Journal called the film "garbage" and highlighted the excessive use of gore and the "wooden acting".[13] Australian film critic David Stratton also condemned the film as "a catalogue of sickening horrors", adding that "the actors involved should have been ashamed for appearing in such trash".[14]


A remake of Turkey Shoot was released in 2014. It was directed by Jon Hewitt and also produced by Antony I. Ginnane, with Trenchard-Smith serving as executive producer.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Greg Kerr, "Turkey Shoot", Australian Film 1978-1992, Oxford Uni Press 1993 p 114
  2. ^ Turkey Shoot, 1982 AskMen.com
  3. ^ "Lynda Stoner shoot for stardom". The Australian Women's Weekly. National Library of Australia. 11 November 1981. p. 132. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  4. ^ a b 'INTERVIEW: DIRECTOR BRIAN TRENCHARD-SMITH (NIGHT OF THE DEMONS 2)', Joblo Aug. 5, 2011 accessed 21 October 2012
  5. ^ Brian Trenchard-Smith, 'No Film for Chickens', ACMI, 23 June 2009 Archived 28 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine. accessed 28 September 2012
  6. ^ Turkey Shoot: Blood and Thunder Memories (Video 2003) Directed by Mark Hartley
  7. ^ Film Victoria – Australian Films at the Australian Box Office
  8. ^ "Company Credits for Escape 2000". imdb.com. Retrieved 1 April 2011. 
  9. ^ "Release Information for Escape 2000". imdb.com. Retrieved 1 April 2011. 
  10. ^ "Escape 2000". anchorbayentertainment.com. Retrieved 1 April 2011. 
  11. ^ "2008 Melbourne International Film Festival". 
  12. ^ "6 Sep 1983, Page 44 - Philadelphia Daily News at Newspapers.com". Newspapers.com. Retrieved 2016-11-29. 
  13. ^ "29 Sep 1983, Page 57 - The Akron Beacon Journal at Newspapers.com". Newspapers.com. Retrieved 2016-11-29. 
  14. ^ Shelley, Peter (2012-08-30). Australian Horror Films, 1973-2010. McFarland. ISBN 9780786489930. 
  15. ^ Exclusive pics take you on a violent "TURKEY SHOOT"


  • Mayer, Geoff (1983). Cinema Papers. School of Communication, Arts and Critical Enquiry: La Trobe University. 

External links[edit]