Saturday, October 25, 2008

Turkey Shoot a.k.a. Escape 2000 (1982)

This was the final film screened during the Not Quite Hollywood series, and I watched it the night of the Bill Murray Experience. As a result of trying to the watch the documentary, “Not Quite Hollywood,” earlier in the evening, I ended up seeing many clips from this movie, and to be honest, I was foaming at the mouth, waiting for midnight to roll around.

The film is another work directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith and is set in the “near future” of 1995. It's a dystopian future at that, complete with a police-state concentration camp, and everything. At the beginning of the film, three new prisoners (one guy and two girls) are rounded up and shown the inner workings of the camp by the evil and sadistic head guard, Ritter (Roger Ward, giving the film's stand-out performance). Ritter is a maniacal monster and wonderful villain. The scene where he slaps a young female inmate till she's lying a pool of her own blood is intense, disturbing, yet strangely hilarious.

On the flip side, Steve Railsback's performance as Paul, the male lead, left a lot to be desired for me. He just seemed like a jerky dude. As the story progresses, we find out that our three leads are the next in line to take part in the camp's most cruel and unusual of punishments: they are to be hunted for sport. Their reward, if they survive, is that they get their freedom. The hunters, in this case, are Thatcher, the head of the camp, Ritter, and his cronies, including a freakish-wolfman-like-ogre, who rides around with him in a dune buggy. There is also a woman (played by Carmen Duncan) on the prowl with an arsenal of exploding arrows. While the hunters hunt, the prey, led by Railsback, fight back and attempt to bring forth a revolution.

As fate would have it, seeing the clips from this movie earlier in the evening turned out to work against the film for me. In other words, those sequences of sex and violence in “Not Quite Hollywood” proved to be the best “Turkey Shoot” had to offer. Seeing those moments in a montage ended up to setting my expectations entirely too high. As a result, whose to say what my response to “Turkey Shoot” would have been if I hadn't seen those clips? Judging from my friends who were with me (none of which saw “Not Quite Hollywood”), it might have been the same. All in all, this film was kind of disappointing, and was a slightly below average “Terror Thursday,” not that great, but with a few truly inspired and entertaining moments. Most of which were either provided by the creative gore effects, or most likely, the truckload of pyro that was used in this thing.

“Turkey Shoot” screened at midnight at the Alamo Ritz on 9/25/08 and was presented by Terror Thursday.

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