Turkey Shoot (Escape 2000) (1981)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 10-Sep-2003

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio
Featurette-Blood and Thunder memories
Featurette-A Good Soldier, with Brian Trenchard-Smith (Director)
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Barry McKenzie Holds His Own, Rock ' N' Roll High School
Trailer-Kentucky Fried Movie, Puberty Blues
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1981
Running Time 89:31 (Case: 93)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Brian Trenchard-Smith
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Steve Railsback
Olivia Hussey
Lynda Stoner
Michael Craig
Noel Ferrier
Carmen Duncan
Roger Ward
Case Amaray-Opaque-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Brian May


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

"Hunting is the national sport...and people are the prey"
 
    In an age of technological achievement, mankind has yet to change. It is the end of the 20th Century, 1995, and society is regulated and controlled by a brutal and ruthless dictatorship that commands obedience of all subjects. Those who refuse to conform are hunted down and imprisoned in re-education camps where the errant behaviour of the malcontents can be curbed and the disobedient can be made into model citizens...or so it is assumed.

    Paul Anders is a freedom fighter. Having escaped and evaded capture numerous times, Anders (Steve Railsback) has again been captured while broadcasting on an underground radio station. His message: Freedom. But his broadcast is cut short as police raid his broadcast location and take him into custody. Frustrated at the lack of control they are able to exert on Anders, the leaders of the regime decided to place the rebel in their most heavily guarded maximum security facility. Watched over with zealous dedication by Camp Master Thatcher (Michael Craig), this is a different type of camp and the rules are strict and refusal to comply is met with instant and severe consequences. While Anders has escaped from numerous installations, this one is very much a different place. The camp is surrounded with high fences topped with razor wire. There are automated machine gun turrets that can track a person with lightning speed. There are dozens of guards with dogs that can quickly track even the fastest of escapees. And the camp is located in a remote region of the country far from any civilization. It's the end of the road for all who enter, and Anders has just been introduced to his new home.

    Also transferred to this maximum security camp are Chris Walters (Olivia Hussey) and Rita Daniels (Lynda Stoner), two women caught up in the repression of society. The new camp inmates are quickly initiated into the horrific nature of the camp when a sadistic guard beats a female prisoner to death for a seemingly trifling matter. But if the new inmates think that this is as bad as it gets, they are in for a shock as Camp Master Thatcher has much more planned for the new prisoners. Thatcher proposes a deal to the new inmates: lead a party on a chase across the countryside. Escape capture until sunset and freedom is assured. Be captured and...well, you have some idea. Each of the new inmates is given a new society security pass that would ensure them safe travel within the government controlled cities. All they have to do is evade capture. Taking part in the hunt is weapons designer and horseback riding expert Jennifer (Carmen Duncan), government official Secretary Mallory (Noel Ferrier) and Tito (Michael Petrovitch). Each hunter is assigned an escapee to hunt and poaching another's prey is strongly discouraged. Each prisoner is given a head start, but each leaves at half hour intervals, therefore denying the prisoners the ability to band together for help.

    With the fugitives on the run, the hunters begin their sadistic games of cat and mouse to their barbaric and bloody conclusions. But while Camp Master Thatcher has this planned as just a 'turkey shoot', Paul Anders has another idea in mind and with the timid Chris in tow, the pair may just be able to turn the tables on their pursuers and make the hunters the hunted!

    I used to love to go to the video store as a kid. It was the early 80s and the advent of the Betamax (and later VHS) opened a veritable cornucopia of film all on tap whenever you wanted it. It was great to have such a large selection of films available. The thing was, I didn't want to watch the Academy Award Classics, I wanted the spatter. Sure you could get the classics like North by Northwest, The Godfather and Citizen Kane, but who needed that when you could get The Bronx Warriors, My Bloody Valentine, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Basket Case? It is in the spirit of these...lesser classics that we get this film. Filmed in Queensland in the early 1980s, this production had some promise. This, unfortunately, was never to eventuate.

     While the production was commissioned with a reasonable budget (just over $3,000,000), things began to go haywire as more than $700,000 was pulled from the budget after a backer withdrew their funding. This meant that the film's opening 12 to 15 pages had to be cut. These first script pages set the stage for the whole film and were meant to highlight the repressive and dictatorial regime that ruled society, but because of the budget cuts these opening scenes were far too expensive to film. The result is that the film effectively begins in the camp with little exposition as to the methods and motivations that necessitate the camp in the first place. Also showing the lack of dollars is the paltry number of extras which for the camp should have numbered around 200 but was more like 70 and at times as low as 20. This dramatic cutting of the budget had an effect on the film's director Brian Trenchard-Smith as well as some of the cast. Olivia Hussey also had some issues, though these had more to do with shooting location and her continual fear of the various nasties that Far North Queensland might throw her way. Lynda Stoner also made things interesting for the production with her refusal to 'get naked' for some shots as well as her fanatical and evangelistic espousal of radical animal rights. All of these pressures coupled with the cut budget and a director under pressure from producers to make more and more from less and less made for a less than ideal filmmaking environment.

    Fronting the film was the up and coming Steve Railsback. Fresh from his success in the much applauded film The Stunt Man the year before, Steve had come with his intense method acting and extreme behaviour that put some of the cast on edge. Having a major American star in the film surely would be a real plus for the production, but this was unfortunately not enough to save the production. The film was quickly shot and released in Australia, the U.K. and America. While the Australian and American theatrical reaction was fairly ordinary, the film garnered much popularity in the U.K. where it played to packed movie houses in the middle of winter. Now, over 20 years on, this film finally makes its appearance on the small screen on DVD. For those in the U.S., this video release would be the first opportunity for many to see the film in its uncut gory glory as the U.S. version had almost 13 minutes of splatter taken out by the censors. For us in Australia, we have always had the uncut version available on video (but I'll bet it had one of those 'Banned in Queensland' stickers on it) and now thanks to the discovery of a well preserved print of the film in the U.K. we can now 'enjoy' this film again.

    This is a real shocker, folks. As some of the cast later remarked on the production, you really have to see this film as a black comedy or farce to truly enjoy its over-the-top violence and gore. There isn't enough story here to make this a good film and instead it is just an excuse to see lots of horrific acts and scenes all strung together. Just like porn, there is a story, but it isn't the main focus and instead is a means to an end. Accept this and you might have some chance in getting something from the film, otherwise all you'll see is a real turkey.

 

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Due to the discovery of a good quality print in the U.K., we are able to have this film presented in a decent manner.

    This disc offers the film in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 with the appropriate 16x9 enhancement.

    Considering the age of the print, the budget of the film and the limitations of the equipment of the time, the image we have on offer is quite reasonable. For the most part the image is perfectly sharp and clear with an acceptable level of detail visible. Some of the finer details in long distance shots is a bit lacking, but the film used originally was probably not the best quality available and the transfer to disc isn't of Superbit quality. Shadow detail is a bit ordinary, as can be seen at 4:16, but most of the film takes place in fairly well lit conditions so the lack of shadow detail isn't a real major issue. I found no problems with low level noise.

    The colour scheme for this film was intended to be natural, and this is what comes across. This was filmed in the early 80s, so we have the usual earthy influences in the colours seen with lots of browns, reds and tans. Countering this are the solid corporate greys that adorn the buildings, walls and costumes of the hunters in the film that stand in contrast to the fleshy yellow colours of the inmate's overalls. Colour's commitment to this disc is reasonable with decent quality available throughout. This image is just that little bit faded, but this looks to be an issue with the print and not the transfer to DVD.

    This film is transferred at an average bit rate of 4.45 Mb/s, which is adequate enough to provide a watchable image over the film's 90 minutes of running time. Had this film been of more recent vintage and the print of pristine quality, I would be much more harsh on the quality of image here. The fact that this film is an early 80s budget slasher special makes me go a bit softer. There is no outright macroblocking to be seen, just a slight pixelization from time to time coupled with a moderate level of film grain. There is an aliasing shimmer present from time to time, but it is not as prevalent as I might have expected. Depending on your display device, this may or may not be as noticeable as I found it, but it was held to a moderate level. The print used for the transfer is quite clean and only the occasional nick and fleck mar the image.
 
    There are no subtitles available on this disc.

    This disc is formatted single layered and as such, there is no layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    This audio for this film is adequate, but far from top notch.

    This disc presents the film's soundtrack in English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded. This is the only audio option available on the disc.

    The dialogue quality in this film is fairly ordinary. The spoken word for the most part is understandable during the feature, but because of the limited budget and the technology available at the time, we get only an average quality audio mix here and as a result the intelligibility of the spoken word is workable but far from reference.
 
    The audio sync here is average with the sound being just that little bit out for most of the film. This is most notable with the spoken word, which seems just a fraction of a second out for most of the film. I got the impression that this film suffered from some terrible ADR, or that much of the film was re-dubbed post production for some unknown technical reason. This may not have been the case, but if it was then it would look like what we have here. It's not enough to ruin the film (it doesn't need any help), but it would have been nice to have the audio a bit more up to standard here.

    Music for this feature comes from the late film score composer Brian May. Brian will probably be remembered for his scores for Mad Max 1 and 2 as well as the 6th film in the Nightmare on Elm Street series. This is a typical early 80s electronic keyboard 'WaahWaahWaah' sound that is a bit of a laugh now but probably sounded futuristic at the time. A fairly ordinary score that nonetheless serves the film well.

    This disc offers only a Dolby Digital 2.0 mix and the only surround sound available is what your processor is able to derive from it. Using even the most advanced processing will only yield a limited atmospheric sound and the LFE content is also fairly light-on.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are a few interesting extras here, but the disc is in no way bursting at the seams.

Menu

    After the usual copyright warnings and distributor's logos, we are taken to the disc's Main Menu which offers us the following:     The menus are 16x9 enhanced with the Main Menu featuring audio from the film's soundtrack in Dolby Digital 2.0.

    Selecting the Extras icon brings up the following options:

Blood and Thunder Memories Cast Interview Featurette   -   23:46

    In the absence of an audio commentary (as is available on the Region 1 disc), this is the best look at the production from those most involved in the making of the film. Here we have Michael Craig, Roger Ward and Lynda Stoner talking about their experience in filming Turkey Shoot and how the reduction of the film's budget affected the production. Some of the film's main stars are missing from this interesting look back (Steve Railsback and Olivia Hussey are nowhere to be seen), but this is still a very interesting look at the making of the film. This featurette is presented in 1.85:1 with 16x9 enhancement. Audio is in Dolby Digital 2.0.

A Good Soldier - Director Featurette   -   9:48

    This is an interview with the film's director Brian Trenchard-Smith, who has been responsible for films such as BMX Bandits (featuring a very young Nicole Kidman), Atomic Dog and Media: The Omega Code 2. Brian has found his niche in the filmmaking world and here he explains how he did the best with what little the producers of the film allowed him to do. This featurette is presented in 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced with audio in Dolby Digital 2.0.

Theatrical Trailer   -   2:40

    Despite this film being titled Escape 2000 in the U.S., the original trailer describes the setting for the film as being in 1995. This is a fairly long trailer that covers the subject matter well and gives the viewer a real taste as to what to expect (not much). This image is a bit washed out and the colours (especially the flesh tones) are not quite right, but it is still interesting to see how the film was marketed. This feature is presented in 2.35:1 without 16x9 enhancement. Audio is in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.

Umbrella Propaganda

    Selecting this icon offers 4 trailers for films on offer from Umbrella Entertainment.

Barry McKenzie Holds his Own - Theatrical Trailer    1:12

    An interesting trailer featuring Barry Crocker and Dame Edna Everage talking about the film. Presented full frame with audio in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.

Rock 'n Roll High School - Theatrical Trailer   -   2:09

    Trailer for the 1979 film featuring the Ramones. Looks fairly ordinary. Presented in 2.35:1 without 16x9 enhancement. Audio is in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.

Kentucky Fried Movie - Theatrical Trailer   -   2:22

    A very, very guilty pleasure this film is. Actually, stuff it. I'm not guilty and I'll count this as one of my favourites, along with Amazon Women on the Moon and The Groove Tube. A great fun film filled with great stupid fun. The trailer is presented in 2.35:1 without 16x9 enhancement. Audio is in Dolby Digital 2.0.

Puberty Blues - Theatrical Trailer   -   2:12

    Trailer for the 1981 Bruce Beresford film. Nostalgia for an entire generation, and it's all here. Presented in 2.35:1, non 16x9 enhanced with audio in Dolby Digital 2.0.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     This title was release in U.S. Region 1 as Escape 2000 (the film takes place in 1995?!?) on October 21, 2003 by Anchor Bay Entertainment. Sadly, the Anchor Bay release is far superior to that which has been afforded Region 4, the film's native country.

     The Region 4 version misses out on:

     The Region 1 version misses out on:

     There is no need for debate here. By far the most desirable of versions is the Region 1 U.S. disc with the commentary being a real highlight. As the first 12 to 15 pages of the film's script were cut out, I for one would have liked to have seen the original screenplay that might have shed some light what was cut out of the final filming schedule. Coupled with a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix and a Director's Commentary and you can easily make up your mind. It would have to be the Region 1 U.S. disc, hands down.

Summary

     The title says it all, and you can see the quality on the front cover. Turkey Shoot or just plain Turkey? It's for you to decide. It will be better if you are a fan of early 80s video titles as it is probably the best light you will ever see this film in. Missed the era and want to see what your parents grew up on? Have a look...at your peril. Don't say I didn't warn you.

     The video is okay with a newly discovered 16x9 print of the original cut of the film.

     The audio is fairly ordinary with sound that seems to have been dubbed post production.

     The extras are okay with an interesting behind the scenes featurette available.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Sean Bradford (There is no bio.)
Sunday, November 16, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DVD RP-82 with DVD-Audio on board, using S-Video output
DisplayBeko TRW 325 / 32 SFT 10 76cm (32") 16x9. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderYamaha RX-V2300 Dolby Digital and dts.
AmplificationYamaha RX-V2300 110w X 6 connected via optical cable and shielded RCA (gold plated) connects for DVD-Audio
SpeakersVAF DC-X Fronts (bi-wired), VAF DC-6 Center, VAF DC-2 Rears, VAF LFE-07 Dub (Dual Amp. 80w x 2)

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Jules F

Comments (Add) NONE