Experience the year 2000... and hope to Hell you can escape!
Year of Release: 1982
Also Known As: Turkey Shoot
Genre: Science Fiction/Horror
Running Time: 80 minutes (1:20)
Director: Brian Trenchard-Smith
Steve Railsback ... Paul Anders
Olivia Hussey ... Chris Walters
Michael Craig ... Charles Thatcher
Carmen Duncan ... Jennifer
Noel Ferrier ... Secretary Mallory
Lynda Stoner ... Rita Daniels
Roger Ward ... Chief Guard Ritter
Michael Petrovitch ... Tito
Gus Mercurio ... Red
John Ley ... Dodge
Bill Young ... Griff
The year is 1995, and the world's population lives in a lifestyle carefully designed by the strictly ordered society that governs the globe. Individuality is considered offensive and failure to conform is treated as a crime punishable by a term of rehabilitation at a B.F. Skinner Re-education and Behavior Modification Center. Persistent offenders often fail to return to the society from which they've been snatched. These misfits are knows as 'deviates'. At one of the Centers, the ultimate punishment is a manhunt in which the evil Enforcers find sport in tracking down and killing their own preselected targets. The unarmed deviates are set free to flee through the dense jungle surrounding the encampment in a flight that will end in death or freedom. The odds are stacked against them, the hunt is on, and man is the deadliest prey of all.
Escape 2000, the movie that reminds us that you can run, but ultimately, Australia's an island. You know who loves this movie? The Commies. Course, they think it's a documentary on how the world aught to work, but they love it just the same. I really don't understand why they're so obsessed with making a population of drones, couldn't they just take up bee keeping? They've also got a philosophy about all men being created equal, but they tend to crush them from above to make sure they stay that way. You know who else liked to thin out the things which are not like the other things? Only half a paragraph in an I've already Godwin'd the review, oh well. The point is, the Commies might as well crawl back into their pods from outer space, cause as long as the Steve Railsbacks of the world exist, we've got their number. What we've got here is quite possibly the best Australian made dystopian cross between The Most Dangerous Game and 1984 ever to star Steve Railsback, so you're probably already frothing at the mouth in anticipation of this veritable cornucopia of wisdom. First of all, an this is important for all you deviates out there, if you've made it clear that you aim to rape somebody, it's probably not a good idea to let their hands get anywhere near your trouser snake. It's not impossible that they may mean to give you the ole zipper circumcision. In related news, Aussies have balls of steel. I know this because this movie hates men's groins, however, not once do any of the assaulted junk regions sprout any blood. I can only surmise that the bullets are bouncing off.
Second, front end loaders don't have brakes. Important safety tip if you're planning to pinch someone between a tree and your werewolf servant accidentally gets caught between the hammer and anvil. An third, if you think rugby's violent now, in the future it's a genuine death sport. It's fun learning about other cultures isn't it? But here's one that's pretty well universal: honor among thieves is an expression, and nothing more. In this case, the sub-sect of thief to which I refer, is the politically powerful branch. Now the warden that sets up the hunt in the movie here clearly lays out the ground rules, and chief among them is no poaching. He lets each sophisto pick out their own target from the camp, but expressly forbids anyone from targeting anyone else's "turkey". And how do they repay this once in a life time deviate hunting opportunity? By shooting at the first thing they see. They fancy themselves better than the common redneck, but just like him, they shoot with no consideration for what they're shooting at. The only difference is they don't have to quickly quarter out the doe they accidentally shot an get outta there before a game warden shows up to check their tag. There's no honor among thieves. It's an antiquated phrase that needs to be flushed, an I hope all you poachers end up just like the sophistos in the movie. Lacking that, I hope you at least choke on your jerky.
The movie begins with Steve Railsback, Olivia Hussey an a blonde Aussie with huge knobs being bounced around in the back of a pedo van on their way to a concentration camp for capitalists. Olivia's only there cause she asked the Thought Police why they were kickin' the crap outta Steve, an the gal with the big bazongas (Rita) is only there because all women with big bazongas are whores. Or so us guys like to pretend. Steve on the other hand is the Fidel Castro of the group, but he keeps getting caught every time he tries to broadcast his message of resistance over the airwaves an it's happened so many times that there's a good chance he's gonna get the guillotine this time around. When their van rolls in to Ozschwitz, they all get dressed up like April O' Neil from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles an a brazen young man rolls under the van an hunkers up in the undercarriage to see if he can't sneak out. Then the gimpy prison guard, Red, comes out an starts lecturing them about being deviates an how if they wanna get out they're gonna have to behave themselves an let him stick his crippled dingy in all three of 'em. The guards are trained to set a good example an exhibit no deviate type behavior here, as you can see. So while Red starts askin' Olivia whether she's ever been with a crippled flaccid man before, the warden (Thatcher) and his fellow big wigs are inside, discussing their upcoming "game". The "game", is basically the same one Rutger Hauer an Gary Busey thrust upon Ice T in Surviving the Game, and many other imitators of the original "The Most Dangerous Game". Then Thatcher goes down into the camp an has all the deviates assemble an gets his head of security, we'll call him The Iron Sheik, to pull out a random deviate an the Sheik shadow boxes her while she tries to recite the deviate pledge of allegiance. Anytime she hangs up or loses her place the Sheik hits her in the kisser with a roundhouse right, but after awhile his hand starts hurting an he just kicks the bejezus outta her while Thatcher looks smug an glances around to make sure everyone knows he's a big man. Then they put Steve in this contraption where he has to do the dead lift all day long an Thatcher comes by an adds some more weight to the scale to see if Steve'll blow his colon outta his rectum.
But Steve's seen much worse than this an calls Thatcher a big panty waist until he leaves all dejected. Next we've got a co-ed shower scene that's considerably less rapey than what you'd get in a real prison shower, co-ed or not. Over the loud speaker we hear that sex is allowed, but that any women that get preggers are gonna get the coat hanger treatment, an any guys that knock a woman up will be bobbitized in short order. An since the likelihood of a condom machine being anywhere nearby is pretty slim, you get the impression that maybe they just have a fascination with being sex teases around here. Steve eventually comes crawling in on his face, quite a bit worse for wear, but at least he won a gold medal for Australia in the weight lifting competition. The next day, while the big wigs are figuring out who they wanna hunt, Thatcher comes down to the yard, none too thrilled. Seems they caught the guy that tried to escape from Oztanamo Bay an they're gonna make an example of him. So the guards bring out two big plastic balls with liquid inside an tell the guy to try to pick 'em up, only they play keep away with 'em, an all the while the liquid's spilling out onto the ground. After awhile the guy's pretty tuckered out, so the Sheik takes his lighter to the liquid an pretty quick the place turns into an Arab barbecue. Afterwards, Olivia still doesn't wanna shower with the other prisoners cause she was in Romeo an Juliet back in 1968 an she thinks it's beneath her. So after everyone's done, Steve stands guard while she soaps up her fun bags, only he doesn't stand guard real well cause Red an the rape brigade show up with their eye on Olivia an Red goes in to get ahold of her groceries while the others detain Steve. But Olivia's pretty sharp an she starts playing along long enough to zip Red's purple up in his zipper an he starts makin' noises like a 1977 Datsun pickup with a loose fan belt until the Sheik shows up an starts laughin' at him. The Sheik's come to make sure Olivia's unspoiled, cause the fat big wig wants to have a go at her. Either he plans to eat her or figures she's gonna have to be on top because I don't see this guy doing more than about three thrusts before the wind gets knocked outta him. Elsewhere, the Eddie Munster lookin' big wig shows off his circus freak, we'll call him, Donk, to the frigid female big wig that looks like she has Mimi from the Drew Carey Show do her make up everyday.
So with the stage set, Thatcher offers Rita, Olivia an Steve the opportunity to participate in the game, an if they escape, they live. He even gives 'em new ID as evidence that he's playing fair. All they have to do is escape. They've each been chosen by one of the big wigs, as their quarry. But the three alone aren't sufficient, as there are three big wigs an Thatcher, who is also hunting, so Thatcher adds in a troublemaker (Griff) that pissed him off a bad time, and a gangly dork named Dodge to round out the ensamble. So the next morning, Steve figures he'll go with Olivia, but no way says Thatcher, they're going one at a time, in half hour increments, and Olivia is first. Dodge second. Griff third. Rita fourth. And Steve of course, goes last. After the head start time has concluded, the big wigs an Thatcher all head out, giddy as school girls. Before long, Eddie Munster catches up with Dodge in his front end loader an has Donk tear off one of his toes so he'll have to run around gimpy for the remainder of the game, an so Donk'll stop making hungry whimpering noises. Elsewhere, Griff stomps some really obvious tracks in the ground an then back tracks in them an climbs a tree. In another location, Thatcher's got his sights on Steve, but he figures since there's still 20 minutes left in the movie he'd better just fire enough warning shots to get Steve mad enough to jump into the river. Since he can't be in two places at once, Thatcher has Red keeping an eye on Griff, but not much of one, cause when he passes below Griff's tree he gets bonzai dropped onto, groin kicked, an has his gun taken away. Back over to you, Thatcher. Steve's pissed now, his blonde locks are now soaked an as Thatcher passes below in his rig, Steve sends an avalanche down the hill an makes it impassable. Then Rita catches up with Griff but he sends her away because he's public enemy #1 an he knows she's done for if she sticks with him. And as much fun as it is watching her boobies bounce up an down every time she takes a step, he doesn't want that on his conscience So while Eddie an Donk harass Dodge some more, Mimi shows up in Griff's part of town an starts firing exploding cross bow arrows at him. As if that wasn't quite over the top enough, he's also got Thatcher on the other side of him, an he's none too thrilled about Mimi trying to kill steal his target. Back over to Eddie, where he an Donk are kinda gettin' tired of Dodge's poor performance as a target. So Eddie has Donk snap Dodge over his knee like a piece of kindling an they head out to find somebody more interesting to mutilate.
Back over at Griff's last stand, Mimi's able to stick a couple arrows through his arm while Thatcher drives his rig over Griff's mid section an gives 'em the achy breaky back. Then we head over to Olivia's situation where she's ducked down into a ditch as The Iron Sheik an the Novicorp Chairman from Overdrawn at the Memory Bank discuss how the fat man can engage in sexual relations with her without dying from heart failure. After she's able to sneak away, the two come across Red hanging upside down from a tree, with a gag in his mouth. And for good reason, as he's not able to warn them about the spiked battering ram that comes hurtling out as they try to free him an about that time Red gets a pretty good idea about what it's like to have unsolicited wood in his rectum. Back over in Steve's neck of the outback, Eddie an Donk have caught up with him an Donk's got him around the neck, held against a tree trunk. But as Eddie tries to pinch him in half with the scoop on his front end loader Steve breaks off a stick an jams it into Donk's eye socket an Eddie can't seem to remember where the brake is before Donk gets scissored in half. Then Steve sees the Sheik setting fire to the field Olivia's hiding in an heads around to the other side where the fat man's waiting in ambush. He easily out-muscles the fat man an puts a round into his testicles to give him an idea of how painful it can be to be penetrated by a tiny object an once he gets Olivia up they haul butt while the fat man gets roasted alive by the Sheik's brush fire. The Sheik's mad now, he hasn't been this pissed off since Hulk Hogan cheated him out of the heavyweight championship back at Wrestlemania an he chases Steve an Olivia down to... the shoreline. OH SNAP. They were on an island. If you can't trust your concentration camp warden that sends you out to be hunted for sport, who can you trust? Then Mimi catches up with Rita an it's hard to say whether she's gonna rape her or kill her with one of her exploding crossbow arrows. Maybe both. Yikes. Elsewhere, after Steve's grappled with the Sheik for awhile it's clear he's no match for him, an isn't about to get caught in the Camel Clutch, so he makes a run for it. But as he does, the Sheik draws his pistol an just before he's able to cap Steve, Olivia sneaks up on him an chops his hands off with the machete he left stuck in the ground. Alrighty we're getting pretty long here, so then Steve an Olivia outsmart Eddie, split his head like a melon, an take his front end loader, which has now been equipped with a .50 caliber automatic an head back to free the other prisoners an battle it out with Thatcher.
So this was a weird one. As I mentioned earlier, it's basically The Most Deadly Game meets 1984. Humans hunting humans, but in a dystopian future. Or past, as is now the case. Movies that take place in the future, but are now actually in the past are almost always fun. I guess back in the 70s and 80s, when there was a "sploitation" suffix for any movie that was somehow different from the mainstream (even in so simple a way as having been shot in a country that doesn't happen to be located in North America), this is what you'd call an "Ozploitation" movie. That's what some dinks would call it anyway. Which is not to say there aren't movies that exploit certain topics which had hitherto not been a big part of cinematic history, I just find this particular term to be a serious stretch towards a sub-genre category. They're movies made in Australia. That's it. That's their big profound difference. Yeah, that needs a sub-genre title. Do they have a Mexploitation sub-genre too just cause they're made by... I knew I shouldn't have looked that up. Of course they do. Okay this is getting ridiculous, are we this desperate to find a way to categorize things to such a minute degree that we're splitting them up by country? Is calling it a dystopian not adequate here? God damn anal retentive archivists. The idea behind "sploitation" is that it should generally involve a topic that would normally be considered sensitive. Blacksploitation was a legitimate use of the term. Nazisploitation is a legitimate useage. Sexploitation, if you go back far enough, was a legitimate usage. Ozploitation is just douchey. Not only has this horse been dead for 30 years (nothing is shocking anymore, it's all been done), but its skeleton has been fossilized and placed in the Smithsonian. And still people try to sneak into the museum an get behind the velvet rope so they can take their clubs to it. Pseudo critics, I say. Whoever came up with that term. Just because an expression hasn't been used before, doesn't mean it should be, an it certainly isn't profound, considering it's nothing more than the addition of a new prefix to a tired label. I don't care of it was 30 years ago, it's nonsense! Why don't they just label anything different "random non conformist exploitation subject #X" an go watch Citizen Kane a couple dozen more times. I may be eccentric, but I'm loyal.
So anyhow, this movie is actually pretty good. The two aforementioned movies/books from which it borrows actually blend together pretty well. You'd have to imagine that in a dystopian future, this sort of disposal of abnormals would make quite a bit of sense. So with that said, the plot will be rated highly. It borrows liberally from other source material, but that's only a bad thing if what it's borrowing from is bad. The acting is decent. Mostly what you've got here are a collection of actors an actresses that generally only appeared in Australian movies, such as this one. From silly titles like Young Einstein to big hits like Mad Max, the actors run the gamut of Australian titles from the 80s. Although the two actors brought over from the US are the best. Olivia Hussey, whom you wouldn't quite call a Horror genre actress, but close. (Black Christmas, Psycho IV, IT) And of course, one of my favorites and a fantastic character actor, Steve Railsback. (Lifeforce, Alligator II, Ed Gein, The Devil's Rejects) They're the names a horror fan will see on the cover, recognize, an pick it up for. But the supporting cast is really diverse and enjoyable to watch as well. The shooting locations are certainly interesting. From the perspective of an American that's never been to Australia, it seems highly unlikely that a rock quarry, a jungle, and a tall wheat field should be so close together, but I suppose that's probably because they weren't. Still, all adequate, and able to provide a great deal of terrain for the deviates to traverse in their attempt to escape. The soundtrack... well there's no mistaking what decade it comes from. While it's amusing and provides a nice nostalgic feeling, the truth is it's pretty bad. I couldn't help but be reminded of the Silver Shamrock jingle from Halloween III, if that brings it into perspective. I don't personally dislike it, it's fun in it's own cheesy way, but if you don't factor it in, you're otherwise looking at a movie that's almost good enough to recommend to a larger audience, when the soundtrack pipes in an causes raucous laughter amongst the audience. An how can you blame them, it's silly. Certainly doesn't ruin the movie for someone like me, but it's actually hokey enough that it on it's own, makes it so that I cannot consider the movie good. Just fun. And a lot of fun. Recommended to fans of the dystopian sub-genre. The DVD's out of print at this time, but VHS copies are still easy to come by.