Friday, May 1, 2009

"Turkey Shoot" (1982, B. Trenchard-Smith)

Brian Trenchard-Smith ventures into The Most Dangerous Game (1932) territory, exchanging its philosophical generalizations about human nature for a ridiculously overblown commentary on the Thatcher era. It’s the kind of film Ken Loach would have made after having a lobotomy: that is, if nothing were left of his sensitivity, and all he had to work with was the belief in the evil of the British state.

Turkey Shoot takes place in Britain driven by fear of “deviants”, a category too vague to be comprehended by those classified as such (or by those watching the movie). “Deviants” are put to camps, and then some of them are made into a human game, to be shot on a whim by the establishment crowd.

The camp, unlike most real ones, doesn’t thrive on a (however twisted) ethos, but on pure sadism. There is no rhetoric to support its day-to-day operations, unless we count one rather pitiful effort in recreating Newspeak:

“Freedom is Obedience, Obedience is Work, Work is Life”.

The camp-runners’ sadism is completely overt; its evil fully on display. And so, when it turns out they enlisted a werewolf of sorts into their ranks, we don’t question it. It’s Saló, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975) mixed up with some stupid Mooresque (as in Alan) “revolutionary” message about an individual’s struggle against the state. When a H.G. Wells quote pops up before the end credits start rolling (“Revolution begins with misfits”), you’re puzzled by how much revolutions are like bad movies.

What I enjoyed about the film was some mythic quality to the only woman in the posse, shooting fiery arrows left and right. Also, for all you auteurists out there, it seems that the notable trait of Brian Trenchard-Smith’s oeuvre is genital mutilation, so if you were not satisfied by Leprechaun 4: In Space (1997), check out Turkey Shoot. On the second thought, if Leprechaun… wasn’t enough for ya, than you folks may be pretty much insatiable.


  1. Speaking as a Trenchard-Smith fan, I switched off Leprechaun 4 after ten minutes. What kept you watching?

    Turkey Shoot is what it is, but I prefer BMX Bandits and Dead-End Drive-In. As far as I recall, no genital mutilation in either.

  2. Jake, I will be happy to check out BMX BANDITS, have heard some good things about it.

    As for LEPRECHAUN, what kept me watching was mainly Guy Siner's "Dr. Mittenhand". I've been a Siner fan ever since I watched the BBC sitcom 'ALLO 'ALLO.