Sunday, September 27, 2009

All Deviants Line Up Immediately

Brian Trenchard-Smith was a staple filmmaker of the aggressive and violent Ozploitation movement in Australia during the early 1970s and late 1980s. Dead End Drive-In trapped a young couple inside a dystopic era drive-in theater with no way out. Turkey Shoot collected an assortment of supposed rule benders in need of behavior modifications and reeducation in one of many labor camps during a totalitarian future trying to clean the land of social deviants.

Both films present outlandish characters and situations, and play somewhat like Troma films, but on steroids. Dead End Drive-In had a mixed assortment of strange people similar to the gang of cretins in Lloyd Kaufman's classic Class of Nuke 'Em High. And with what seem to be slightly bigger budgets, the Aussie exploitation films are able to grab a few names, like Olivia Hussey for Turkey Shoot.

Turkey Shoot surely reigns as the more infamous title of the two Trenchard-Smith films. The film is a twisted version of The Most Dangerous game, with five prisoners being selected to be part of a special hunt. What keeps this version of the classic story from being another formulaic reproduction is the whole manner of the hunt, and the weapons that go along with it. And you can't forget the brutality.

A slimy redhead gets himself hunted by a suave hunter driving some kind of bulldozer accompanied by a cannibalistic sideshow freak he managed to pick up on the way there. A blond bombshell is being tracked down by a horse-riding woman complete with bow and a few various types of arrows. I think you get the idea.

Blood and guts abound, Turkey Shoot really doesn't stop short of providing memorable kills. The film also does serve as a genuine reminder of prison abuse and punishment, with some sadistic and disturbing prison sequences. Turkey Shoot isn't all serious, but Dead End Drive-In certainly provides more schlocky humor than the sadistic hunting film does.

Now, these are the only two Trenchard-Smith films I've seen, but all first reaction leads me to wanting more and more. Who knows what other films by one of the better Ozploitation filmmakers have to offer, but I know I want to take a look.


Micah said...

Great review. I'm on a BTS bender right now... so far I've seen 16 of his films. If you're looking for more BTS, check out Man From Hong Kong and Deathcheaters. Two of his best. He also directed the above-average 80s-style Night of the Demons 2 (1994)

Michael Walsh said...

Thanks for the recommendations! I've seen the first Night of the Demons so I'll have to give his sequel a go. Thanks!