Trashterpiece Theater: Exploring the Strange and Unusual Side of Cinema: Volume 6

Turkey Shoot (1982)

Ozploitation (Australian exploitation films) are a great genre to explore for weird ass stuff and director Brian Trenchard-Smith (Dead End Drive-In) has made his fair share of these flicks. Turkey Shoot AKA Escape 2000 is a dystopian film that is a combo of 1984 and The Most Dangerous Game with a giant helping of violence and ultra-gore. In an unspecified future time, people who are convicted of being a "deviant" are sentenced to work in prison camps where they are tortured for fun and forced to play sadistic games to amuse their captors. One such game has them released into the wilderness and hunted down like animals by the warden and his cronies.

Turkey Shoot is a mish-mash of different genres and tones with the first half of the film being fairly serious and the second half becoming batshit insane. For absolutely no reason at all, there is a Wolfman who dresses like an English gentleman introduced about halfway through the movie and he chases the prisoners around in a jeep. No explanation is given for his presence and, really, who cares why he's there--it's awesome! You like boobs? There's boobs! You like giant explosions and fighter jets? Turkey Shoot has you covered! There's never a dull moment from start to finish and it comes with my highest trash recommendation.

Available on Blu-ray from Severin Films.

Zombi 3 (1988)

Zombi 3 is a sequel in name only to Lucio Fulci's successful Zombi 2 and continues the "zombies on a island" motif of the previous film. Some bumbling scientists create a biological weapon called Death One and, wouldn't you know it, the damn thing gets accidentally released from the facility and contaminates an island which causes a zombie outbreak.

This film is more famous for the behind the scenes scuffle between Fulci and screenwriters Rossella Drudi and Claudio Fragasso which resulted in much of the Fulci's cut being edited down and padded out with new footage shot by Bruno Mattei. The film definitely feels like two different stories pasted together, but luckily it moves along at a brisk pace and manages to be quite entertaining. There are a lot of great gore scenes and Stefano Mainetti's super '80s score adds to the campy atmosphere. The story makes no damn sense whatsoever, but there is so much shit happening at any given second you won't notice. The ending is hilarious too. One thing about Italian horror flicks, no matter how terrible the actual movie is they always stick the landing.

Available on Blu-ray from Severin Films.

The Exterminator (1980)

This is a trashy low-budget vigilante film that stars Robert Ginty as a disgruntled Vietnam vet who is determined to exact revenge on some hoodlums that paralyzed his friend. While he starts out with that singular purpose, he starts expanding his activities to the rest of the scum destroying New York even taking down a sex slave ring in the process.

I love movies that capture the mean and grimy side of New York and The Big Apple has never looked more filthy than in this film. Garbage is laying around in the streets, prostitution is rampant, and criminals are attacking people in broad daylight. Ginty puts in an interesting performance because he's very low-key and soft spoken yet he executes thugs in cold blood and with glee. Though there is a flamethrower featured prominently on the film posters, it's not used much, however, there is an awesome gruesome kill involving a meat grinder and the beginning of the film has one of the best decapitations I have ever seen. Fans of The Punisher comic and films will find a lot to love here.

Available on Blu-ray from Arrow Films.

The Exterminator 2 (1984)

Four years after the fairly successful first film, The Cannon Group took a stab at a sequel. Robert Ginty returns as John Eastland, the pissed off vet and he has been donning a welder's mask and traveling around the city lighting thugs on fire. This time he's up against a charismatic gang leader named X (Mario Van Peebles) who is trying to take over the local illegal drug economy.

First off, this entry is way less gritty than the original film and it has that patented goofy ass Cannon feel. X likes to wear full body glitter and snazzy Mad Max-meets-aerobic-instructor outfits and Van Peebles' overacting is a glorious sight to behold. Reportedly, Cannon wasn't happy with director Mark Buntzman's original cut of the film, so they brought in a second director to add more scenes. As a result the story is a mess, but the third act is a fun, violence-filled romp. There's also way more break-dancing than you would anticipate!

Available on DVD and Blu-ray from Shout! Factory.

Demon Seed (1977)

Demon Seed is based on a Dean Koontz novel of the same name and it concerns a supercomputer AI named Proteus IV that has run amuck and is trying to impregnate his creator's wife in order to imbue a human body with his consciousness. Basically, it's a super sleazy 2001: A Space Odyssey. The wife, played by Julie Christie, has to fend off his advances even though he has trapped her in her own house via the computerized security system.

Although the premise sounds trashy, the film itself takes it dead serious and as a result it's actually quite harrowing and gripping. It's well filmed and the trippy visuals they use to conceptualize Proteus are creative. There are tons of fantastic practical effects and the synth heavy score by Jerry Felding is excellent. The third act is crazy as hell too, with an insane ending. 

Available on DVD and Blu-ray from Warner Archives.

--Michelle Kisner