Published Dec 16, 2014When Brian May was asked to compose the music for what would become one of the great Ozploitation flicks, 1982's Turkey Shoot, he had a grandiose vision. Having already made a name for himself by scoring the first two Mad Max films and 1981's Gallipoli, he planned an orchestral score to be brought to life by his frequent collaborators, the ABC Show Band. However, days before shooting would commence, the film lost almost a quarter of its funding, which led to a sweeping reallocation of resources and a reimagining of its vision.
Director Brian Trenchard-Smith was forced to axe over a dozen pages of the script, and the score would have to be largely realized electronically in order to save on personnel. As the film was pushed from a more detailed futuristic tale of corporate fascism satirising the ideals of Ronald Reagan to a more camp gore-fest in a Lucio Fulci mould, so too was the score pushed from classic orchestral to a blend of May's synth tinkering with various moonlighting members of the ABC Show Band and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, in the process reflecting more of the resulting film's increased dark humour.
Collected in a richly detailed Dual Planet gatefold pressing that features blurbs from the director, producer Antony J. Ginnane and actor Roger Ward, a concise backstory from Miles Brown (the Night Terrors), and an endorsement from Death Waltz's Spencer Hickman on the jacket, the soundtrack is presented in two sides of solid rambling sound, cues and themes mushed together into long jumbles. Knowing the backstory, it's completely understandable why the score feels so disjointed and rushed, with several sections seeming like half-realized ideas hastily hammered out, but there are some quality ideas in there that elevate the experience of the film. The score ended up like Elmer Bernstein and Goblin interpreting Phantom of the Opera, perfect for a film the director referred to as "a mash-up of 1984 at The Camp of Blood Island where they play The Most Dangerous Game," which doesn't even cover its zany werewolf action. (Dual Planet)