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Snakes in Movies
 
Turkey Shoot (Escape 2000) (1982)
 
Spoiler Alert !

Some of these pictures and descriptions may give away plot details that you might not want to know before watching the film.
 
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"In the year 2000, the game is hunting... and people are the prey!"

This is an Australian exploitation movie that's a combination of a futuristic dystopian society movie, a prison movie, a hunting humans movie, and a revenge movie. It's set in a totalitarian society in the future. The movie begins with news footage of people rioting and fighting armored police that look like they were taken from student demonstrations of the 1960s. But we know it's set in the future because of the odd-looking cars and the strange clothing and the make-up on the women. That's all you need to do to create the future on a low budget - change the cars and women's fashion.

In this society, subversives, social deviants, and anybody in the wrong place gets sent to a behavior modification camp for re-education that will make them an asset to society. Or that's what the signs say, anyway. The camp has some unusual rules. During a scene where we see nude male and female prisoners showering together, we hear a P.A. announcement saying that promiscuity is permitted but pregancy is punishable by sterilization and castration, and homosexuality is a capitol crime. The warden's slogan, which he likes to repeat, is "Freedom is obediance. Obediance is work. Work is life." We watch the guards crack whips, torture prisoners, burn a live man to death because he tried to escape, and prepare to gang rape a woman prisoner in the shower, but the real sick monster is the camp warden. He invites his perverted friends and his boss to a "turkey shoot." Each hunter gets to choose a prisoner they want to hunt, and they each get to use any weapons they want. A woman on horseback shoots exploding arrows. A man drives a car with a machinegun and some kind of hairy wolfman he found in a freak show. The others use rifles. In the morning, the guards release the prisoners one at a time, unarmed, and the hunters chase them. But this time, the prisoners fight back and win. That's the sweet revenge fantasy part of the movie.
 
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Chris Walters is a young woman prisoner who was not a devient, she was just in the wrong place when the police grabbed her and dragged her to the camp. (She's played by Olivia Hussey, who was famous for playing Juliet as a teenager and doing nude scenes in the 1968 Romeo and Juliet movie. She's one of the two main characters. The other is Paul Anders (Steve Railsback), a revolutionary actively trying to fight the corrupt society. When we first see Chris, she is shy and withdrawn, but after hanging out with Paul for a couple of days she's shooting a high-caliber machinegun, hacking off a man's hands with a machete, and storming into the warden's quarters shooting an automatic rifle.


The Snake Scene

Before she becomes Rambo, Chris is one of four prisoners set free to be hunted down by the warden's sicko friends. We see her running through the woods from her hunter, a high-ranking politician who is the warden's boss, and his assistant, the chief guard of the camp. She sees a large dirt fissure in the ground and goes inside it to hide. But inside she finds two corpses which understandably freak her out. Then she sees a snake coming out of the eye socket of one of the skulls, and she loses it, running around the snake to get out of the fissure. She makes enough noise then that her hunters hear her and discover her location.

The snake scene is brief and insignificant, but interesting for two reasons. First, it's another scene with a snake crawling out of a skull, which is a comman image in tattoos and other illustrations. I don't know where it originated, but it seems to be a symbol of the cycle of life and death, since snakes are sometimes symbols of rebirth, due to the fact that they shed their skin, and skulls, of course, represent death. It's also just a really creepy image that appeals to those who like that sort of thing. The second reason is that, according to the IMDB trivia, Olivia Hussey was stressed when shooting on location, worrying that she was in danger from Australia's dangerous wildlife. Maybe that's why she was put in a scene with a snake - to add some real terror to her acting. But, since her role in much of this movie is to be a woman in peril, it's also possible that the snake scene is what made her so anxious about Australian wildlife.

The snake we see is some species of harmless Australian python.