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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cinematic Turkeys

Donna Lethal's Phillipine movie advertisements got my brain a bubbling about bizarre foreign films. Turkey has a well deserved reputation for having turned out.. well, some cinematic turkeys. During the 1970's, Turkish cinemas were flooded with a wide assortment of 'reinterpretations' of Hollywood films. Often these celluloid clones featured soundtracks and large chunks of footage from their original sources. Unfortunately, much of what survives today, represents a small portion of what filmmakers were churning out during the heyday of Turkish moviemaking. It's hard not to enjoy the downright surreal hodgepodge of American icons shoehorned into low budget, low concept scenarios. YouTube has a decent selection of clips, a few of which are posted below. Two DVD companies I am aware of that have Turkish offerings include MONDO MACABRO and ONAR FILMS. MONDO has a great all region double bill of THE DEATHLESS DEVIL and TARKAN VERSUS THE VIKINGS, both of which are of a reasonable quality. ONAR is based in Greece with a modest library of Turkish films like 3 DEV ADAM and TURKISH SUPERMAN. DVD's from ONAR are PAL format and the quality can be pretty damn rough, however they may be the only venue for some titles.

In 3 DEV ADAM, Spider Man is not living with Aunt May or struggling with his awkwardness around Mary Jane - he's one evil sum' bitch and he's not afraid to prove it by taking a girl's face off with a boat propeller. Captain America and Santos arrive in country at the request of authorities and will not rest until the psychotic webhead's crime ring is smashed.

Oodles more action than Singer's SUPERMAN RETURNS. Is it just me or does it look like TURKISH SUPERMAN is sucking in his gut and holding his breath every time he has a frontal shot?

Training montages are an essential component of any action film and TURKISH STAR WARS is no exception. Hang through the first few minutes to see our hero really take it to the limit! (new music added to the Youtube clip)

New to me - this clip of TURKISH RAMBO features a climatic orgy of gun violence as our bare chested, headband sporting he-man scurries about blasting off his RPG only to find additional rounds for his weapon wherever he kneels. I want more!

TARKAN VS THE VIKINGS is a homegrown hero that adventures about Europe with his faithful dog and faces off against the vicious Vikings. Despite lots of goofy props like the cephalopod in the clip below, TARKAN has a genuine core of Turkish values which are fascinating for this North American viewer.