The Best Of Turkish Pop Cinema!
Robert I. Hedges | 12/04/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In the 1960's and 70's Turkey produced lots of ultra-cheesy action films centered on a variety of themes. These two represent two prevalent themes, "The Deathless Devil," featuring the then-popular Turkish star Kunt Tulgar, is a superhero versus supervillain fantasy tale complete with ludicrous robot, while Tarkan was a very popular comic book hero adapted to a series of films in the "Conan the Barbarian" vein.
"Tarkan vs. the Vikings" is in Turkish with subtitles (as is "The Deathless Devil") and features hilarious ritual drum playing, great costumes, and the world's most unusual haircut. It is a typical swords and sandals epic (imagine Steve Reeves in Turkey) complete with fur-lined shields and helmets with horns. The plot revolves around Tarkan's vengeance on the Vikings for the killing of his beloved dog, Kurt, and a subplot about romance with Attila the Hun's daughter.
During the course of the film, Tarkan deals with a well of snakes and fights an exceptionally ridiculous octopus (think of Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood's awful "Bride of The Monster") while fomenting rebellion and jailbreaks, committing general mayhem (complete with horrid decapitation special effects after totally bogus swordplay), and starting a food fight for women's liberation with the miniskirted Viking women at a trampoline party. (Confused?) This may be the only film in history to feature a fight between a dog and an octopus. What else could you want in a movie?
"The Deathless Devil" features the evil Dr. Satan versus Tekin, who is "The Copperhead," a superhero who fights off evil wherever it lurks. I am especially fond of Tekin's mask, which looks mostly like a Mexican wrestler. The film also features Bitik, the comic relief idiot, who enters to strains of the theme from "The Pink Panther" (I'm sure they paid for the rights to the Mancini classic.) There is a kidnapping in a bright red tanker truck (which seems like a high profile vehicle for such an endeavor) and a final fight with the lamest robot I have ever seen, and, yes, I have seen "Robot Monster." Throughout all this not even his closest friends can figure out that Tekin and "The Copperhead" are one and the same, much like "Batman."
These movies are extraordinarily cheesy, but fun to watch. Many of these films were made in Turkey, but most are long gone, and many have had all copies destroyed. I gave the DVD four stars mostly for the historical value of the material, but also due to the brainless fun of watching films of this genre. There is an additional documentary on the Turkish film industry that is brief but quite well done and captivating."
Incredibly bizarre fun
S. Boone | Louisville, KY | 07/11/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Good lord, this is out of print already? Glad I got mine when I did. This is a double feature of Turkish films from the 70's (I guess) and they're both rather astounding examples of...well, action films like you've never seen, I guess. There's an air of humor to them both that was most likely not intended, and there's more strangeness going on here than can be attributed to only a language barrier. Deathless Devil is apparently a remake of Dr. Satan (from the 40's) and features a sort of "strip tease" to "Witchita Lineman", if you can beleive that. It also features the perpetrator who is dressed rather like a Klingon pimp, for want of a better description. Tarkan vs. The Vikings features a hoard of lusty men clothed in what appear to be pastel bath rugs, doing battle and all that sort of stuff, plus it also features an incredibly terrifying (yeah right) octopus which has an inflatable head and whom victims need to assist in coiling its tentacles about them. All in all, these are incredibly fun but jaw-droppingly strange. Highly recommended for fans of strange foreign output when it comes to films."
Not all that delightful
Zoveck | Los Angeles, CA United States | 07/15/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Hats off to Mondo Macabro for making these two examples of Turkish Pop Cinema readily available for the masses in the best quality possible with english subtitles. However, these films are not going to be for everyone. They weren't for me.
Noisy, ugly and cheap are the best way to describe both films. Tarkan is based on a Turkish comic-book Conan styled hero. Filmed mostly in already existing locations, the film has a look and feel of an outdoor high school play. The music is constantly blaring the same annoying passage, the editing of the action sequences is terrible and the acting is kind of like that of an old silent movie. There's a goofy fake giant octopus and some really insipid looking costumes, but the unintenional comedy factor wears thin very quickly.
Deathless Devil is more of a spy/superhero action story, and was slightly more enjoyable for me. Again, the acting, direction, sets, photography, and sound are all very low level. Picture something like Monty Python's old TV parody bit The Bishop, but played serious (it sounds like more fun than it is, trust me). There's a huge-haired babe and an incredibly cheesy robot (at the end) in this one.
Image quality is better with Tarkan, Devil looks like it may be from a video tape source, but is still good. Both films are full screen. Sound is horrible and very grating (though probably not a reproduction flaw)- imagine the credit sequence in Borat for 90 minutes.
Also included is a pretty brief but good documentary about Turkish pop movies. An interesting point is brought up therein, that being that Turkey is a very tough country to exist in. This comes through in the film making, as the style, if you can call it that, is almost like an assault on the senses. Loud and frenzied, but with absolutely zero artistry or technical craftmanship. Some of the clips in the doc suggest there are more entertaining Turkish movies out there, but I doubt I'll be seeking them out.