For some time now indie Greek DVD company Onar Films have been sending genre fans giddy with a slowly growing catalogue of truly obscure DVD releases - and we're not talking slightly obscure titles that after an initial airing show up on every region format, no these are the sort of rarities that are borderline litigious for their delightful plagiarism that couldn't be barely found on videotape let alone with any form of English subtitles. To date, we've been truly pandered with a giddy collection of fantastically deranged superhero delights such as the Kilink series and the legendary 3 Dev Adam (the film that sees Spiderman do things even the worst Bond baddy wouldn't dare doing!) but at last now Onar Films have turned their attention to the virtually non-existent Turkish horror scene…Onar's double bill DVD release 'Turkish Horror Double Bill' is an intriguing mix of both the best and worst the Turkish horror scene has to offer which along with extensive interview extras perhaps encompasses just why in Turkey the horror scene has yet to truly be discovered.
Kicking off with Yavuz Yalinkilic's 1970 movie 'The Dead Don't Talk' (Oluler Konusmazki) we are treated to a vintage Turkish take on the gothic chiller, but here without the chills! Shot competently in black and white, the film opens as a young couple are met by a carriage whose driver repeatedly warns in fear that today being the 15th he wants to get home sharpish, so hurries them to their ghostly mansion guest house where they are met by their creepy host who after feeding them takes the female guest downstairs to show her his 'memories' (a painting of his long lost love) before reducing himself to a gibbering wreck rambling that they all leave him eventually. Things go somewhat doowally herein as a man in a long raincoat and hat lumbers about arms outstretched after the guests wailing incessantly the classic stereotype 'mwahahaha' ghostly cackle that we're likely to hear in any standard episode of Scooby Doo (to the strains of an overly familiar Strauss Space Odyssey theme!) Soon afterwards a young(ish) new female teacher arrives in town and takes up residence at the ghostly guesthouse mansion only for her too to be offered to see the delights of her hosts 'memories', more wailing ghostly antics ensue before the slightly more savvy teacher seeks support from some of the local gents in tackling the ghostly goings-on! 'The Dead Don't Talk' is a strange beast indeed - on one hand, some of the visual imagery throughout the film is first rate indeed with Yavuz Yalinkilic showing great skill in replicating the feel of a classic gothic chiller…on the other hand though the film as a whole is perhaps so mind numbingly incompetent as a whole it could only be redeemed for its mass of unintentional humour for the midnight movie stoner brigade amongst you. At one point when one of the leads is asked what's bothering him he stares blankly into space looking lost stating that he just can't comprehend what's going on and for many watching you may feel the same. 'The Dead Don't Talk' and here they literally don't, just shuffle around cackling like a gothic raincoated Spike Milligan - an interesting curio which goes some way to explain why horror never has taken off in Turkey but strictly for the stoned and forgiving.
'Thirsty For Love Sex and Murder' on the other hand is very much worth this DVD's entry price alone! Playing like an unseen sleazy giallo gem, Mehmet Aslan's 1972 perverted slasher 'Thirsty For Love Sex and Murder' (Aska Susayanlar Seks ve Cinayet) kicks off in great form as a hitchhiking damsel is chased into the woods by the classically styled black gloved giallo killer who after forcing her to strip off slashes her savagely (complete with the ever popular censor baiting blood spraying across the breasts) to death with his open razor. The film wastes absolutely no time whatsoever in both establishing the plot core but by driving its twists and turns on with great aplomb and doing so in such an overtly sleazy style you'll likely have not seen a giallo so down and dirty since the seminal sleaze opus 'Giallo in Venice'. The core of the story is set around the very beautiful Mine (yes that's her name, sadly not a declaration of my ownership) who is trying to return her life to some form of normality after a brutal sexual assault which she only survived by defending herself with a broken bottle which she scarred her attacked with. It seems though that the sexual serial killer that is attacking women with his razor also sports a scar on his face similar to where Mine had inflicted the wound on her own assailant. The body count piles up and the plot teases you with the finger of suspicion so confidently that you can have no doubt that director Mehmet Aslan must have consumed a large number of giallo greats before going into production with this deliriously sleazy gem. Sure some viewers may ask why we get scenes of girls ripping their skimpy dresses off and wrestling for no apparent reason but along with the reams of plagiarized giallo gold (right down to the snazzy stolen giallo score) any fan of the genre worth their salt simply cannot deny their appreciation for such a gutsy production. Whilst the number of giallo movies available on DVD continues to grow, the availability here of what perhaps is the only Turkish giallo makes this an essential addition to any collection.
Presentation wise, this is value for money all the way. The prints on show are what you should expect for movies that are so damn ridicuosly rare. 'The Dead Don't Talk' is surprisingly strong showing off the black and white photography very well indeed with only some brightness contrast issues during some of the daylight sequences. 'Thirsty For Love Sex and Murder' on the other hand is a mixed bag with some moments of print damage noticeable but again in the main a strong enough presentation not too detract from your viewing pleasure. Audio on both movies is clear enough original Turkish language with clear optional English subtitles throughout.
Not content with offering a double bill of exploitation goodness Onar Films really push the boat out with some cracking extra features also. There are three interview segments, the first two though (with Metim Demirhan and Giovanni Scognamillo) cover much of the same, albeit informative, ground but it is the lengthy interview with actor Aytekin Akkaya that steals the show as he candidly discusses not only his own career in Turkish movies but the scene as a whole making for 45 minutes or so of essential viewing for anyone with even a passing interest. Also included are extensive galleries of both Akkaya's work but the Turkish horror scene along with trailers for other Turkish exploitation movies and nice English language biographies of both films directors.
Available in a numbered limited run of only 1200, Onar's DVD release of 'Turkish Horror Double Bill' is yet another deliriously fun package that even just for the sleazy giallo fun that is 'Thirsty For Love Sex and Murder' is worth the purchase alone. Order your copy right now from Onar's official site here.
Review by Alan Simpson
|Released by Onar Films|
|Region All - NTSC|
|see main review|