No sooner had [REC] hit foreign cinemas, Hollywood snapped up the rights and started a remake (Quarantine). The sad truth is: we know Hollywood will make a complete pigs ear of it, but they’re not the only ones. While Hollywood has snapped up foreign titles to redo, back in the seventies Turkey did the same with Hollywood titles.
‘How can Turkey afford to snap up Hollywood blockbusters for remake?!’ you ask.
Simple, they just do it. Permission? Pff!
It’s 1971 and a movie called ‘Aysecik ve sihirli cüceler rüyalar ülkesinde’ is released in Turkey. It’s title translates in to English as either: ‘Aysecik and the Bewitched Dwarfs in Dreamlan’ or: ‘Aysecik in the Land of the Magic Dwarfs’. It’s storyline is based on a somewhat more familiar movie called ‘The Wizard of Oz’.
To use the plot provided on IMDb: A young girl named Aysecik lives on her parents’ farm, when an animated tornado carries her and her dog Banju in their house to Rüyalar Ulkesinde (Dreamland). Seven Cüceler (dwarfs) (dressed like MGM Munchkin soldiers, only red and white) who assist the Good Witch of the North appear at various times to help. She meets a Scarecrow, an Iron Woodman, and a Cowardly Lion, and dances to music from what appears to be an invisible radio. They encounter fighting trees, a river, and a country of China dolls on their way to the Wizard, a ball of fire who sends them after the Wicked Witch who enslaves them. When the Wizard is unable to help Aysecik get home, they must journey again for help, encountering the China Country once more, and a legion of hammer-throwing cavemen. – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0066801/
Needless to say, when Turkey does a remake the budget is always somewhat on the low side. Here’s a small clip from what is more commonly known as ‘The Turkish Wizard of Oz’.
Even the dog looked embarassed to be involved in the movie.
Having managed to escape persecution from Hollywood, Turkey moved up a rung and decided to rip-off a TV series this time. Star Trek. 1973 brought the world ‘Turist Ömer Uzay Yolunda‘ (also known as ‘Ömer the Tourist in Star Trek‘. A film so good that it left IMDb speechless and only able to say:
The Enterprise picks up a Turkish hobo.
Very in depth. An IMDb reviewer has a better plot outline:
The viewer is treated to an outsider’s view of the Star Trek universe, as a Turkish slapstick comedian (Turist Ömer) escapes a shotgun wedding thanks to the timely intervention of the starship Enterprise. Borrowing shamelessly from several classic Star Trek episodes (particularly Star Trek’s first broadcast episode “The Man Trap”) an ability to speak Turkish is not necessary for Star Trek fans to be able to follow the plot, although it may well baffle non-Trekkies. In fact, picking out the various homages (and deciding which characters are being depicted by the actors) may well be one of the most enjoyable aspects.
Interspersed with the familiar scenes are more bizarre sequences, involving a mad scientist (a dead ringer for Alfred Ryder, who played Dr. Crater in “The Man Trap”), as well robots in loincloths, bikini-clad alien girls, and some of the most hilariously bad pre-digital special effects ever committed to film.
Teleporting to you from YouTube… a clip of ‘Turist Ömer Uzay Yolunda‘
Not much I can say here, it looks just as bad as the US TV series did!
1973 also saw, not a remake, but a ‘reimagining’ (as Hollywood now likes to call it’s remakes) of famous American symbols such as Captain America and Spiderman.
The plot (and I use the word loosely here) according to IMDb is: Istanbul is being terrorized by a crime wave, and the police call in American superhero Captain America and Mexican wrestler Santo to put a stop to it.
Why they chose a Mexican wrestler is a mystery, but what that plot synopsis fails to mention is that the crime wave is being masterminded by Spiderman!
No, seriously! Spiderman is the mad, murdering, criminal!
It’s Turkish title can be translated as: ‘3 Mighty Men’, ‘Captain America and Santo vs. Spider-Man’, or: ‘Three Giant Men’. No matter which English title you choose this is a NO budget movie.
It is most notorious for its portrayal of Spiderman as being an evil murderer. It’s also known as the Turkish movie with three men in costumes prancing about. Also, for some reason Spiderman has the eyeholes cut from his face mask to reveal rather overly bushy eyebrows. I’m not sure if this is some hidden, Turkish, meaning, but it’s weird.
Through the power of YouTube, behold the evilness of Spiderman:
The next big title to be butchered remade, was The Exorcist. Seytan was unleashed to the (Turkish) world in 1974. Again, with no budget, the Turks attempted to create their version of possession.
‘…a 12 year old girl named Gul, living with her mother in a cozy, high society life in Istambul becomes possessed by the Satan himself through a Ouija board and a troubled psychiatrist and an experienced exorcist become the girl’s only hope for salvation.‘
The Exorcist is also fondly remembered for it’s use of Tubular Bells in it’s score. Seytan also uses it. Muchly. In fact, it pretty much plays Tubular Bells on a loop for the entire film.
‘Special Effects’ are pretty much non exisistant, the girl playing the part of ‘Megan’ looks like she’s had Rice Crispies glued to her face.
Using a Ouija board on the intarwebz we summoned up a clip of Seytan:
The power of Christ compels you! (to go away).
Even comic book characters weren’t safe, as we know from 3 Dev Adam, and in 1979 they decided to work their magic on Superman. ‘Süpermen dönüyor‘, as it was affectionately called, was (according to the almighty IMDb):
After a mysterious prologue in a Christmas tree ornaments-filled “starscape”, Turkish Clark Kent is told by his parents that he is an Alien from space and that he must leave to accomplish his destiny. They give him a green gem which he takes into a nearby cave. There, Jor-El, minus half of his front teeth, appears and reveals to Clark that he is Superman.
I think this IMDb reviewer maybe somewhat sarcastic: ‘The visual effects. Perhaps the best special effects I’ve ever seen in a movie.The sound design. The sound effects complement the action perfectly making everything twice as exciting.’
Well, I hope he’s sarcastic, if not, he’s barking mad.
While scouring YouTube, with my underpants on the outside of my trousers, I found:
Yes, they even stole the music…
Anyone growing up in the eighties (ie: me) will remember a little film called Star Wars. It made ‘some’ money at the box office so it was definitely up for grabs in Turkish thinking. And lo, 1982 gave birth to ‘Dünyayi kurtaran adam‘. Sometimes known as ‘The Man Who Saves the World‘, we know it as ‘The Turkish Star Wars’. I’m not quite sure why as it doesn’t look anything like Star Wars…
This film differed from the rest in that the Turks’ balls had grown substantially and, not content with stealing the basic idea from Hollywood, they needed music. So they just stole the music from Raiders of the Lost Ark, Flash Gordon, Planet of the Apes (the list goes on) and used them. Those quick thnking Turks!
The almighty IMDb is lost for words on Dünyayi kurtaran adam, and has no plot details what so ever, so… after using some Google ninja skills:
The film follows the adventures of two comrades, Murat (Ark?n) and Ali (Akkaya), whose ships crash on a desert planet following a space battle that apparently inserts footage from the actual Star Wars films as well as newsreel clips of both Soviet and American space rockets. While in the desert one of them says that perhaps it is a planet only populated by women, so the other man begins to do his whistle which he uses to attract women. However, he uses the wrong whistle, and they are then assaulted by skeletons on horseback. For more thrilling plot details, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C3%BCnyay%C4%B1_Kurtaran_Adam
I see what you mean IMDb, I’m speechless too…
Having ‘duplicated’ the massive Star Wars, the Turks kept the bar high and in 1983 they lovingly recreated ‘ET‘ as ‘Badi‘. One IMDb reviewer describes the plot as:
The story concerns a three-foot alien who gets stranded on Earth and befriends a young boy. The plot is completely derivative of Spielberg’s yarn, and the special effects have to be seen to be believed. The alien character, named “Badi”, is made up of a midget inside an extremely disturbing rubber mask.
Hang on, ‘a midget inside an extremely disturbing rubber mask’? Is this the Turkish ET, or the American ET?
Badi is indeed a bad-i, as the above reviewer put it: This is worth seeing only for the horrifying rubber-faced Badi, a creature that would scare any child no matter how curious and open-minded.
Phoning home from YouTube, Badi:
So there we have it, Hollywood isn’t the only one to screw up remakes, difference is: we can look back and laugh at the terrible Turkish remakes, so at least they serve some sort of entertainment purpose. Current Hollywood remakes will be looked back on, I fear, with less favourable reviews…