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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

DVD REVIEW: Turkish Horror Double-Bill

Onar films have been the front runner in releasing Turkish Exploitation films, since, well, forever. Their consistency and determination to release such rare titles are both commendable and downright amazing. Their fantastic releases range from the Superhero films of 3 DEV ADAM to the madness of the KILINK action pieces. Their final product as always been one of quality and satisfaction, showcasing to the world the strange world of Turkish Cinema.

Today we take a look at their first foray into the Turkish horror genre. Onar films decided to pack a Double-Bill with their horror entry. First being a 1970 Gothic picture, THE DEAD DON'T TALK. Second, being an insane 1972 giallo, THIRSTY FOR LOVE, SEX, AND MURDER. Limited to 1200 pieces.


We'll start with the first. THE DEAD DON' TALK tells a strange tale of a haunted house in the outskirts of the country. A couple decides to spend the night within the house due to rather unfortunate circumstances, leading an awakening of ghoul-like ghost lusting for murder and death.

THE DEAD DON'T TALK is a competent Turkish production. It builds some fun spooky atmosphere under some creative cinematography. The film almost plays like a slow tripped out Hammer production laced with sprinkles of exploitation values. Not much happens in the film overall, other than some nicely built atmospheric sequences, the film just feels somewhat boring and generally uninteresting.

They are few exciting moments muddled throughout the feature. The ghastly villain randomly pops up throughout the film to scare our protagonists, queuing the soundtrack to play the famous 2001: SPACE ODYSSEY theme. Very odd indeed! The mysterious butler found within in the haunted mansion is fantastic in almost all respects. He overdoes almost everything. With his ridiculous eye-catching stares, unique posture, and an amazing echoing voice, he brilliantly captures the over-the-top flavor.

THE DEAD DON'T TALK is minor film from Turkish cannon. It's not a masterpiece by any stretch, but does contain the right ingredients for a somewhat enjoyable rainy afternoon.

Our second and final feature on the disc is the 1972 Turkish giallo, THIRSTY FOR LOVE, SEX, AND MURDER. TFLSM is basically a remake of the brilliant Sergio Martino giallo, THE STRANGE VICE OF WARDH. It tells the same story of a married woman, who begins to find mysterious notes from her past sado-masochistic boyfriend lusting for her to return. As blood begins to spill, horror dominates the stage, and TFLSM turns into a whirlwind of madness.

TFLSM is without question, BRILLIANT. It is a fantastically fun ordeal and one of the most enjoyable films I have seen in quite some time. The appeal is so downright wide open, it's impossible not to enjoy this film in some way. It has crazy characters, stylish giallo-equse murder sequences, typical great exploitation music, beautiful euro-women, and the most hilarious interrogation scenes ever filmed.

What made the film even more enjoyable was the fact that I love the original giallo so much. Watching how the Turks transform some of the original ideas and play with others is so damn fun and exciting. Seeing who they chose for George Hilton's role and how they piece their way through the same maze I'd seen Martino work through is just such gratifying and fulfilling experience.

I also love how the film loses its entire giallo/horror atmosphere and plot randomly in the last 5 mins. to go for a straight hard-boiled martial arts action ending.

The only downside is the film loses some of its steam midway through, but manages in the end to comeback to exploitation greatness in the final sequences.

At 57 mins. TFLSM is Turkish Exploitation at its best. This is what I would kill to see from the rest of these crazy films. It's exciting, horrific, sexy, mad, bloody, hilarious, with a sprinkle of TURKISH DELIGHT on top.

A double Bill of the STRANGE VICE OF MRS.WARDH and THIRSY FOR LOVE, SEX, AND MURDER is downright essential.

VIDEO: The quality for both films are highly damaged with faded colors, but it is forgivable considering the circumstances. Considering how rare these films are, it’s a joy just to have them at all.

AUDIO: Cracks, hisses, and pops are constant throughout both films, with sound dropping out at numerous points. Again the quality is not up to standard, but for reasons above I fully understand and therefore am more lenient.

SUBTITLES: No problems. They do the job in getting the overall tone of what is needed. Very few grammatical mistakes.

EXTRAS: Onar Films really shine here.

1) First you get some trailers from Onar Films other their DVD releases, showing what other delights they have to offer.

2) A very in-depth interview with Aytekin Akkaya, the lead from THE DEAD DON'T TALK. He discusses all aspects of his career and influences on himself and Turkish cinema. Very informative and enjoyable.

3) Without question, the best extra on the disc is the fantastic interview with Metin Demirhan and Giovanni Scognamillo, co-authors of the book TURKISH FANTASTIC CINEMA. They are extremely interesting in chronicling the history of Turkish Exploitation Cinema and how it’s developed over the years. They discuss numerous films, include clips, and give the viewer a very good taste of what Turkish cinema is all about. Great Stuff!

You can tell that since Onar Films were tied with the A/V materials, they boosted their performance in Extras department to a great level.

OVERALL: Onar films have fantastically presented to the world two very different films. They represent a side of cinema not vocal in the media. Although one is far weaker than the other, together they wonderful and mad pieces of Exploitation Cinema. Anyone with such interest in these titles owe it to themselves to bite into this Double-Bill, and let the TURKISH DELIGHTS drip from your mouth.

It's been said that Onar Films have been going through some difficult times recently. With sales not up to scratch and overall interest in their releases not up to standard, their stability has been wary. This is very unfortunate, and it is up to us fans to support the films that we love so much. How do expect to have Onar films continue releasing such films if we do not support them? LETS SHOW THEM THE LOVE THEY RIGHTFULLY DESERVE.

They have an extraordinary release of the TURKISH DEATH WISH this October, which promises to be AMAZING.


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