Does one hilarious moment make up for an entire two hours of shamelessness? I’d say yes.It’s Turkey Week! Well, not really. I guess I can’t really go ahead and review the other three Turkish movies I’ve seen: 3 Dev Adam (Captain America and El Santo vs. Spider-Man), Dunyayi Kurtaran Adam (Turkish Star Wars), and Turist Omer Uzay Yolunda (Turkish Star Trek). I really love Turkish movies, though, and if I could I would dedicate my life to tracking down every single Turkish parody, remake, rip-off, etcetera of American Hollywood cinema. I’ve sworn to myself that Turkish Halloween is in the cards. I was hooked after Dunyayi Kurtaran Adam, which is probably in my top ten favorite movies. (Though, typically, I don’t like having favorites.)
Seytan—well, it’s pretty obvious what it means in Turkish. Seytan happens to be Turkish Exorcist, and is remarkable in the fact that it’s actually better than the sequels to The Exorcist. If that comment seems a little below-the-belt, that’s because it is. Although James Earl Jones and the locusts do make me smile from time to time.
Like the Badi-E.T. equation, I’ve never seen The Exorcist, only the sequels. And, like that aforementioned equation, I’m prepped to take my tomatoes as a result. Keep in mind, I love William Blatty’s original novel—that’s one of my favorite horror novels of all time, if not the favorite.
A girl named Gul gets possessed by Seytan, after a sheikh digs up a statue in the desert. Her mother, Ayten, after reading a book called Seytan by Tugrul Bilge (whatta name!), tries desperately to save her. Along the way, we get to reenact a bunch of scenes from The Exorcist, including the staircase-piss scene, the vagina mutilation scene (which, thankfully, we never actually see), and the head-spinning scene. There are also scenes where Gul just jumps on the bed screaming and scenes where she is completely possessed by the demon, which causes tentacles to grow out of her nose. And, of course, there’s The Scene. I’ll get to that later. It needs to be savored.
For now I’ll cover the subtitles of the Alpha Video DVD I have here. They are amazing, in every sense of the word. Probably translated by the same people who wrote the script, Seytan has subtitles that rival those of another favorite of mine, Star War The Third Gathers: Backstroke of the West—though not as hilarious. The charm comes from the fact that the subtitles are occasionally not translated, and we get a transliteration of how the actors pronounce their lines. In these cases, the person who was doing the translation just puts “What?” underneath, to indicate that even they don’t know what the hell the actors are supposed to be saying. Other times, we just get ridiculously bad grammar and even ridiculously bad noun placement (see that first pic above; and that is a dude) that indicates English as a second language. What a bounty!
Another detail: I love the actress who plays Gul. Seriously. Her idea of possession is to stare into the camera with the craziest face possible. And, she pulls it off magnificently—she doesn’t just look possessed, she looks completely out of her mind. Her expressions are amazing even when her dialogue is terrible (natch).
And finally, there is The Scene. There’s always That Scene in movies; one which is just so funny you have to back it up and watch it again, first to believe it’s real, and second to
laugh again and again. It works best when it’s unintentional; it works beautifully when it’s unintentional. So, this is quite possibly the Perfect Scene. A man is hypnotizing Gul to talk to Seytan. She seems to not want the demon to talk to him, but gives in after a while. The demon possesses Gul and starts answering questions. Eventually, though, enough is enough, and it balls up one of Gul’s fists. Then, the hypnotist gets punched in the crotch.
And he screams.My God, does he scream. And it is the greatest thing ever. It must be seen to believe, truthfully.So, then, is Seytan worth it? Duh. Screw The Exorcist, this is gold. Is it shameful? Well, of course—no honor amongst thieves, after all. But is it worth it? Even for something beyond The Scene (if such things exist)? Well, of course. Find it, steal it, kill for it…see Seytan as soon as you can.