Celebrating the cinema of Turkey, the land that copyright infringement laws forgot.
We couldn’t help but laugh at the recent news story about the mayor of Batman, an actual city in Turkey that’s about the size of Glendale, Arizona, suing Warner Brother and The Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan for copyright infringement. Turns out the honorable Huseyin Kalkan wants some of the bazillion dollars that film made at the box office last summer, and even blames a number of unsolved murders and a spike in female suicides on the “psychological impact” the film has had on Batman residents. What makes this idea funny, as several other news sources have pointed out, is that we’re pretty sure they’ve heard of the Caped Crusader in Turkey.
Batman the superhero, as you probably already know, has been a comics mainstay since his 1939 debut and has starred in six other theatrical releases, several 1940s era movie serials, a 1960s television series, an amusement park ride, and more cartoons than there are Republicans in Texas. The number of action figures made in his likeness runs into the hundreds, and they’re sold the world over. Bats is so world famous, there’s even a Turkish version of the 60′s Batman television series. Like everything else ever put to film or video, there are excerpts of it available on YouTube:
Which actually brings us to a larger point: They must not have copyright regulations in Turkey, because there’s… ahem, derivatives, of most geek culture works already in place. The Turkish versions are pretty much always fast-paced and action packed, which again for the sake of polity actually means they’re really, really broad. Take for example the Turkish Star Trek:
As the clip shows, the Turkish Captain Kirk is much better at walking than most American actors, though the language barrier makes impossible any attempt at understanding why a peasant hangs out on the bridge, pestering the ostensibly more legitimate crewmembers.
And where there’s Star Trek, there has to be its dumber, often more fun cousin Star Wars, right? 1982′s Dunyayi Kurturan Adam (“The Man Who Saves The World”) used bootlegged footage from Star Wars Episode IV as well as stock footage of American and Soviet test rocket flights. The musical score to this clip’s interminable opening credits sounds like public access television music from the 0970s, and it only gets worse from there.
Not content to hit George Lucas up once, Dunyayi Kurturan Adam also pilfers the theme to Raiders of the Lost Ark as well as Battlestar Galactica. Eventually achieving cult status simply for its awfulness, it spawned a 2006 sequel, though just like Lucas’ recent efforts some fans complained the follow-up was a letdown.
Given Marvel Comics’ love for merchandising, we’re not entirely sure this next clip is even a bootleg. 3 Dev Adam (“Three Mighty Men”) was a startingly low-budget, brazenly lurid 1973 abomination depicting an ersatz Captain America stopping an evil, pudgy Spiderman ripoff from running amok through Istanbul. Cap was joined in his efforts, for some reason, by a copy of the legendary Mexican luchadore El Santo. Spiderman and his two girlfriends mostly just torture and kill people in depraved ways or have sex in front of puppets. If you’ve never seen a man killed with guinea pigs before, here’s your chance:
That’s about all we can stand this week. We’ll be back Monday with our review of Australia. Have a happy, safe holiday weekend.
- Michael Kabel