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Deathless Devil/Tarkan vs. The Vikings Double Feature

Review by: 
Cap'n Kunz
Release Date: 
Mondo Macabro
Aspect Ratio: 
Directed by: 
Mehmet Aslan
Yilmaz Atadeniz
Kartal Tibet
Kunt Tulgar
Bottom Line: 

From the hidden treasure trove of Turkish pop cinema our friends at Mondo Macabro have uncovered, polished up, and released to DVD a couple of real doozies that will both bewilder and delight, while eliciting many a giggle and guffaw.

First, let's start with my favorite of the two films, the delirious epic that is, Tarkan Vs. the Vikings!!

Hidden beneath a ridiculous mop of a wig, our hero Tarkan, with his two trusty wolves (who are actually just dogs) escorts the fetching Hun princess Yorka to a lightly guarded Hun fort. Shortly after their arrival, Tarkan starts with the crazy talk when he says, with a piercing stare, "Water sleeps, the enemy doesn't," Which begs the question; is something afoot, or is Tarkan's wig merely one size too small? Although the latter might be true, Tarkan's cryptic non sequitur proves prophetic when an army of be-wigged Vikings storm the Hun's fort, thus beginning a battle in which dogs are hurled through the air before latching onto a Viking throat or an unsuspecting ankle, and, amidst the clashing of weapons, women, children, and even infants meet their fate in a deliriously over-the-top fashion.

Tarkan is wounded during the battle, but is revived by one of his wolves (Kurt) only to discover his other wolf (Kurt's father) has been brutally killed by those damn Vikings. But which one? Thus, Tarkan vows to find the Viking who killed his dog (which will be tough since the Vikings keep reusing the same wigs whenever one of them dies) and avenge his death! Oh, and slightly lower on Tarkan's to-do list, our hero also plans to rescue the kidnapped Hun princess - if it's not too much trouble that is. Of course, over the course of the film trouble comes with many faces, some of those being: deadly snake-pits, a Chinese seductress, a face-eating falcon, a giant rubber octopus, not to mention an orgy wherein Viking sweat and blood flow as freely as cheap wine.

Tarkan vs. the Vikings is the kind of movie I can attempt to briefly describe, but which you must simply experience for yourself. It's not quite like anything I've ever seen, and even though it does borrow freely from multiple sources (listen for the musical themes from 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Once Upon a Time in the West to pop up in weird places {which would be any frame in the film} ) everything is haphazardly tossed into a Turkish blender, resulting in a transcendently harebrained concoction. Though at times repetitive, the film is quite action-packed and filled with the kind of whacky violence that is most likely to garner a lot of chuckles. The film's many shortcomings, which are also chuckle inducing, are more often charming than annoying and really add to the overall oddball feel of the movie.

The second feature, The Deathless Devil, while odd in its own right, is not quite as enjoyable as Tarkan Vs. the Vikings. At the beginning of the movie, the film's protagonist Tekin should be stunned to learn that his father was actually a famed, lame mask-wearing crime fighter named Copperhead, who was killed by his arch nemesis Dr. Satan, but is instead rather nonplussed by the news, and quickly dons the mask, along with the name Copperhead, and picks up where his father left off, doing battle with the evil mustachioed one.

The Deathless Devil features some nifty stunt work, a truly annoying sidekick (who thinks that he's Sherlock Homes and that he's funny), bad dialogue/acting, horrendous art direction, crappy costumes, a ludicrous story (I'm not even sure the word story really applies here) and a big cheesy robot. All of this might equal fun, and there is a good time to be had, however, I felt The Deathless Devil was lacking in comparison to Tarkan Vs. the Vikings, and simply wasn't nearly as entertaining. Nevertheless, it makes a decent double feature, and leaves one hoping that Mondo Macabro will continue to dig up some more of these Turkish delights!

All things considered, Mondo Macabro does an admirable job bringing these two ultra obscure films to DVD. In addition to the two short Pete Tombs essays that accompany each film, and the Mondo previews trailer, the disc includes a really nice documentary entitled "Turkish Pop Cinema" which highlights films and filmmakers from Turkish cinema's abundantly interesting past.

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