KartalYuvasiIf you know this film at all it’s as the “Turkish STRAW DOGS,” it being an unauthorized Turkish remake of Sam Peckinpah’s 1971 classic. It’s pretty typical Turkish B-movie fare, meaning if you like your exploitation stark, sleazy and in your face this film is for you!

Turkish rip-offs were not at all uncommon in the 1970s and 80s. At the time Turkish moviemakers found it more economical to create their own homegrown versions of Hollywood blockbusters rather than pay the export fees, resulting in Turkish versions of THE EXORCIST (SEYTAN, 1974), STAR WARS (DUNYAYI KURTARAN ADAM, 1982), SUPERMAN (SUPERMAN DONUYOR, 1979), STAR TREK (TURIST OMER UZAY YOLU’NDA, 1973), DEATH WISH (CELLAT, 1975), E.T. (BADI, 1983) and KARTAL YUVASI, the 1974 film under review here. Like its fellows, it’s cheap and trashy to an absurd degree, providing plenty of bad movie fun. Plus it’s far superior to the “official” 2011 STRAW DOGS remake.

A strapping young man steps off a plane in a rural town, together with his hot blond wife and her elderly mother. This place is seemingly populated entirely by blank-faced cretins. On his first day in town the man nearly gets into a fight with one of the locals in a bar and, being an idiot, hires several of those same locals to fix up the roof of his barn while he leaves town.

The men all have eyes for their employer’s blond wife. They lure her into the barn, where they make their none-too-refined intentions clear, and a bit later return with guns. The goons terrorize the blond and her mother over the following day, nearly running them down with a tractor and killing the family cat before viciously gang raping the young blond. They also take some time to kick the shit out of a local retarded man, who the following night molests a teen girl. One of the goons takes the opportunity to have his way with the girl, but kills her in the process and pins the blame on the halfwit.

Driving back from a church service, the blond and her mother happen upon the halfwit and take him back to their home. The goons are in hot pursuit, and demand the women turn over their charge. The fact that the latter steadfastly denies having murdered the girl sways the old woman, who orders the goons off her property. They in turn commence a violent siege against the house, which the women just as violently resist with boiled water, fire, an axe and a handy bear trap!

Viewers familiar with Sam Peckinpah’s STRAW DOGS (or the novel that inspired it, Gordon Williams’ SIEGE OF TRENCHER’S FARM), will note that KARTAL YUVASI’S narrative follows Peckinpah’s fairly closely, albeit without the male protagonist so integral to the former film. STRAW DOGS’ subtlety and complexity have likewise been jettisoned, and the action severely compressed (with the timeline pared down to 2-3 days). That’s to be expected: Turkish exploitation films are among the most trashy and unadorned in existence, with the emphasis on cheapjack sensationalism.

The infamous gang rape scene of STRAW DOGS is mirrored in this film, which far outdoes the former in viciousness and brutality—and, adding to the offensiveness, it’s juxtaposed with the graphically depicted birth of a child. The climactic siege is also far more brutal and outrageous than that of STRAW DOGS, with bloody beatings, shootings and stabbings—documentary war footage is even intercut with the action, apparently to enhance the brutality.

What KARTAL YUVASI has in its favor, in addition to a lot of unintentional hilarity, is a full blast of the type of low rent trashiness that only a Turkish film can provide. The fact that the only extant prints of the film are severely faded and scratched only enhances the seedy fun. Does KARTAL YUVASI add anything especially noteworthy to Sam Peckinpah’s classic? No, but it does give the material an unforgettable working-over!

Vital Statistics

Cagman Film

Director: Natuk Baytan
Screenplay: Tareik Dursun Kakinc
Cinematography: Cahit Engin
Cast: Yildiz Kenter, Cemil Sahbaz, Ceyda Karahan, Ulku Akbaba, Tgurker Tekin, Dincer Cekmez, Metin Cekmez, Oktar Durukan, Mete Sezer, Coskun Gogen