You won’t believe this film, a Turkish made rip-off of THE EXORCIST. As such it’s pretty shameless, replicating scenes and dialogue from the original and even swiping the theme music. It’s also unforgettably trashy and hilarious, quite possibly a bad movie classic.
Turkish rip-offs aren’t at all uncommon, as it apparently costs the Turks less to make their own versions of successful Hollywood movies than to pay the import fees. Some of the more noteworthy entries in this ludicrous subgenre include AYSECIK IN THE LAND OF THE MAGIC DWARVES (1971), a copy of THE WIZARD OF OZ; MY FRIEND FRANKENSTEIN (1975), a take on YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN; THE EXECUTIONER (1975), which rips off DEATH WISH; THE RETURN OF SUPERMAN (1979), a rip of SUPERMAN; OMER THE TOURIST IN STAR TREK (1973), which copies STAR TREK; and the most astounding of them all, THE MAN WHO SAVED THE WORLD, a mind-scraping take on STAR WARS.
SEYTAN, from 1974, was the Turkish EXORCIST, and it’s a typically jaw-dropping display of Ed Woodian ineptitude and over-the-top hilarity—all unintentional, of course! Ironically enough, the director Metin Erksan is considered one of Turkey’s top filmmakers; I hope SEYTAN is not representative of his overall filmography!
If you’ve seen THE EXORCIST you know the story of SEYTAN, but I’ll recount it anyway: in a desert somewhere an ageing priest runs into a devil statue, while in Istanbul a young girl named Gul exhibits strange behavior. Gul’s mother is worried and calls in some doctors, who claim the girl suffers from “Psychophysically” symptoms. The docs administer several horrific medical procedures, including a spinal tap, only to conclude that there’s nothing wrong with the girl. And yet the attacks grow steadily worse until a man looking after Gul is killed. It seems that Gul is possessed by a demon.
Her mother contacts Tugrul Bilge, a defrocked preacher, in order to find an exorcist. After Gul pukes in his face Bilge agrees to help, contacting the old priest we saw in the beginning. He and Bilge conduct a lengthy exorcism on Gul, which involves holy water and the repetition of the statement “God’s grace be upon you!” Eventually the possessed Gul kills the older preacher and enters Bilge’s body, but he promptly commits suicide and everything’s alright.
Anyone wanting a good laugh need only get an eyeful of the young actress who plays the possessed girl doing what look like demonic sit-ups on her bed (in an extremely bad imitation of Linda Blair’s histrionics in THE EXORCIST). Or listen to the demonic voice that issues from her mouth, which sounds uncannily like that of Triumph the Insult Dog. Or simply gaze upon the outrageously gaudy house interiors where most of the action takes place, which contain a blue chandelier, red walls and a checkerboard floor.
Plot-wise SEYTAN follows its source very closely, although the results, as you might expect, are far cheaper and trashier. When Gul pees on the floor in the beginning (a la Ms. Blair in THE EXORCIST) it’s a disgusting greenish color, and she also pukes up a far greater concentration of pea soup than was used in the earlier film.
I do wish the filmmakers had gone easier on the music, as the tubular bells theme from THE EXORCIST is played virtually nonstop, but otherwise this is fitfully enjoyable trash. It is not recommended, however, for viewers with a low tolerance for extreme stupidity!
Director: Metin Erksan
Producer: Hulki Saner
Screenplay: Yilmaz Tumturk
(Stolen from a screenplay by William Peter Blatty)
Cinematography: Nihat Cifteoglu
Cast: Canan Perver, Cihan Unal, Meral Taygun, Agah Hun, Erol Amac, Ekrem Gokkaya, Sabahat Isik, Ahmet Kostarika, Ferdi Merter, Ergun Rona, Ismail Hakki Sen, Ali Taygun, Muzaffer Yener, Ahu Tugba