Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 12th, 2005
Theatrical Release Dates: 1972 (The Deathless Devil), 1971 (Tarkan Versus The Vikings)
Director: Yilmaz Atadeniz (The Deathless Devil)
Director: Mehmet Aslan (Tarkan Versus The Vikings)
Writer: Orhan Atadeniz (The Deathless Devil)
writers: Sezgin Burak, Sadik Sendil (Tarkan Versus The Vikings)
Cast: Kunt Tulgar, Mine Mutlu, Muzaffer Tema, Erol Günaydin (The Deathless Devil)
Cast: Kartal Tibet, Eva Bender, Seher Seniz, Fatma Belgen (Tarkan Versus The Vikings)
DVD Released: October 25th, 2005
Approximate Running Time: 84 & 87 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo
DVD Release: Mondo Macabro
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
Tarkan Versus The Vikings: Toro leads an army of Vikings in an attack on the fortress of Attila. The fort is not as heavily guarded as it usually is since Attila took some of the forts soldiers with him and his latest conquest. Tarkan is a bad ass barbarian warrior who has two dogs as sidekicks who follow him around. Tarkan a friend of Attila’s is visiting his fortress when then Vikings attack and he nearly looses his life during the battle. When the some clears he soon discovers one of his dogs has been killed by the Vikings and that they have kidnapped Attila’s daughter Yunca. Toro returns home glorious with Attila’s daughter now his prisoner and his first act upon retuning is to kill King Gero and declares himself the new king. After he gains his strength and heals his wounds Tarken and his last remaining dog Kurt start out on the quest for revenge against the Vikings.
This movie is reported based on a popular comic book released in Turkey. The lead character Tarkan is cut in the same mold as many Pelpum heroes’s who have come before him except his in not as ripped and muscular as say someone like Hercules. The film does lack some polish is its costumes and monsters. All the men in the film look like there are wearing bad wigs and glued on mustaches. There is also a crudely created squid like monster that is as intimidating as the squid monster used in Ed Wood’s Plan 9 from Outer Space. The sword fights look awkward at times as it is obvious that the knife isn’t penetrating any flesh.
Through out the film there are a few noticeable music clues from films like 2001 a Space Oddity and the Man with the Harmonic theme from Once Upon a Time in The West. Turkish cinema seems to have the approach that when making a film throw in everything that you can whether it works or not. Tarkan Versus the Vikings is one of those rare cinema oddities that are so bad they are good. There is something about this film that is infectious and fun despite its short comings.
The Deathless Devil: A professor has invented a device in which he can control airplanes and robots by remote control. His invention in the wrong hands could mean chaos and destruction. A heavy named Doctor Satan who covets the professors’ remote control invention. He sends assassins after the professor to and to steal his invention. Standing in Doctor Satan’s way is superhero named Copperhead who will not stop until he has ended Doctor Satan’s evil rain of terror.
The isn’t much need to reveal much more about the plot since the rest of the film is essentially Copperhead and Doctor Satan going round in circles trying to retrieve the professors remote control gadget. The Deathless devil is a product of its time as it is obviously inspired by James Bond like spy films and Italian Fumetti films like Danger Diabolik. The bad guys in this film are hilariously over the top in their evilness and the good guys at times play things a bit too straight and narrow. The action scenes in this film while not as unpolished as Tarkan Versus the Vikings are still far from the quality westerners have come to expect in action films. This film also feature music lifted from other films like the Pink Panther, The Big Gundown and the James Bond film On Her Majesties Secret Service.
There are also moments of intentional comic relief that in most instances are not as funny as they rest of the film. No spy film would be complete without sexy women ready to take their clothes off and sleep with the hero and this film has plenty of this kind of action. The killer robot looks like a man in robot suit which actually makes him appear silly looking then menacing. The Deathless Devil is bad filmmaking at its best as it breaks just about every cliché in the book and even invents some new tricks. Overall it doesn’t matter what any of the characters real motivations are because this film is just so much fun from the beginning right up to the unforgettable ending.
There is some brief text the prefaces each of these films which explains that due to the rarity of these films their quality may vary through out. Both films are presented in a full frame aspect ratio and while I am not exactly sure about what their original aspect ratio are I am still fairly certain that they weren’t meant to be seen in this ratio. They image on both never feels cramped and there is never any heads half way off the screen. Tarkan Versus the Vikings has above average colors and the image has a reasonable amount of detail present through out. There is some minor print damage. Overall while not in the best of shape Tarkan Versus the Vikings looks better then the second feature included for this release. The Deathless Devil has muted colors and there are some noticeable VHS tape defects, still nothing that ever becomes to distracting. There is some minor print damage. Overall the image is soft and lacks detail at times. Considering the rarity of these two films I was pleasantly surprised just how good both looked.
Both films come with only one audio option Dolby Digital stereo and in Turkish. Dialog is easy enough to understand. There some noticeable hiss and some of the higher registered sounds sound distorted at times. Once again like the video these audio mixes for both films are as good as one could expect considering their source material. Both films come with English subtitles that are easy to read and follow.
Extras for this release include two text essays one for each film written by Pete Tombs that give newcomers to these films and Turkish cinema some valuable and insightful background information. Other extras include the Mondo Macabro preview trailer which includes clips from titles they have currently released or about to release. Rounding out the extras is a twenty five minute documentary titled: “Turkish Pop Cinema” which includes interviews with several of this era’s stars and directors. Most of the interview is spent with actor Cuneyt Arkin star of such classics like Turkish Star Wars. All the participants are full of energy and have plenty to say. This is one of the few times in which I would say that a documatray is way to short and twenty five minutes is just not enough time to cover two decades + of Turkish cinema.
Mondo Macabro has put together one of their most impressive release to date with their Turkish double feature. Tarkan versus the Vikings and The Deathless Devil are to unique films that provide endless entertainment with their crazy action and diabolical villains, highly recommended.
For more information about Tarkan vs. the Vikings and The Deathless Devil visit Mondo Macabro here.