Saturday, March 6, 2010

In short: Thirsty For Love, Sex And Murder (1972)

Rich girl Mine (Meral Zeren) comes back to Turkey from a longer, nerve-soothing stay in other parts of Europe. She probably isn't expecting as much excitement at home as she gets.

There's a killer going around, carving up pretty women and raping them (possibly in that order), and worse, the killer might very well be one of the three men (after all, Mine is very rich and very pretty) in her life. Is it her abusive ex-boyfriend/rapist Tarik (Yildirim Gencer)? Her loving yet impotent husband Metin (Nihat Ziyalan)? Or is it Yilmaz (Kadie Inanir), the slick part-time boyfriend of her best friend Oya (Eva Bender), who is slowly sliming himself into Mine's heart like the George Hilton stand-in he is?

What little of Turkish popular cinema has made its way into other countries usually consists of a) Cuneyt Arkin punching people in the face or b) another gentleman punching people in the face, so it might come as a surprise to find a film like the (brilliantly titled) Thirsty for Love, Sex and Murder that does its best to rip-off Sergio Martino's giallo The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh, only in half of the Italian film's running time.

Both films share a plot and many of their set pieces (although not their endings), but where Martino's film is rather deliberately paced and as impeccably stylish as one would expect from that particular director, Mehmet Aslan's Thirsty comes at its viewers like a rabid speed freak, incessantly throwing dream sequences, flashbacks, multi-coloured camera lenses and a soundtrack between classic twang guitar and pure feedback at them until they either get a mighty headache or decide to just go with the flow and ignore the absence of subtleties like sensible scene transitions.

Headaches notwithstanding, this doesn't mean that Thirsty isn't a whole lot of fun. Aslan (who also directed his share of Tarkan films) isn't as slick a director as Martino - and even if he were, he still would not have enough money to work with to demonstrate it on screen - but he has lots and lots of neat visual ideas to hectically throw into our faces.

At times, the film managed to overwhelm me with its permanent switches between weirdly erotic dream sequences, druggy camera angles, sudden jumps in time and place and its rabid kangaroo of a killer, and what more than being overwhelmed could I ask of any cheap exploitation movie?

I also found it quite impressive that most of the film's plot is shamelessly stolen from Martino's film, yet Thirsty still manages to be a completely different beast than the other film, graced with a much more aggressive feel and a rabid rhythm all its own.


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