Sunday, October 6, 2019

Aşka Susayanlar-Seks ve Cinayet/Thirsty for Love, Sex, and Murder (1972)


Aşka Susayanlar-Seks ve Cinayet is known in English as Thirsty for Love, Sex, and Murder. If there's ever a title to draw you right into a film, it's that! Tells you everything to expect and look forward to, and builds up expectations. The only question is if the film meets them.

Happily married Mine returns home from Venice with her husband, only to find strange things happening. She's repeatedly victimised by a strange man, and a series of murders rocks the city. Could these things be connected? And what could be the answer when this stranger himself ends up dead?...

While Kadın Düşmanı was more of a krimi, Aşka Susayanlar is unmistakeably a giallo. From its lurid trappings, to how almost everyone is terrible, everyone is a suspect, and women wear little to no underwear, except when they want to give the guys (or girls) more of a challenge.

This is a decent little horror film, and at only 57 minutes long it never overstays its welcome, but it feels [a little] like it lacks something. Another half hour, some might say, but no, the pacing's alright. Maybe the story could've just been a bit more interesting. I wouldn't say it's all style no substance, but it didn't wow me either.

The mystery here is alright. Being a giallo, I figured there'd be some outrageous twist. My money was on the heroine having a split personality and would turn out to be the killer. I shan't say what it is, but it's not super compelling or out-the-box, sadly. Then there's the ending, which is simultaneously the most fun and most disappointing part of the whole movie. The tone is completely changed as the film suddenly becomes a Yeşilçam style punch-up. Entertaining, certainly but quite a bit different to what we were watching beforehand! Then of course there's the ultra-abrupt ending.

[By the way,] this is as good a time as any to say that this film is [in fact] a remake of Sergio Martino's The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh of all things! It follows the plot of that movie pretty closely, and while it might not be quite as extreme, there's still a fair amount of blood and nudity here.

Aşka Susayanlar is stylishly directed, and not all of this can be attributed to the source material, either! It succeeds in its own right. It directs the scenes it copies very well, even improving on a couple if I may say so, and features some original moments, like a blood dripping shower stabbing, or =. This film gets pretty tense in some scenes, and is never dull.

While the slashes can sometimes look like fake blood smeared over the actresses, the effects here aren't that bad. There is one hilarious severed head though. That does lead in to an interesting development though!

The actors here all do good jobs, although the men all look the same, barring the moustachioed villain. What surprised me is how Italian the girls here look! Not that Turkish women aren't pretty or stylish too (please don't kill me!), but Italian women of the giallo era had an unmistakeable look to them, which Aşka Susayanlar captures perfectly. It's as if Edwige Fenech herself learned Turkish and booked a two week trip to Istanbul!

The score here is very good! It's got a gripping Euro-thrill feel to it!...Admittedly the fact that it's been pinched for a European film might have something to do with this, but... It's familiar to me for sure, but I couldn't quite place its providence. Then, finally I worked it out, mere minutes before finishing this review! It's the theme from the Italian Charles Bronson vehicle Violent City. That did actually cross my mind, but when I thought of that movie's theme, the chandelier song from Castlevania IV popped into my head, and I went "Ah, no, close but that's a bit different.".

In any case, once you're committed to ripping off a whole movie I guess you may as well pinch/use the score too. The Turks aren't all bad in these situations though. They probably never considered it as theft, and felt such copyright laws were restrictive. After all, aren't we one big family? So what's recycling movie plots and reusing existing film soundtracks among family? Not sure the lawyers of the West would agree, but sucks to be them, Turkey has its own laws!

Thirsty for Love, Sex, and Murder is certainly a decent ride. It might not be the most unique of films, but it's got enough to recommend it, and its status as perhaps the only Turkish giallo make it stand out...

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