Friday, December 16, 2016

Yarasa Adam (1973) and La Mujer Murciélago (1968)

Today, I'll be looking at two unofficial foreign iterations of a certain famous character-Batman! Who portrayed him better? Mexico, or Turkey? Let's find out!...

Yarasa Adam

In Turkey, several beautiful models are being murdered, and the police enlist the help of Batman and Robin to stop the killings and bring the violent criminal gang to justice...

Yarasa Adam is a pulpy movie, very reminiscent of the classic Batman serials from Columbia, but lacking the camp value. Despite being made some years after the Adam West series, it doesn't seem to take any inspiration from that property at all.

Many who've seen the film joke about how Batman seems to hang out in strip clubs more than fight crime. This is not hyperbole. There are numerous scenes where the heroes just sit and watch sexay ladies disrobe. At least it's more entertaining than the rest of the movie! There's really not much to the proceedings. Just fight scenes peppered throughout, along with murders, and stripteases, with some sexnanigans here and there.

Turkish Batman is a pretty useless lead! Models are being murdered, but he saves one from that fate...and then after banging her, he immediately leaves her to her own devices, and she quickly gets killed. Following this, even more models are slain, and Batman saves none of 'em! The way he finds out about the villain's secret hideout is especially egregious, as it relies on the evildoers killing another model! That ends up being all for nothing, by the way, as the other thing Batman can't prevent here is the murderous gangsters he captures killing themselves with poison capsules before interrogation! Even in the final ten minutes, where you'd think he would find out where the villains are, that doesn't happen, and yet another henchman offs himself. Turkish Batman is a fucking moron! He's also a philandering cockhead who constantly cheats on his girlfriend, yet still gets a happy ending with everyone congratulating him on doing such a good job (HA!). Also, Robin is in this movie, I think...Yeah, he's pretty much a non-presence.

*Also, given this movie's sexual elements, I'm sure that Turkish Batman got more than one happy ending, if ya know what I mean...

Onto the effects. There's not much in the way of them, given this is about Batman fighting regular criminals. I imagine the budget didn't extend much beyond that of a few lunches, so the director just filmed as many samey fight scenes as possible with the same few actors, and called it a day. The dynamic duo's costumes are just awful! They look like high school costumes, Batman's mask doesn't have ears, and the heroes seem to only bring their capes along just to discard them immediately. The backs also have weird spines on them, too. Not a complaint, just an observation. First bat-spines, next, bat-nipples! And then there's how little the two even fight in costume! Half the time they're in civilian garb, which is dull as dishwater for a Batman movie.

The acting is ok, but pretty unremarkable. Turkish Bruce Wayne's hair is amazing, though! Also, while the fight scenes might be dull, there's some pretty neat acrobatics during them!

The score is lifted from sources such as On Her Majesty's Secret Service, as well as other spy and mystery properties, like Reilly, Ace of Spies, and Charade, among others. Unfortunately, due to the crappy sound quality of the film, the music isn't very enjoyable. It also pauses whenever characters punch each-other, because the editor didn't know how to overlay sound effects properly, it seems. Speaking of Bond, Yarasa Adam's villain is strikingly similar to a certain bald mastermind with a cat, who we only ever see from behind. Granted, the reveal of this particular villain is a lot more underwhelming than, say, You Only Live Twice!

Overall, Yarasa Adam is quite a disappointing film. While other Turkish movies from this period might still be fun despite their cheap and unconvincing qualities, this is just a bit of a slog...

La Mujer Murciélago

In Mexico, wrestlers are disappearing, and then showing up dead, with pineal fluid from their brains missing. The police are at a complete loss, with no clues, so they call in a special agent to help-Batwoman! She sets out on the case, and soon discovers the existence of a mad scientist, who plots to take over the world with mutant fish men...

Unlike Yarasa Adam, Mexican Batwoman is a lot of fun! It delivers a badass female superhero   On that note, you're probably wondering why Batwoman, and if you're a comic fan, you're probably thinking "Ooh, is this film about Kate Kane?!". Well the movie is inspired by the 60's TV show, but luchadoras (female wrestlers) were gaining major popularity at the time, so director Rene Cardona (who had helped popularize them in movies) thought it best to gender-swap Batman. Definitely a decision I can get behind!

La Mujer Murciélago's plot is a pretty decent one. It moves along nicely for the first act. Unfortunately the film slows down quite a bit after the halfway mark, as Batwoman knows who the villain is and where they're operating. It's not like she attacks the boat headquarters, and the villain escapes to his main hideout, which she then has to find. Nope, the boat is the main hideout, and Batwoman keeps going back and forth a few times, before finally stopping the diabolical doctor's plans the last time.

This movie shares something in common with Thunderball. Apparently the filmmakers must've spent a lot of the budget on a camera capable of filming underwater, so they use it for all its worth, filming many long underwater sequences. Thankfully it doesn't go overboard like Thunderball did, and these moments are never too overlong.

The costumes (yes, plural) Batwoman wears are pretty neat! The wrestling one resembles the grey Batman one, while the outfit she dons the most is a skimpy bat-bikni. One one hand, it's a bit annoying that that's the superhero outfit she wears the majority of the time, but it makes sense that she would be wearing that one, considering the majority of her missions are aquatic in nature.

Effects aren't a major element to this movie for the most part, as it's just Batwoman punching regular thugs. Where it shows is in the presence of the fish-man, whose costume looks pretty good. It's nothing on Creature from the Black Lagoon, but still convincing enough, for a goofy and cheap B-Movie like this. Then there's the neat burn scars Batwoman inflicts on the villain, as well as the less-than-convincing doll he uses with a goldfish to create his fish-man.

The acting here is pretty decent, with Maura Monti making for a good lead, while Roberto Cañedo hams it up well as the bad guy. Finally, the movie's jazzy score is nifty, and sure to make you want to dance!

Despite some flaws, La Mujer Murciélago is a great time, and shows just how entertaining classic Mexican cinema could be. Now, if only I could successfully locate Turkish Batwoman!...

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