?Somewhere in history, the idea of “copyright” came into existence. This meant that if you had an idea, and you “copyrighted” it, no one else could make money off it unless you gave your approval. As a result, films were copyrighted so Sam Dumbass couldn’t make his own sequel to Star Wars and profit off of it.
Of course, in many other countries, copyright is just another funny sounding foreign word which means absolutely nothing; not unrelatedly, these countries are seldom on the first-run lists of places to show the latest American blockbuster. So sometimes, enterprising foreign people may decide to raise 100 kfernupfs, or whatever other bizarre local currency they use, and make their own version of said Hollywood movie for their own profit. Their local culture and entertainment values, coupled with the fact that the filmmakers often never saw the original movie, but heard about it second-, third- or even possibly 16th-hand, make for some truly bizarre — but often entertainingly awful — cinematic rip-offs. Enjoy the 10 most batshit insane foreign knock-off flicks we could find.
10) Turkish Young Frankenstein
?No, not a Turkish version of the classic Frankenstein, that would be too easy. Since the Turkish bootleg film industry likes to stay current, director/writer Nejat Saydam saw the first run of Mel Brooks’s Young Frankenstein and immediately got to work on making his own, humorless version. Sort of like photocopying a blurry photocopy, except adding some nonsense about the “Society of the Seven Spirits.” The blurry film copies most of the original’s scenes, but does it without remembering that they were supposed to convey jokes. Oh, and Frankenstein’s monster is just a dude wearing an ill-fitting monster mask. It makes us cry.
9) Turkish Exorcist
There was probably a reason that Turkey needed to get its own Exorcist. The original’s plot might have been too deep, or too wordy, or there might not have been enough sight gags where a hypnotist gets whacked in the nuts by a little girl. All of these are corrected in “Seytan.” Complex plot is replaced with joyless people staring at each other while a stolen copy of the Exorcist theme is played behind them. Regan being thrown around on a bed is replaced with a girl jumping on a bed. The head-spinning scene is replaced by Regan slowly turning around behind a headless mannequin. Oh, and Santa Claus shows up at the end for no reason.
8) Indian Superman
Like much of Bollywood cinema, the primary focus of Indian Superman is not the story of the Last Son of Krypton living life as a mild-mannered reporter. It’s about scantily clad girls dancing to awful, shrieky music. Supes takes a backseat to drawn-out and pointless “comedy” and everyone sitting back and enjoying dancing girls. There’s also stolen footage from the Richard Donner film and homemade special effects where a superimposed Superman silhouette is placed over footage of buildings moving by real fast. Plus, Superman is a skinny dork with a homemade costume. Bad. Ugh. Ick.
7) Turkish Batman
Imagine if Zack Braff threw on some Bat-tights and made a film about stopping insurance fraud. Now imagine it’s in Turkish and that’s it actually got made. “Betmen” is a joy-less romp through long underwear and following around a dusty sedan as it travels the dull streets of Turkey-Gotham. There is a Turkish Robin. There is a Turkish Commissioner Gordon. There is no Turkish Joker. There are bikini girls. There is a hip Turkish Batman soundtrack, which is really just the James Bond theme, played on a scratchy record player. And Batman has no qualms about straight-up shooting criminals. Take a page from this, Chris Nolan, and have more pointless dancing girls.
6) Indian My Cousin Vinny
Oh yes, cinema fans, this exists. It’s called “Banda Yeh Bindaas Hai” and it’s an official remake of the Joe Pesci original, official because FOX sued the producers and then bought the rights. Yes, it does have dance sequences, and it does have a hot babe in place of Lois and Clark actor Lane Smith as the prosecuting attorney. And she wears skimpy clothing, which is much better than Lane Smith stripping down. Why the hell did they want to re-make My Cousin Vinny in the first place?
5) Turkish Spider-Man
Notice how many Turkish films are on this list? It’s because Turkey is more or less the Wild West of filmmakers’ rights, so no one really bats an eye when Captain America, Spider-Man, and Mexican hero El Santo all show up in a film together. On top of that, the legendary 3 Dev Adam features Spider-Man a murdering crime boss who is into counterfeiting. Spider-Man as a villain just gets silly after a while, as he forces hamsters to eat a man’s eyes, and decapitates a woman with a boat propeller. Oh, and Spidey and Cap both have girlfriends that follow them around and occasionally boink.
4) Turkish Star Trek
Space. The final frontier. These are the voyages of a gay, lispy Kirk and a Turkish hobo that they picked up. In Turkey, it’s not important to show a good Trek episode, it’s more important to entertain the audience with a bumbling tramp and a series of comical sound effects. Sure, Kirk and Spock and other people in Trek uniforms are there, but you wouldn’t know it with the antics of Turist Omer, a shapeshifting Bigfoot, and an army of Chippendales dancers in loincloths. Unfortunately, no Turkish person can watch an episode of Star Trek without wondering when a retarded slapstick comedian is going to show up.
3) Brazilian Star Wars
Following in the footsteps of Turkish Star Trek, Brazilian Star Wars stars a group of hobos that are meant to be funny. Translated, the title is “The Tramps and the Planet War,” and stars all your favorite characters like Darth Vader, Chewbacca, and one of the cantina band members painted green. They all take a backseat to the Tramps, those lovable Brazilian comedians who are like the Three Stooges, except without the sophistication. They slap each other, chase each other, and hump random objects for the sake of comedy, which in Brazil might substitute actual “comedy.” The catch is that this film was rushed into production immediately after the first Star Wars was released, and made it to Brazilian theaters before the original — audiences didn’t know it was a spoof, so it became a hit in its native land.
2) Turkish E.T.
Turkish E.T., or “Badi” as it was released as, will either warm your heart or make you cry. Pick one. If you guessed, “cry,” you’re right. The plot is similar to Spielberg’s masterpiece, except that it’s filmed in the saddest, most decrepit part of Turkey imaginable, and E.T. is a lumpy costume that’s always surrounded by smoke, even indoors. If you need a good comparison between Badi and regular E.T., just look at the men chasing him. In regular E.T., it’s government scientists combine with the army to put E.T. in a massive oxygen tent. In Turkish E.T., men throw him in the trunk of a car.
1) Turkish Star Wars
Of course we end the list here. “D?nyay? Kurtaran Adam,” or “The Man Who Saved The World,” has been considered the epitome of bootleg cinema, because it’s really, really bad. Star Wars footage is liberally stolen for the space battles (occasionally cutting in scenes that don’t take place in space, which add to the confusion), and again, the Indiana Jones theme gets some play as well. In some ways it’s superior to the original, as the original didn’t have ninjas, muppets, zombies, or skeletons on horses, and the hero didn’t spend the last 20 minutes of the movie bouncing around on trampolines. It’s so bad that they made a sequel in 2006, which updates the production values, but does nothing for the incomprehensible plot.