Wednesday, May 28, 2008

KIZIL MASKE (1968)

aka Red Mask
dir: Cetin Inanc

KIZIL MASKE is a pretty fun Turkish superhero flick from 1968. The English title is apparently Red Mask but I have no idea if this played under that title outside of Turkey. Since it's both an un-official version of Lee Falk's comic book hero "The Phantom" and has quite a bit of stolen score music in it (it starts off with tunes from James Bond for crying out loud) I guess it didn't play in the west.

I'm not gonna try and explain the story line as there's way too many talky scenes for me to capisce what it's all about (since I don't speak Turkish). But there are super-guys and crooks aplenty! According to IMDB one of them is called "Fu Mançu" (which I kinda missed due to the aforementioned lack of Turkish lingo skills) but it's all kinda fun. The first part drags on a bit, way too talkative, but the second half is fun. One scene that is interesting though is a scene that shows an indoor gathering of some Kuk-klux-klan wannabes (I'm not kidding) set somewhere in Europe, in a country that has flags that look Danish (the film is in black & white so the colors could be different) and you see a city square that could easily be from Copenhagen.

One interesting bit is that although "The Phantom" is supposed to be a good guy he doesn't refrain from being crude to other people; for instance when two crooks are tied up he slaps them in the face (and his sidekick right out smashes one of them in the face), and in one scene a bad guy is trying to escape along with his girlfriend but Kizil Maske just shoot her in the back (thus killing her)!! There's also some amazing stunt scenes that the actors perform themselves (no stunt guys here); in one scene Kizil Maske and his sidekick jump down from a bridge onto a rolling train!! Try asking any Hollywood actor to do that!!

All in all a pretty entertaining and fun superhero movie. The print I watched was a beautiful restored print with good clear subtitles in ten different languages. There are interviews with the director and the star cast members and... who am I kidding!! The print is scratched beyond belief!! There is not ONE frame that isn't scratched beyond belief! There are no subtitles, and many scenes are way too dark (I believe this has to do with a lack of good equipment when they shot the film and not so much the transfer or the DVD).

KIZIL MASKE is out on a VCD from Turkey but amazingly enough this VCD is missing the entire ending!!! About 5 minutes. My bet is that the Turkish video label were too cheap-ass cheap to include TWO video-cd discs and so they squeezed the film down on ONE disc by chopping off the last 5 minutes!! Simply to save money - and simply too fucking retarded!

When the film ends in the VCD version a kidnapped girl hasn't been saved, and Kizil Maske and his friend who are on top of a train are left up there! Hahaha. It's one thing to save on costs but this is so ridiculous it's right out of Bizarro World.

The version I got hold of is a bootleg DVD from Shocking Videos and fortunately it is the complete restored print. You can clearly see the print is taken from the same cut VCD print and has the last 5 minutes spliced onto it an old video release. The uncut print ends with the word "SON" ("The End" in Turkish).

Apparently there were three KIZIL MASKE films; curiously enough one of them is from the same year ('68) and is also called KIZIL MASKE (and also aka Red Mask). It was directed by Tolgay Ziyal and the last one, KIZIL MASKE'NIN INTIKAMI, came out in 1971.

A fun flick, check it out (but SOMEBODY pleeease fan-sub it!!!)

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