Seytan (1974)

Seytan The Turkish ExorcistThere was actually a time when films like this were called plagiarism. Today we call them remakes. And call this specimen of celluloid what you will, Pazuzu, however, has already left the building and dived straight back to hell to suck Saddam Hussein’s big hairy toes rather than being near this eyesoaring madhouse.


There’s little to zero trivia info to find about this Turkish obscurity other than it’s more or less a shot-for-shot remake of The Exorcist – a movie from 1973 you may have heard of. The film was apparently shot on a low budget, resulting in a grainy and poor image quality. You don’t say. To call the image quality grainy and poor is the biggest understatement since the beginning of human existence. I would first assume the film was shot on used toilet paper with a dirty lens covered in fresh urine and projected straight out of Belphegor’s asshole.


And you couldn’t ask for a more honest plot summary to add on the backside of the DVD cover:


After the worldwide success of William Friedkin’s 1973 classic film The Exorcist, those wacky Turks decided that maybe they should steal the script and make their own homegrown version of the film. The result is Seytan, a one of a kind viewing experience. If you’ve seen the 1973 original you’ll feel you’re experiencing déjà Vu as this version is almost an identical scene by scene remake of The Exorcist, albeit with a Turkish soundtrack, music recorded directly off a record player, editing most likely done by a blind monkey and special effects more fitting for an elementary school play. Combine this with really grainy film stock, some out of work (possibly homeless) unknown Turkish actors, horrible direction and a budget of about $1.95 and you’ve got yourself an instant classic.


There are some story changes here though. Instead of Father Damien Karras, we have the young author Tugrul Bilge, who’s just written a book about black magic titled Seytan. And one of the readers of that book is the twelve-year-old girl Gül, while she also plays with a spirit board. And instead of Captain Howdy we have Captain… Lersen. Gül gets possessed by Lersen and her mother contacts Bilge after she discovers his book. Although Bilge is a non-believer (u-oh), he gets invited to have a look at Gül as she’s bedridden and wearing some cheap make-up, a big Tina Turner wig and mumbles with a comical demon voice that sounds more like a drunk, old Japanese samurai. And yes, of course, The Exorcist himself, an old gentleman with a white-trimmed santa beard, eventually pops up to conjure holy forces in the big climax.


The funny thing is that both Gül and Tugrul sound like some sinister stage names from a black metal band, while Lersen sounds more like a regular Joe.


And forget about any obscene cussing like “your mother sucks cocks in hell” and  “let Jesus fuck you!” The most edgy written piece of dialogue we get is “I will kill you”. In other words: I highly doubt that anyone who saw this back in 1974 in the Turkish cinemas went out of the movie shaking with trauma, and had problems sleeping the following night. The masturbation scene is still here though, in its own unique way, along with the head spinning sequences, the possessed furniture, the medical examinationsKarra’s Bilge’s sideplot with his mommy issues – but with the momentum like a quick fart in the wind, and the emotional depth as deep as a puddle on the sidewalk. It’s amateur-hour all the way and like a piss-drunk karaoke version of something very familiar performed by Eilert Pilarm with the tunes from Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells constantly on repeat throughout the first half of the movie, ripped from a tired cassette tape, to remind us that this is… The Turkish Exorcist. Burp.


The acting is as laughable as you’d expect, but I have to give the girl who plays the Turkish Regan some cred as she tries her best and seemed to have a jolly fun time during the making of this looney tune. She also got the pleasure of spitting some green-something in the old man’s face.


Seytan never got any official physical release, or not that I know of, other than a DVD bootleg in 2007 by Substance, ripped from a VHS added with subtitles which even Google seemed to struggle to translate. Fun shit. It’s of course also on YouTube with a more cleaned up image quality but without the subtitles.


Seytan The Turkish Exorcist



Director: Metin Erksan
Writer: Yilmaz Tümtürk
Also known as: Seytan – The Turkish Exorcist
Country & year: Turkey, 1974
Actors: Canan Perver, Cihan Ünal, Meral Taygun, Agah Hün, Erol Amaç, Ismail Hakki Sen, Ekrem Gökkaya



Tom Ghoul




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