Turkish director Can Evrenol has expanded an earlier short film into a pulse-pounding feature-length horror-fest.
**** out of *****
Imagine a clutch of tough-talking cops of various ages, demeanors, experience and corruption levels, hanging around an isolated roadside bar, swapping tales, ribbing each other, engaging in rat-a-tat-tat patter that might make Quentin Tarantino envious and/or mouth-wateringly engaged in the proceedings.
Imagine they’re all speaking in Turkish since, uh, they’re in Turkey.
Further imagine, if you will, that a call for backup, to an even more remote area than they’re hanging around in, forces them to unwittingly unlock a portal to Hell.
Well, imagine no longer, for this is the dense, scary, hilarious, nastily yummy-slurp world of eventual viscous-dribbling and mega-perversion that comes to us courtesy of Turkish director Can Evrenol, who has expanded an earlier short film into a pulse-pounding feature-length horror-fest entitled Baskin. Though most of the proceedings (insanely thrown into the pot by no less than four screenwriters) are a dream-like blur that sometimes makes little sense, it seems not to matter too much and is probably part of the grand design. I think. It matters not.
We’re treated to a myriad of flashbacks, flash forwards, inexplicable details that go unexplained, little in the way of backstory (save for one character’s opening dream, involving his parents’ grunting lovemaking, waking him up to all manner of horrid images more disgusting than the oldsters bumping their uglies) and the sense that all of the characters have been doomed from the start and may well be in a perpetual, purgatorial loop of suffering.
It starts with a terrific slow-burn in the bar, wherein the snappy repartee is peppered (so to speak) with the flavorful seasoning of several grotesque shots of raw meat (from a supremely dubious source) hacked up and tossed onto a grill, whilst the head cop gets into an odd squabble with the joint’s proprietor. I can accept this. So, I think, will you.
Soon enough we’re on the road with our crew in a ramshackle van as they make their way deep into a Turkish Delight of depravity. A naked guy leaps in front of their van, weird gypsies hunt frogs (of which there appear to be several million, hopping and squirming about), and the dread mounts a thousand fold. All the cops, save perhaps for the sucky young twerp with the parental-unit-humping dreams, are some of the most miserable, unsympathetic, macho men you’re likely to encounter in any recent movie, but for some insane reason, their piggishness endears them to us even more.
Sounds just fine to me. And so it is. The film is a supremely entertaining freak-show extraordinaire from a director with talent, style and filmmaking savvy oozing from every conceivable orifice. Speaking of which, orifices and oozing, that is: it doesn’t take long before we follow our reprehensible thug-like cops into the breach of utter horror. The first sign that something’s not quite right appears to be when one of the cops who called for backup smashes his head to a pulp against a concrete wall. The next sign that shit is amiss appears when our men of the law encounter a grim-looking Black Mass.
Enter, The Father. We know this sicko is going to be trouble. The biggest hint appears to be the fact that he resembles the acromegaly-inflicted 40s’ horror actor Rondo Hatton, if Hatton’s head had been made of Plasticine and scrunched into a misshapen gourd. Oh, and he’s adorned in a cloak – always a bad sign at any Black Mass.
Call it torture porn, if you will, but the final thirty minutes are revoltingly shocking – replete with all manner of eviscerations, eye gouging, flesh burning and – my personal favourite – sodomy involving a half-woman-half-goat. Well, it appears to be a woman. The goat part is unmistakable.
And that, ladies and gents, is what you’re in for with Baskin. Take it or leave it, but I was very happy to have partaken. So, I suspect, will more than a few other pervy geeks. Oh, and if you’re wondering what the title refers to, it beats me. I’ve seen the film twice and still have no idea what it means.
Watch the trailer: