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  Thirsty for Love, Sex and Murder Or else a nice cup of tea
Year: 1972
Director: Mehmet Aslan
Stars: Meral Zeren, Kadir Ianir, Yildirim Gencer, Eva Bender, Nihat Ziyalan, Hamit Yildirim, Yavuz Ozkan, Seyhan Gumus
Genre: Horror, Sex, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Stuck in a dull marriage to a man unable to make love on account of an accident years before, sexy Mine (Meral Zeren) finds herself fending off two would-be seducers: handsome stud-about-town Yilmaz (Kadir Ianir) and creepy moustachioed artist Tarik (Yildirim Gencer). The latter also haunts her nightmares especially when she learns a mysterious man in a black trenchcoat is out murdering women. Could this be the same madman who assaulted Mine some years before? Despite Mine's initial resistance, smooth-talking Yilmaz's persistance pays off and they soon fall in love. However, Mine finds herself blackmailed over the affair by none other than the man in black. Mine's sultry friend, Oya (Eva Bender) volunteers to deliver the pay-off only to narrowly escape a murder attempt at the park. But when the police get involved, chief suspect Tarik is found decapitated and soon afterwards the psycho-killer meets his end at the hands of a resourceful victim. Mine starts to believe her ordeal is over until someone springs a nasty surprise.

Given that the Italian exploitation film industry routinely produced bare-faced rip-offs of well-known Hollywood hits it is quite ironic this Turkish production modelled itself on one of their most notable genre films. Aska susayanlar seks ve cinayet (Thirsty for Love, Sex and Murder) was the Turkish remake of The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (1971), a near-prototypical example of the giallo genre from skilled director Sergio Martino. It is not a strict frame-for-frame remake, deviating into into somewhat eccentric territory during the climactic five minutes (more on that later), but comes pretty close with look-alike stand-ins for the original cast. Gorgeous lead Meral Zeren is an adequate substitute for giallo queen Edwige Fenech. She looks suitably glamorous in and out of her groovy Seventies outfits. Her blonde co-star, Swedish striptease artist Eva Bender was something of a staple of Turkish exploitation appearing in such films as the entertaining fantasy adventure romp Tarkan vs. the Vikings (1971) which was also directed by Mehmet Aslan.

Despite threadbare production values, Aslan undoubtedly brought his A-game to this giallo pastiche. His sado-erotic dream sequences, murder set-pieces and psychedelic sex scenes are as vivid as those found in Martino's original. He is on shakier ground when it comes to coherent storytelling. Characters duck in, out and back into the narrative with no rhyme or reason. Despite a pacy, entertaining and remarkably compact running time of just under sixty minutes the film remains hard to follow in spots. Additionally, aside from Zeren's winsome heroine, the rest of the cast are guilty of the most amateurish emoting this side of a school play. Everyone who dies in this movie expires in a flurry of exaggerated hand-wringing and facial contortions that are flat-out hilarious. While the sexual politics at work in the original were admittedly dodgy there were somehow excusable within the confines of an off-kilter giallo universe. Here on the other hand viewers have to contend with a degree of heavy-handed moralising symptomatic of the story being transplanted to a more conservative culture. Further hilarity arises from the inclusion of one those typically smarmy, belligerent and plain useless police detectives so often found in the giallo genre.

After sticking relatively close to its role model and the giallo genre overall the last five minutes veer inexplicably into action movie territory with Yilmaz displaying vigorous, hitherto unheralded gymnastic abilities during a riotous shootout. Meanwhile the cops just stand around watching like idiots. Further reinforcing the tone of the movie as a borderline fan made giallo pastiche the soundtrack compiles tracks from a dozen different Italian movies scored by Ennio Morricone and Bruno Nicolai with some vintage John Barry thrown in. Listen out for the classic line: “A real man should smell of alcohol and cigarettes." Right on.
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


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