Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Devil Girls, aka Seytan Kizlar (Turkey, 198?)

As much as I try to provide background and context concerning the movies I review, it was inevitable that I would one day have to write about a film about which I knew absolutely nothing. Devil Girls is that film. In fact, given that the version of Devil Girls I watched was completely lacking in anything resembling a credit sequence, I can’t even say for sure that it is actually called Devil Girls, much less identify any of the parties involved in its making. All I know for certain is that it is of Turkish origin, while extrapolating from its general appearance -- with a slightly lower degree of certainty -- that it was made sometime during the 1980s. Could this mysterious lack of attribution mean that Devil Girls is a document of… real events? Probably not.

Our film begins with a young couple having a romantic frolic on the beach. The young man seems quite smitten with his (admittedly bodacious) date, but, alas, she is not all that she seems. She is, in fact, a Devil Girl. What this means is that, while the boy lolls in the sand, dreamily anticipating the nookie to come, she is off donning a tiny black bikini complete with hand-shaped bra cups and devil tail and a pointy black mask, after which she returns with whip in hand to beat him into a trembling mass of male servitude. Two of her identically dressed cohorts then appear from over the dunes to march their new man captive back to the Devil Girls’ training camp.

Once at that camp, we see a number of equally pleasingly shaped and skimpily attired women engaging in a variety of hand-to-hand combat exercises, while others, wielding giant cardboard pitchforks, force male prisoners to do slave labor. As revealing as their outfits are, I’m sure that the makers of Devil Girls would have been glad to show us even more of the Devil Girls if they could. I believe, however, that at the time Turkey’s censors had retrenched somewhat after allowing the country’s filmmakers comparatively greater freedom during the 70s -- a freedom which those filmmakers used to show us, among other things, Batman making out with random naked chicks. Nonetheless, Devil Girls’ creators here clearly demonstrate that an inability to show full nudity is no impediment for those who are truly sleazy at heart. You just have to believe.

Meanwhile, back at the same beach we saw earlier, a young woman whom I will call Yildiz -- simply because Wikipedia says that’s one of Turkey’s most popular female names -- is accosted by a group of sleazy, middle aged men (audience, meet your surrogates), who spirit her away to a remote location and gang rape her. Two of the Devil Girls, pitchforks in hand, happen to be patrolling the area at the time, and come upon the aftermath, whereupon they lead Yildiz back to the camp and -- in a solemn ritual set to farty 80s dance pop -- kit her out with her own primarily skin-based Devil Girl uniform. At this point begins Yildiz’s indoctrination into the ways of the Devil Girl. Once that is completed -- after a training montage that’s composed mostly of butt shots -- it is time for the Devil Girls to hunt down the rapists one by one and gorily stab them with their big pitchforks.

So basically what you have here is I Spit on Your Grave (no, I spit on YOUR grave) dressed up in sexy costume ball attire. And if that sounds like a pretty thin excuse for a movie, it is. For proof of that, look no further than the five minute disco sequence set in what looks like the basement rec room of a suburban American church, where the attendees dance listlessly -- and seemingly endlessly -- to MFSB’s “T.S.O.P.”. It’s clear at this point that, once the filmmakers had delivered unto their audience the masked, whip-wielding bikini girls, they had shot their proverbial wad, and had little to do afterward but a lot of cinematic thumb twiddling. At just before the one hour mark, they take us back to the camp, where the Devil Girls do a lengthy dance/cheerleader routine to what sounds suspiciously like a Turkish version of “Susudio”. And then the movie ends. This abrupt turn of events reminded me that, if women were more like men, half of every Twilight movie would just be Edward and Jacob spraying each others’ nipples with Cool Whip. And they would all be only an hour long.

Make no mistake about it, with its potent combination of dick shaming and scantily clad femdom shenanigans, Devil Girls is a movie that many, many men have masturbated to. So powerful is its, um, pull that, while observing my usual practice of taking copious notes during viewing, my normally disciplined right hand made an uninvited lunge at my crotch. Only timely intervention by my left (the Devil Hand) prevented things from getting messy. Ladies, what can I say? We men are indeed disgusting beasts, and I would not blame you at all if you wanted to strip down to your tiny knickers and come after each and every one of us with your shiny black whips. It’s what any self respecting feminist would do.


Beth Loves Bollywood said...

So I'm thinking that if one is not turned on by bikini babes or gang rape or revenge of gang rape, one has no need to see this? Or did I miss something?

Todd said...

Until I become the world's most depraved and sadistic film studies professor, I don't think anyone actually "needs" to see this. I must say, though, that I've come to be alternately fascinated and vexed by the whole rape/revenge thing. In the U.S., it's this reviled subgenre, but in not a few other parts of the world it seems like it's a staple theme.

memsaab said...

It's not THAT reviled in the US, except by those damned feminists :)

I'm glad you enjoyed this, but I'm pretty sure I would get bored if not outright irritated! I'm off back to Dara Singh & Co.

Todd said...

Hmm. I'm a little concerned by just how much people think I "enjoyed" this movie.

Keith W said...

Indy horror film makers still seem fascinated with the rape-revenge movie, only we're supposed to pretend that they are "eye-opening explorations of human cruelty" -- because lord knows I wouldn't know that rape is vile, if not for I Will Never Die Alone or the remake of I Spit on Your Grave. At least a film like Devil Girls seems to have the decency to be more ludicrous than offensive and possesses no pretention about being somehow "intelligent."

Hmmm....captcha for this comment: hotsy

Nekoneko said...

I'm a woman... and I'm not offended by this sort of cinema... (But then again, I am I pretty unusually quirky woman with admittedly trashy tastes in film...)

Revenge cinema has always been popular with audiences... whether the offense needing revenge was murder, theft, or rape... Only the righteous application of violence can make it right in these films. That's just how this stuff works.

Heck.... "Batman" is roughly the same film. Boy's parents get murdered... boy grows up and dresses like a Bat to kick ass and get even. Just a matter of budget and cultural influences....

But then again.... I LIKE bad movies....Hehehehe!!

Todd said...

I think that the gift Devil Girls gives us is in how absurdly explicit it makes the tropes of a particular type of rape revenge movie -- one that I've seen an awful lot of in the course of writing 4DK. You have this superficial "girl power" theme in the service of something that's very obviously pandering to a male audience. And, contrary to what some people who criticize these movies think, the titilation isn't in the whole rape scenario, but in the revenge scenario, where you have these powerful, sexually confident women doling out well deserved punishment to all of these cartoonishly slavering, cretinous men. Especially since a lot of these movies come out of very macho cultures, I think it's funny how so much shame and self loathing is bound up with the more conventionally titilating aspects. Male sexuality is complicated, I guess... and also absurd: something that this movie also places in stark relief.