Turkish Rambo Coming to DVD in April
Turkey does not have an army. They have Serdar, the TURKISH RAMBO!
Serdar wipes out terrorists with his bare hands! Also, a rocket launcher.
From the director of TURKISH STAR WARS and TURKISH JAWS comes RAMPAGE, an epic tale of murder and mayhem, vengeance and destruction, betrayal and kebabs. Now, Dark Maze Studios is bringing it to DVD for its first official release in 23 years! We sent an elite commando squad to rescue the film from a remote Turkish vault and digitally remastered it... because no one else would dare.
As an extra little treat at DVD Times, Meagan (DMS Marketing Assistant) takes a moment out to tell us a little about the feature.
What prompted you to acquire the film and how difficult it was to do so?
We were prompted to acquire the film mainly by our love of these types of movies. A good number of the folks who worked on Rampage meet at Ed Glaser's apartment every couple of weeks to watch "remakesploitation" films, i.e. foreign rip-offs of American blockbusters. Ed (Dark Maze Studios President) has a great love of these movies and spends a lot of his free time tracking them down. It was when the famous (or infamous) "Turkish Rambo" proved unattainable through normal means that the thought was born...if we can't find an English dubbed or subtitled version to watch, why not make one ourselves?
It was by starting with the same contacts that helped Ed get his hands on other foreign gems to watch that Dark Maze Studios was put in touch with a Turkish producer, and eventually managed to negotiate for the rights to Korkusuz (as the film is properly known). There were a few hurdles along the way- the time difference and language barrier being among them- but the biggest obstacle was the state of the film itself. Movies of this era aren't preserved in Turkey, and for a while the only copy of the film that could be found was a Betacam transfer that was sadly altered. For some reason black bars had been superimposed over the top of the bottom of the screen, although the movie was shot in full screen. We theorized that this was to simulate the wide screen format, but either way half the movie had been covered over. Happily, New Year's Eve saw a mysterious package arrive for us from Turkey. A new Beta tape, no note and no explanation. Turns out it was the full-screen version, unmasked at last.
I believe the score had to be completely reworked due to legal issues.
We did have to completely redo every scrap of sound for the movie. The score of Korkusuz is, shall we say "borrowed" from Rambo: First Blood Part II, so to release it we had to create an entirely new score. Not only that, but we had to redo every last sound effect as well. So although this release is remarkable as being the first time the movie has been dubbed into English, the language addition is only part of the sound work that we had to do to make this film available to English-speaking audiences!
What draws you to these Turkish films and are any more in the works? If so how problematic is it when it comes to releasing them because of ownership issues?
It's hard to say succinctly what draws us towards Turkish films. Partly it's a general love of foreign remakes of American movies, be they from Italy, Brazil, Turkey, India or any other countries, with Turkey being particularly prolific. But we do tend to gravitate towards the ones from Turkey for other reasons. Their remakes tend to be "more" than at first they would appear to be. They may be reworkings of American blockbusters, but they usually put their own cultural spin on the plot that is fascinating to watch play out on an otherwise familiar movie. They also tend to have more outlandish moments- the rocket launcher scene in Rampage being a good example. In general it is how they went about remaking American movies, and the movies they chose to redo, that draws us towards Turkish remakesploitation in particular.
If Rampage does well enough that we can bring over more Turkish movies, we would be delighted to do so. All I can say is we've got our eye on a couple of prospects at the moment, and are keeping our fingers crossed.
Ownership doesn't seem to be particularly problematic, at least in our limited experience. We walk very carefully when negotiating, and everyone we've worked with in Turkey has been incredibly helpful in the process of transferring rights. As far as ownership issues regarding any copyright infringement on American films, it really comes down to a case-by-case analysis of what movie you're talking about. We would never touch a movie like the rightfully famous "Turkish Star Wars" because it actually uses scenes from the original Star Wars. But most Turkish films we're interested in only borrow plot elements and music, so if we have the ability to redo the sound it becomes less of an issue. A lot of thought and effort was put into making sure we had a releasable product.
I think the most interesting thing is that these films which ripped off Hollywood greats during the seventies and eighties were being done at a time when Turkey was undergoing serious political difficulties and couldn't afford to import other world cinema titles, leaving them to satisfy demand in other ways.
It is interesting to think of these movies as almost a cultural time capsule of a turbulent period of Turkish history. They also provide a cultural mirror of sorts- by seeing what changes Turkish filmmakers made to an American story, it tells you something of how they see themselves as well as the original material. From our research it was not the financial inability to import American films that fuelled these remakes; Turkish cinema at the time was going through a crisis. Television had nearly wiped out the home-grown Turkish film industry, driving many filmmakers to pornography in search of a profit. But the shake-up of government attending a military coup brought new restrictions forbidding such explicit films. In an attempt to keep the industry going, Turkish remakes of American movies seemed a viable option. Turned out quickly and cheaply they kept the industry going for awhile. So these remakes are a product of political as well as financial pressure, a fascinating view on how an industry changed in response to international as well as domestic pressure.
That's the serious side of it. But honestly, we watch these movies with more smiles and laughs than furrowed brows and serious contemplation. We love these movies. They're often goofy, over-the-top, and occasionally downright incomprehensible. We love them even more for that. There unique, they're a great deal of fun, and they never fail to entertain. Our goal in dubbing Rampage was to make this gem accessible to English speaking audiences, and to make sure it was as entertaining as possible. We didn't sit down to mock it, but rather to let its own crazy energy and occasional silliness show through, so that everyone else could sit down and enjoy this film the way we do.
Korkusuz, a.k.a. Rampage a.k.a. Turkish Rambo, will be available for purchase exclusively through Dark Maze’s website from April 24th
*Audio commentary by producer Ed Glaser and composer Jake Kaufman
*Poster & lobby card gallery
*Mini Poster insert
*Retro VHS-style packaging
Dark Maze Studios