ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Roger Braden runs the Facebook group Valley Nightmares, which is all about the history of the films that played at the drive-ins and theaters in his home state of Kentucky. He’s a great guy and I’m excited to read his take on this movie.
Originally a short film that impressed, creator Can Evrenol was able to acquire around $350k and given the go ahead to expand on his story and make Baskin his feature film debut.
And what a debut it is.
Released in 2015 to various, high profile film festivals, it didn’t open wide in Turkey until January 1, 2016. Filmed over 28 nights in his native Istanbul, mostly without permits, Evrenol’s story is tension filled, dark and violent. It’s a film that I feel fits into the best of Clive Barker’s twisted universe, mixes in some Fulci, and expands on it.
Our story begins with a child awakening during a storm, he’s scared and goes to his mothers bedroom door, but there’s a lot of moaning and groaning going on in there so he moves on out into the house. As the storm crashes, a zombie-like arm reaches up behind some furniture and starts to reach for the boy. The boy runs back to his mother’s door, pounding on it and screaming “Mom” over and over.
Fade to black, the title and opening credits roll. We open on a rainy night at a hole in the wall diner, a five man police squad (Yes, one of the officers is that boy now) are swapping stories and having some disgusting looking food. Things escalate between them and the owner and a local, an officer goes to the bathroom and freaks out, then they load up in their big ass police van and leave. As our guys are traveling down the road, a song pops on the radio and they start singing, and dancing, to a song proclaiming “They’re not afraid.” Just as the song ends they get a radio dispatch that a police unit in a town called Inceagac has requested backup and they accept the call. Heading that way, our driver states that Inceagac is a bad place, despite having many Temples there. The journey gets weird, there is an accident, a flashback to their time in the diner, and an encounter with roadside locals that inform them that they have arrived in Inceagac. Despite the locals warnings, they proceed on foot to the nearby ruin of a building where the backup call came from. Seeing their fellow officers car, silent, but with lights flashing, they realize this was a police station in the distant past, with a very bad history.
And that’s the setup folks, because once our guys step into the building to find their fellow officers and to see what’s going on, this film goes completely insane. It’s been a weird flick so far, steadily building tension while you try to figure out where it’s going. But you’re not going to expect what happens from this point forward. Because our boys have stepped into one of the gates to Hell, or a Hellmouth, or whatever you want to call it (a shitstorm maybe?!) and this isn’t going to have a happy ending.
I hate “spoilers,” so I’m not going to get into much story detail from here on out. But as our guys continue to stumble forward, and try to escape, the depths of this Hell continue to get more tense, violent and weird. I’ve used the word “weird” several times in this piece, but I’m not sure if I’ve said it enough. Don’t believe me, wait until you meet “The Father,” played by first time actor Mehmet Cerrahoglu. This dude got the role simply because of the way he looks! And his setup and reveal is dreadful and horrifying!
This film hits all the checkmarks for me. Lighting, camerwork, story, acting, music, imagery… it all works. It’s bloody and violent, but there’s a lot left to the imagination, and that adds to the films overall tone. Evrenol does a fine job and mixes in some nice twists along the way, I especially love the final twist. This is very much a WTF movie. Multiple viewings reveal another angle (Se7en) that adds to the films enjoyment.
BASKIN streams everywhere, it’s on disc, I have the Scream Factory blu (which has the original short!) and I always watch it in Turkish! Many thanks to bandsaboutmovies.com and Sam Panico!