HMM Day 29 – Baskin

A police squad answer a call to an abandoned building and soon find themselves caught in a nightmare of blood and agony.

Baskin is a 2015 Turkish horror film directed by Can Evrenol and stars Görkem Kasal, Ergun Kuyucu, Muharrem Bayrak and Mehmet Cerrahoglu. The film was shot with a tight budget and in an area of Istanbul that was more conservative. Creating difficulty to shoot some of the scenes. But it was shot in a mere twenty eight days and then released to select theaters. It has received high praise for it’s mixture of myth, superstition, religion and horrific scenes.

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The Story

We follow a group of five police officers named Seyfi, Apo, Remzi, Yavuz and Arda. They’re having a good time in a local restaurant. Dining, drinking and reminiscing with one another. They’re kind of crooked cops that take advantage of their positions of power. This is shown through Yavuz’s violence towards a young man in the restaurant, in which none of the other cops protest. After leaving they get a disturbance call in some abandoned police station called Inceagac. On their way they pass a bridge and hit a bloodied figure of a man and then crash into a body of water. After pulling themselves from the water they meet a group of locals and are taken to the abandoned police station. As they investigate the old building, they discover strange occult symbols scattered around the place and soon realize there is more going on in this place. What ensues with our five police officers is a terrible trip into the depths of hell.

So Many Questions

I first came across this movie a couple years back and have actually watched it three times. The second time was immediately after watching it. I cleared my head and took a breathe and re-watched in segments. Just to kind of muster down what it was I saw and try to make a clear picture of the entire film. Even doing a little bit of research as to some of the things I had seen and offering a clear perspective of the movie. I had so many questions for the film because things just didn’t make sense. To someone going into the movie blind, the movie may be the most surreal mysterious films they will see. Even being very nonsensical. Well, I hate seeing a movie and knowing all to well there is a point and not being able to figure it out. So I reached out to people via social media that might offer some explanation. After I was given some insight on the religious themes of the movie from a friend, I ended up watching it a third time and pieced together a better understanding. I’ve got to say, after a great deal of research and talking with people about Turkish culture… the movie is still confusing as hell! But damn do I love it! It’s so scary and brutally violent that I don’t care that I get none of it! It’s horror, and all we want is blood! But still there is more to the movie than just the gore.

Zoroastrianism

The movie’s main themes fall in line with the ancient religion called Zoroastrianism. A monotheistic Persian religion that pre-dates Islam. You see, the five men die in the crash and are passing what is called the Bridge of Judgement. A belief in which all souls pass through and are held accountable for their actions in life. If you’re a good person you go to a place like limbo but if you’re a piece of crap then you go to hell. In hell there are some jacked up people that worship some crazy looking demon they call Father. In this movie our five characters go straight to hell and are tortured. Each one being punished to fit the crimes of their physical lives. The main character named Arda seems to be chosen as what Zoroastrianism sees as a savior. This entire process is his trial period before he can rise up and rid the world of evil… ok, I know this sounds odd but I’ve explained it the best I can without giving any real huge spoilers away. To be honest, just watch the movie and maybe keep in mind these themes. I think understanding the religious context while watching the movie is key to having a clear picture.

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Ruthless Horror

Baskin is by far one of the most ruthless modern horror films I have seen. If you’re a fan of movies like the Hellraiser series then Baskin is right for you. Evrenol himself is a horror fanatic and used Hellraiser as inspiration for his movie. The cult figures of hell in this film make the Cenobites seem somewhat tame. I can actually admit that parts of this movie freak me out and it makes me terrified. Something not many horror films accomplish at this moment in time. If this is a depiction of hell then damn! Evrenol does a good job at making us afraid of it. The character of Baba is played by Mehmet Cerrahoglu. He’s the leader of the tortured souls in this hell and what makes this evil character so interesting is he’s all natural. At first I thought he was wearing a mask or had prosthetic’s. It turns out Cerrahoglu has a rare skin condition that leaves his face swollen, making him perfect for a terrifying character. I feel bad saying that but it’s so awesome that what you see in this movie is all real. I’m sure he’s a swell guy though.

Baskin might not be a movie for the faint of heart. It is a gore fest with severe depictions of violence and sadism. But the tone of the film and it’s surreal nature make is extremely appealing. I love the use of lighting and diverse camera angles. After seeing the movie and reading up on the religious themes, things started to make sense for me. It’s a mysterious movie that has small little meanings in every corner. You can piece them together like a puzzle that has no ending. After watching the movie you will go back and notice new things about it that offer more insight. It turns you into a returning customer begging for more. All-in-all it is an amazingly scary film that should leave you biting at the bit. That’s why I have chosen Baskin for Horror Movie Marathon.

 

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