Friday, September 24, 2021

Psikopat (1988)

... aka: Psikopat (Öp Beni Neriman)
... aka: Psychopath
... aka: Psychopath – Kiss Me Neriman

Directed by:
Bülent Pelit

The Dracula Killer. The Lipstick Killer. The Chessboard Killer. The Weepy Voice Killer. The Lonely Hearts Killer. The Green River Killer. The Zodiac Killer. Uhhhh... The Pear Killer? Yes, you heard me right. Pear as in the fruit. The mustachioed misogynistic maniac in this Turkish psycho-killer flick has a predilection for pomaceous Pyrus. Unfortunately for him, he also has an issue leaving his beloved half-eaten fruits behind at the scene of each of his crimes, which may or may not end up playing a part in his undoing. Halim Kurtoğlu (who was a tabloid journalist and magazine publisher at the time) stars as the titular fiend. As a young boy, he walked in on his mother (Hülya Mutlu) and her lover in bed and then witnessed his father shoot both of them before turning the gun on himself. Now, as an adult, he's naturally a woman hater who has a special disdain for brazen, outgoing and sexually-active women he deems "sluts." Despite being a fitness freak and insisting on a healthy diet, the psychopath has been unable to land a girlfriend and is laughed at by women at a gym he frequents for his strange behavior. He also hates when women drink and chain smoke cigarettes, which eliminates about 95% of the dating pool in Turkey if this film is anything to go by.

The psycho picks up a blonde hitchhiker named Mirik (Yasemin Türe) and later goes to her apartment to return a purse she left in his car. Turns out she's a prostitute. Mirik invites her dancer friend Zelma (Semra Arik) over, who deep throats a banana and then does one of the slowest and most boring "erotic" dances ever filmed that features her stripping down to her lingerie, playing with her necklace and turning left and right over and over again for five excruciating minutes. Zelma gets so into her dancing that she fails to notice when the killer strangles her friend to death on the floor just a few feet away from her. When he finally comes for her, Zelma smashes a bottle over his head and escapes. Though she makes it back to her apartment building in one piece, the maniac follows her there and now knows where she lives.

The stress ball-squeezing psycho then goes to a nightclub where a couple of the girls from a sauna he frequents mock him some more as Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called to Say I Love You" plays. He watches a blonde belly dancer (played - according to the director - by a post-op transgendered woman) do her thing while having blue-tinted flashbacks to Zelma dancing (Noooo!) The psycho returns to Zelma's apartment building, which seems to be filled entirely with, shall we say, eager and willing young ladies. He ends up at the wrong door but the lady who does answer is gracious enough to let this bug-eyed complete stranger inside. He sits down, angrily chomps down on a pear and then strangles both her and her leather leotard-clad friend after the friend makes a pass at him.

As the body count increases, he continues to stalk both Zelma and her two roommates; one of whom (the one with the large mole on her cheek) is played by Turkish pop singer Neriman Göran. Despite having less screen time than some of the other actors, Göran receives top billing, is put front and center on the poster and even had both her name and her debut album title (Öp Beni / "Kiss Me") later added to the title, so I guess she was either popular in Turkey back then or someone was attempting to make her popular.

The killer is set off again after going to a park and catching a man and a woman making out. He kills both of them and then goes after a girl from the health club, strangling her in a Jacuzzi bath, and then the belly dancer, strangling her in a shower stall. He finally decides to pay Neriman, Zelma and the other roommate a visit at their apartment. Meanwhile, the detectives on the case stand around looking at dead bodies and holding up pears rubbing their chins in confusion.

While this is right on the verge of being SBIG, it doesn't quite make the grade because there are simply too many boring scenes (especially the parts with the cops) to sit through. It's also almost insulting that this trots out a tired slasher-sexploitation premise yet is almost entirely bloodless and features no nudity whatsoever. The nerve! Still, there's a lot here to enjoy in a train wreck kind of way, including terrible acting, some of the most unflattering lighting and videography ever and plenty of butt ugly 80s fashions, overdone make-up that looks like it was applied with a putty knife and teased out, heavily-processed hair that may not have survived through the end of the decade. Best of all, there are several exercise montages featuring the psycho working out. In the first, he's seen wearing a yellow "Alaska Klondike" sweat suit while the Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams" plays on the radio. The second finds him doing sit ups wearing only a Speedo and listening to Divine's "Shoot Your Shot"!

Hidayet Pelit, who plays the gray-haired police superintendent and also produced, is the father of the director, who was only in his early 20s when he made this. Both men collaborated on the script. James Woods and Morgan Freeman are seen on a TV set showing Eyewitness. A direct-to-video effort, this runs just 67 minutes and doesn't appear to have ever been released outside of Turkey.

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