Ayşecik ve Sihirli Cüceler Rüyalar Ülkesinde (Turkish Wizard of Oz) (Turkey: 1971)

If you know anything about Turkish cinema, or are a reader of this blog, you will know this country’s directors took on and redid most American classics, many of them featuring the same actress—Zeynep Değirmencioğlu, whose luscious innocence captured Turkey’s imagination for decades. Imagine if Judy Garland had not grown up and gone crazy with the painkillers, or better yet, if she had grown up and gone crazy, and the studios kept making her play Dorothy. Unfortunately, this video was never dubbed or subbed into English, so you could watch it in the original Turkish—or you could enjoy the movie unedited with some Dark Side of the Moon—because every Wizard of Oz adaptation worth its salt can be synched to this album. Roger Waters is a freakin’ wizard like that.

I have nothing to say about this video—except to say I am assured that the guy who linked Dark Side with this must have been on some heavy stuff. The movie reminds me of a really scary déjà vu dream—everything looks the same as the original in Turkish Wizard of Oz, but sparkly, unexpectedly colorful, not Technicolor but overheated budget film, and filled with strange, sometimes scary pantomime. This should be a kids movie, but right now it’s looking like a bad trip. Basically, this movie with the music is one long hallucination. Right now, I’m hearing “Time” and watching halogen-Dorothy dance with Scarecrow in what looks like Vision Quest State Park. Like Plan 9, be careful, the days do switch to night arbitrarily and the sets are laughably ridiculous—the Emerald City is in fact a sand castle mold. If you don’t have the time to watch the entire movie, please check out about 36:20—the Cowardly Lion meets the vaguely militaristic “Seven Dwarves” and freaks out in what could be the most awkward piece of cinema history ever. Bad vibes man. Bad vibes.

If I could choose one movie to represent this blog or the work I’ve done on it this past month—it would be this one. Equal parts ridiculous and unself-conscious, Turkish Wizard of Oz does more for the genre of bad foreign film than any other film we’ve watched up to this point. More videos like this and I think I’ll have a book pretty soon.

A Screenshot.

A Screenshot.


5 responses to “Ayşecik ve Sihirli Cüceler Rüyalar Ülkesinde (Turkish Wizard of Oz) (Turkey: 1971)

  1. I made this! this is fantastic! thank you for watching and liking it, or at least considering it. As to your earlier comment, I was not “on some heavy stuff”. I honestly just couldn’t find subtitles for the proper film. I decided to give it a try and it worked really well. And was more than surprised to find it wasn’t done before. thank you again, Keith Mannina

  2. Thanks a bunch! Keith, how did you find the film in the first place?


  3. I host a bad movie show every so often, sort of exactly like MST3k. I collect awful movies, therefore I have a lot of turkish remake films. I can usually find subtitles, sometimes not. this one and the turk-makes of “E.T.” and the Exorcist I am still looking for. Bizarre stuff, wish I knew what they were saying.

  4. Haha! Turkmakes! I love that term. Do you have any other recs for foreign bad movies?

    And add me to the list for your showings: my email is jonpeters87 at gmail dot com

  5. I would definitely recommend “3 Dev Adam” or “Turkish Spider-Man vs. Captain America & Santo” as it’s known. Spider-Man in this film is a lot like the hero you know. He is a criminal mastermind who has no spider powers, he uses a switchblade and kills women. Captain America is Turkish for some reason. Santo the Mexican hero is also Turkish for some other reason.

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