A top scientist tells his son that his father was really crime-busting super agent, Copperhead, a crusader for truth and justice. Five minutes later, a henchman of the dastardly Dr. Satan kills the old man, and the son puts on his father’s mask in a quest for revenge…
Turkish Cinema was a strange place to be in the latter half of the last century. For legal reasons too complex (and too boring to research), Hollywood product could not be shown there, so Turkish filmmakers made their own versions on a fraction of the budget. This resulted in blatant copyright infringement of the sort that gave us ‘Turkish Superman’ (1978) and the amazing ‘Turkish Star Wars’ (1982). But what to do before Spielberg invented the Summer Blockbuster with ‘Jaws’ (1975)? Why, remake old movie serials from the 1930s and 1940s of course!
‘The Mysterious Dr. Satan’ (1939) was one of the very best of the original chapter plays as well, made just as the serial reached its peak and before it began its long, slow decline into smaller and smaller budgets and worn out formula. This Turkish version cribs scenes, cliffhangers, plot developments, and even some footage, from the original!
Our new Copperhead is Kunt Tulgar, a handsome fellow with few acting credits who actually went on to direct the afore-mentioned ‘Turkish Superman’ (1978). His nemesis is played by burly Erol Tas, who is obviously modelled after Fu Manchu with a huge moustache and even bigger eyebrows. The cast is rounded out by the usual older scientists, some nice eye candy and Erol Günaydin, who plays Bitik, our hero’s sidekick. He dresses in full Sherlock Holmes regalia so he can ‘look for clues.’ He mucks up everything he’s asked to do, gets captured a couple of times by Dr. Satan, demands everyone’s attention like a hyperactive child, and never shuts up. He is deeply and seriously annoying.
Tulgar rocks an all black bodysuit with scarlet belt and scarf combo. A car crash is shown by having the vehicle drive by with a door open and then tipping the camera over. There’s a completely out of place sex scene which has fuelled the rumour that the film is a porno. There’s death by playing card. A man closes a window on the train seconds before villains pump the compartment full of knockout gas. The cardboard box robot is even cheesier than its predecessor from over 30 years earlier.
The soundtrack is filled with inappropriate music ‘borrowed’ from other sources, such as ‘The Pink Panther’ theme and a soft jazzy version of ‘Wichita Lineman.’ The robot kills people by dancing around with them for a bit. One fight starts in an office, moves onto a roof and then back to the office again, all at the snip of an editor’s magic scissors. There’s even that old room with the crushing walls, although I don’t know supervillains bother with them – they never work.
As you’ve probably gathered by now, this is all great fun so long as you can stomach the comic chops of Günaydin, and forgive the endless badly choreographed fights scenes with their over the top sound effects.
Cheap and trashy fun.