Istanbul, Turkey, is not a typical place one would think of when it comes to horror films. But back in 2015, Director Can Evrenol presented a groundbreaking work that shook the festival scene. He presented an uncompromised look into Hell that most mainstream films were not willing to display at the time.
‘Baskin’ is the story of a squad of police who are summoned to an abandoned building for a mysterious call. But once there, they enter a trapdoor into a layer of Hell containing a Black Mass and a blood orgy. It has intense visuals and extremely creative ideas that really need to be seen to be believed.
The cops are first introduced in a diner where one of them picks a fight with a punk-ish teenager delivering their orders. This incident not only shows us the oppressive exertion of their power, but shows us the individual personalities within the squad – from the captain, to the brute, to the quiet newbie, and so on. Each person though carries their own Hell, and once they enter the abandoned building, their Hells are exposed and greet them with glee.
There’s a lot of strange violence within, on top of introspective philosophy and a Black Mass who have more distinct plans than simply conjuring a demon. This is a world that feels completely lived in, and all the pieces seem to be perfectly set up from the get-go. This is one of the films that skims the surface of extreme conversations, and while I believe it’s more on the toned-down-side of that, it still has a lot of unflinching shocks, buckets of blood, sexual depravity, and questions that would make a cenobite feel right at home. There are time loops, false memories, psyche outs, and many inflections that transcend the personal and lonely to become unanimous issues. It’s bizarre, gory fun that does not let up on the gas once it’s pressed.
Strangely sized toads in strange locations, animal carcasses in decaying bathtubs, dozens of naked people with bags wrapped over their heads, hallucinations on top of hallucinations, other authoritative figures who are completely lost and dazed.. and the squad one by one begins to lose their minds completely as well. It feels like a loose combination of ‘Silent Hill’, ‘Saw’, & something ethereal like ‘Hellraiser’ meets ‘Suspiria’.
But one thing is for certain.. nobody who ever willingly enters this place, will ever leave the same way. Pain is pleasure.
‘Baskin’ is currently streaming on The Roku Channel, Amazon Prime, & Vudu.
‘Til Next Time,