Aysecik ve Sihirli Cüceler Rüyalar Ülkesinde (1971)
aka Aysecik and the Bewitched Dwarfs in Dreamland
aka Little Ayse and the Magic Dwarves
aka Sihirli Gugeler
aka The Turkish Wizard of Oz

Directed by Tunc Basaran
Written by Hamdi Degirmencioglu
Music by Torgut Oren
American video "distribution" by Shocking Videos

Cast: Zeynep Degirmencioglu Korkut (Aysecik), Süleyman Turan (Iron Man), Ali Sen (Lion Man), Metin Serezli (Scarecrow), Cemal Konca (Oz), Suna Selen (Magician), Mine Sun (Angel), Cemal Konca (Oz), and Seyhan Gümüs

The further we advance into the future since the demise of the Iron Curtain, the more the West discovers both its internal beauty and pure parallel world insanity. Grab it while you can: supermodels, alcohol, recording equipment, children's art, and last but by no means least, cinema. Of particular interest are Eastern bloc knock-offs of Western classics. I've stated it multiple times within these sprawling hallways of the Loud Bassoon: I loves knock-offs in any form, from the knowing heights (The Rutles) to the clueless pits (The Music of Saturday Night Fever - Not the Original Soundtrack). The Turkish Wizard of Oz is admittedly a knock-off pure at heart, but what it gathers by being pulled through 30 years of time across history and the "East-Meets-West" filter within my brain is stronger than any sleepy 4am in-house ghost sighting you OR your epileptic grandpa can recall.

To be completely "new honesty" here, I'm not quite sure what I saw watching this movie, but I really, really liked it. Whenever I tried to parallel the plot to the MGM classic, I was consistently thrown. OK, it starts off closely enough … a farm, with inclement weather a-brewing. One minute in, everything switches to ultraspare Eastern European animation, and the tornado kicks in. Multiple jump cuts later, and "Dorothy" (smokin' Turkish delight Zeynep Degirmencioglu) is picking up her posse: the swishy "Scarecrow," the robotic "Tin Man," and rather nondescript "Cowardly Lion," whose overdubbed voice has him more than once snorting like a pig. None of these three are at all likeable, but already by this time, you won't particularly care, because your brain will have automatically detached you from the proceedings and/or reality as you know it. The white flag has officially been raised, and congratulations, because you're now more numb than a leg at the bottom of a human pyramid.

The rest of the movie is very loosely based on L. Frank Baum's book … wait, I never read it, so no use trying to look scholarly here … so, er, let's say the 1939 Judy Garland vehicle. Unluckily for Americans, old school Hollywood never did have the foresight to utilize cavemen (granted these are white cavemen … continuing the longstanding cinematic bias against portraying ethnic cavemen), robotic children at some sort of balloon-filled playground, mystical midgets, and a wicked witch whose makeup was best described by my roommate with the genuine question: "Is that peanut butter?"

No flying monkeys, yellow brick road, or ruby slippers here (silver ones instead), but you do get plenty of loud Dixieland musical numbers (mainly dancing), poor lip-syncing, and different quality of film stock from scene to scene. Easily the most dreamlike show I've seen on my TV since I recently dreamt what the Geena Davis show would be like if it stayed on the air 25 years (here's a hint: Geena sitting on a stool, singing a parody of "La Bamba" called "In Mensa," with a robotic Jeff Goldblum blowing circuits and stammering Max Headroom-like next to her). I've been expressly warned by 2008 AAA to steer clear of the fringe videos … 2025 AAA won't even speak to either of us right now.

Review by AAA