Let me start this review by saying how much I wish I had understood the European trope of the mask-wearing anti-hero super-villain before reviewing 3 Dev Adam.
As you may-or-may-not recall, 3 Dev Adam was a Turkish movie from the early Seventies featuring decidedly unofficial versions of Captain America & Spider-Man. Similarly, 1967’s movie Kilink Istanbul’da features an eyebrow-raising ripoff of both Superman and SHAZAM!. But it is the film’s diabolical skull-masked title character that is of most interest to me.
A vicious criminal mastermind whose face is always a mystery, he has had many names over the decades: Satanik, Killing, Kiling, Kriminal, and Sadistik. Originally featured in a mid-1960s Italian photo comic, his popularity grew so large that soon in Turkey a whole franchise of unofficial films starring the character, under the name KiLiNK, were made.
But it was, of course, the era of the globally popular Batman TV show, and both cheapie American & overseas flicks such as Rat Pfink A Boo Boo, Wild World of Batwoman and James Batman (all 1966) were capitalizing on the bat-craze.
Enter Kilink Istanbul’da, which while not containing a Batman clone did have a jaw-dropping agglomeration of two other popular Western comic book heroes. When our strait-laced protagonist’s father is murdered by Kilink, he is approached by a wise old wizard who instructs him to say the word “SHAZAM!” Now our hero is transformed into a superhero called Superhero with a Superman “S” boldly emblazoned on his chest.
But the real “hero” of Kilink Istanbul’da is Kilink himself, who is one cool motherfucker. He’s a master of disguise, criminal genius, daredevil…and ladies really dig him! And that’s the Killing/ /Sadistik trope in a nutshell. Evil and sexy!
Going back to the later 3 Dev Adam again, the villainous characterization of the Spider-Man dude now makes total sense. With a similar over-the-head nylon mask, he is essentially portraying a version of Kilink.
Kilink Istanbul’da was intended by director Yılmaz Atadeniz as a tribute to the movie serials of his youth, and that particular flavor is evident throughout the film. It might also explain the rather bizarre addition of the SHAZAM! lore, as the 1941 Captain Marvel serial is a particular cult favorite for those who like that sort of thing.
But the frustrating aspect of this film being “based” on movie serials is…it literally ends on a cliffhanger! With no resolution! And there is no “Killing In Istanbul 2!”
However, there is a whole “Killing Istanbulda” fan film, and apparently the masked anti-hero is remembered quite fondly in Turkey to this day.
While obviously crude by yesterday or today’s standards, I really love these old Turkish superhero movies. The history & lore of both these films and Satanik/Killing/Sadistik the character deserves their own posts, though hopefully I’ve given you a satisfactory enough taste.
Not sure what the copyright looks like for Kilink Istanbul’da, but here is the version on YouTube:
As an aside, while putting together this article I ran into another Kilink/superhero flick I’ve never heard of before, featuring MANDRAKE THE MAGICIAN (!!!!!), and my head’s exploding:
It’s an obscure film genre to be sure, but with a lot of treasures to stumble across & discover.