Seytan (1974)

The pre-teen daughter of an upper-class mother tampers with a Ouija board and soon starts showing behavior that indicates possession by evil spirits. Their comfortable existence is greatly challenged when a helpful psychiatrist who doubts his faith and family lends his aid and discovers that the girl is possessed by Şeytan, the trickster-manifestation of Satan. Therefore, he and the mother call for the aid of an aging exorcist who must now brave his poor health to face his old adversary.

Genre:
Horror

Country:
Turkey

Language:
Turkish

Full plot:
Rip horror flick “Şeytan” from 1974 opens with the image of a devilish face on a wall, and we see the Exorcist (the unnamed equivalent of Lankester Merrin) walking through an archaeological site where some digger are working. He excavates an item depicting a Şeytan-face accompanied by Bram Stoker style music in the background. He walks further to a dune with a demonic statue and beholds it for a while.

We are then taken to Istanbul, where Aytan lives a laid-back life in luxury together with pre-teen daughter, Gül. While reading a book in peace, she is interrupted because she hears strange noises coming from upstairs, especially from the chandeliers. She suspects that she might have gotten rats in the attic. When she gets up to check it out, she discovers that Gül’s bedroom is cold, so she closes the window and tugs the blanket a bit more tightly around her sleeping daughter.

Next morning Aytan complains to Ahmet, her house-cook, about the “rats” in the attic. She and Zuzan, one of her housekeepers, then go out to play tennis and talk about math.

Later, we see Tugrul Bilge (the equivalent of Damien Karras) speaking to his uncle, who smokes like a chimney, about what they can do to better the situation for his aging mother, whose medical condition has recently worsened, both physically and mentally. He decides to visit her shortly, but she insists that she should not yet worry about having her taken care of.

Tugrul Bilge, who is an acknowledged writer within psychiatry and known for having written a book dealing with “satanic possession”, is however clueless as to which treatment is best for his mother.

Gül practices ballet while her friend plays the piano, and as they practice, they are approached by Aytan who found out that Gül has been tampering with a Ouija board and questions whether this is a good idea. Gül says she found it on the attic and toyed with it out of escapism. She then demonstrates to her mother how she uses the Ouija board, and does the same thing with asking “Captain Howdy” questions about her mom, etc.

Gül later witnesses how her mother shouts in anger at the operator in the phone, and when her mom gets a late call back, she realizes that Gül is lying next to her due to her own bed “shaking”. They then hear a growling noise coming from the attic, so Aytan grabs a candle and goes to check on it. She sees that the housekeepers have already put up mousetraps and finds instead the book that Tugrul Bilge wrote. It has the letters “Şeytan” on the front cover which immediately catches her attention. Ahmet interrupts her and she comes down to the kitchen. She is furious and asks everybody who put the book there, since she does not recall owning such a book.

Tugrul and his uncle later visits old mother at a mental asylum. Her wrists have been bound to the hospital bed to prevent her from hurting herself. Tugrul realizes that his old mother has sadly given up on life, and later again, we learn that she has died, leaving a deep scar in Tugrul.

Aytan hosts Gül’s birthday-party and invites locals, but after having eaten some cake, Gül becomes cold and goes to bed. The piano-scene then repeats itself, with Gül walking down the stairs and peeing grey liquid onto the floor, although without the epic line.

When Aytan has put Gül to bed again and given her some meds, she hears hysterical screaming and rushes back to the bedroom to see that that the bed does indeed shake. She climbs on the bed to help Gül, but the bed continues to shake with both people on it.

Tugrul speaks to his uncle again, and after they have spoken, he has a dream about running towards his old mother to tell her something (similar to the dream of Damien Karras).

Aytan takes Gül to a hospital where she gets tranquillizers to calm her down, and after a thorough examination, the doctor credits her strange behavior to something to something neurological. This could be caused by an injury to the brain, and the doctor therefore advises a full brain-scan. Two doctors run a full scan of Gül’s brain and discuss the results but find nothing unusual.

Shortly hereafter, the same two doctors are urgently called to Aytan’s apartment. They enter Gül’s bedroom to find that her condition has significantly worsened. As they watch, her neck bloats, her eyes change and she leaps into the kind of possession that we are all familiar with. When the doctors approach her, she attacks them. They give her a tranquillizing injection and explain to Aytan that the problem is still most likely to be neurological in their opinion. They recommend another scan.

They run a new scan, discuss the result and again find nothing out of the ordinary. One of the doctors adds that it might be time to think about other treatments.

On her way home, Aytan sees that a man has been injured in a fall just outside the house and is bleeding from his head. When she enters her home, the lights flicker and none of her helpers are present. She calls for Zuzan but no one answers. The phone then rings but no one’s there when she picks up. She goes to Gül’s bedroom and sees that Gül is asleep, but the room is dangerously cold and the window is open again. Zuzan then comes back in, and at the same time, the phone rings and informs them that the man who fell outside has died.

The next day, a hypnotist is called in, and as the pendulum swings before Gül, he attempts to hypnotize both her and any potential possessor while Aytan and Zuzan watch. It fails when Gül punches the hypnotist hard in the crotch. The session has ended.

In a forest nearby, Tugrul is out jogging. The local police chief approaches him to talk about whether his book has any connection to the recent death and ask if he has an idea about who could be responsible in case it was a murder, but gets no satisfying answers.

At the local hospital, a whole board of doctors sits down to discuss the Gül-case and recommends an exorcism mainly for psychiatric reasons.

Meanwhile, the police chief examines the stairs where the man fell and died, and finds what seems to be a small plaque depicting a more childish rendition of the Şeytan-face.

While Gül sleeps, her mother checks on her and finds an ornate letter opener with a Şeytan-headed grip lying on top of her blanket. She interrogates everyone in the household but no one takes credit for putting it there.

The doorbell rings and the police chief pays Aytan a visit. He comments on the presence of the book in Aytan’s home and says he has talked to Tugrul. He imagines the man who died to have fallen or been pushed from Gül’s bedroom-window, but are unable to make sense of it yet.

Soon as he leaves, Aytan hears screams from the bedroom and discover to her horror that Gül is violently stabbing herself in her crotch with the Şeytan-headed letter opener, and is bleeding heavily. She attempts to wrestle the letter opener out of Gül’s hands, but is beaten and thrown to the floor. She is then attacked by the furniture and we get the full head-rotation.

Aytan is later approached by Tugrul. She tells him that she thinks her daughter is possessed by Şeytan. They discuss the possibility of an exorcism and Tugrul agrees to see Gül.

As he enters her room, her condition is even worse than it was before and her voice has changed. She claims she is the devil himself and pukes foul mustard-spit on him. While Aytan cleans his shirt, he explains that he is still skeptical in regards to performing an exorcism. The police chief watches as Tugrul leaves. He returns quickly though and records Gül’s strange, altered voice. The two also speak Latin together. Afterwards, Aytan tells him that Gül/Şeytan might after all have been involved in that guy’s death.

Having taken his recording to an audio-engineer, Tugrul is called by Zuzan, who leads him to Gül’s bedroom and shows him that the words “Bana yardim edin” (literally: Please help me) has formed like scars on Gül’s stomach. Tugrul then talks to a religious authority who sends for the aid of the Exorcist seen earlier in the film.

Click here to unfold the remaining story (SPOILER WARNING)

As the Exorcist enters Aytan’s home, an unsettling roar goes off upstairs. Tugrul and the Exorcist get straight to it. The Exorcist has brought a copy of the Qur’an and uses it as a prayer book while sprinkling blessed water on Gül/Şeytan. She responds by puking on him as well.

The Exorcist starts praying out loud, and the bed begins to shake, but not in that way. He performs the exorcism with class and manages to make it stop. The bed then begins to levitate. He keeps exorcising and brings the bed down. Tugrul is frozen stiff while the Exorcist collects the green mass with a scarf. While Tugrul cleans the scarf, objects begin to fall down, cracks open in the walls and ceiling, Gül’s blanket flies of, the straps across her wrists burst and she levitates in cross-formation. Tugrul and the Exorcist begin chanting “God’s might forces you”. Şeytan compensates by hurting Gül with bloody cuts or scratches, but they manage to bring her down. They try to tie her hands again but she strikes them both in the face and they fly to the side. She then does the head-rotation again, and they the behold the demonic visage of Şeytan’s statue in background). She then drops lifelessly on the bed, so they put blanket over her and take a break.

The Exorcist explains how Şeytan is hoping to take away any trace of faith they have left. He then takes his cardiac medication while Tugrul goes to talk to Şeytan alone. Şeytan poses as his old mother brings him close to nervous breakdown, but the Exorcist substitutes him and begins to pray in silence.

While Aytan is having a cig, the doorbell rings and she answers the door to see that the police chief has returned. At the same time, Tugrul reenters Gül’s room and finds the Exorcist dead. He grabs Gül and punches her hysterically, until she returns to her normal self while he in turn gets possessed by Şeytan. Mustering whatever self-control he has left, he bounces out of the bedroom-window and tumbles down the long stairs outside.

By this time, Aytan and the police chief enter Gül’s room to find her crying on the floor while the Exorcist lies dead in the middle of the room and Tugrul lies dying at the foot of the outside stairs. The police chief then administers an equivalent of the last rites to the dying Tugrul.

The day after, we see Aytan moving out of the place with her housekeepers and her daughter who has forgotten all about the recent events. Outside of the house, the police chief bids them farewell, and lastly, they pass through the local mosque and experience a religious sensation before we get the end-title screen.

Cast:
Meral Taygun as Aytan
Canan Perver as Gül
Agah Hün as the Exorcist
Cihan Ünal as Tugrul Bilge
Erol Amaç as the police chief
Ali Taygun as the doctor
Ekrem Gökkaya as Ekrem

Director:
Metin Erksan

Writer:
Yilmaz Tümtürk (based on a novel by William Peter Blatty)

Links:
Şeytan (1974) on IMDB

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