Saturday, October 28, 2023

Ten Days of Terror!: Baskin

Film: Baskin
Format: Streaming video from Tubi TV on various players.

Despite what you might think, Baskin has nothing to do with suspected feeder-of-people-to-tigers Carole Baskin. Evidently, “baskin” is the Turkish word for surprise attack, or raid. There definitely is a raid in this movie, and it’s one that goes in some directions that are not expected from the opening. Around the midpoint of the film, things take a very serious left turn into something really, terribly disturbing on a visceral level.

Baskin follows a group of police officers who certainly seem at the beginning of the film as if they are going to be the antagonists. They are loud, obnoxious, sexist, and violent, and while they are swapping sex stories in the restaurant they are in, one of them picks a fight with the son of the restaurant’s owner. Eventually, the cops leave, and Seyfi (Sabahattin Yakut) insists on driving the van despite having just been sick in the restaurant bathroom.

While driving, the cops get a call for backup to a place called Inceagac, which is noted for being rife with rumors of the weird. Seyfi, fresh off his illness, sees a vision of a bloodied man in the road and actually strikes something, causing the van to careen off the road and into a lake. The officers make their way to Inceagac on foot, and despite being warned by locals, head into a seemingly abandoned building.

And this is precisely where Baskin takes a very hard left turn. Up to this point, the movie has been a little weird, a little disturbing. We’re being led forward to something that we think is going to go into some clear horror territory. Where it goes, though, is into a very literal version of Hell—violence, blood, people chained up and being butchered and eviscerated. The abandoned building isn’t so abandoned, but is instead a human slaughterhouse.

Most of the rest of the film concerns this, as a hellish leader called Baba (Mehmet Cerrahoglu) starts making his way along the police, who have been captured, and forcing them to make horrifying choices. This is also where we explore the relationship between Remzi (Ergun Kuyucu), the boss of the five cops, and Arda (Gorkem Kasal), his young protégé.

I don’t really want to explore a great deal of what happens in the second half of the film. Some of that is simple because of potential spoiler issues. Some of that is because it is absolutely nasty. This walks a very fine line between being some disturbing footage that is there to present a part of the story and simply being gratuitous torture. I think it manages to stay on the right side of this line, but it does so just barely, which is actually kind of remarkable. That said, it doesn’t make this any easier to watch.

Because of this, I am of two minds with Baskin. It is a singular vision of Hell, touching in places on the sorts of human evil in Rob Zombie films, but also the Hellraiser series, Event Horizon, and other films that show this kind of extreme human degradation and horror. This is, of course, a topic that is ripe for interpretation and exploitation. On the other hand, it’s extremely hard to watch. There’s a lot of blood here, a lot of viscera, and at some point, I did have to wonder if it was just going to continue because it could.

Because of this, Baskin is very difficult to recommend. It’s also a hard film for me to say that I actually liked. It’s not a film to be enjoyed, but in some senses one to be experienced and endured. I’ve seen things that disturbed me more (Salo, Martyrs, L’Interieur), but again, that doesn’t somehow make this easier to deal with.

So, ultimately, I would suggest that Baskin is the sort of film that self-selects its audience. If you are a gorehound, you’re likely to have already sought this out and watched it. If you’re not a horror fan, you’ve never heard of this and you’re not going to watch it. If you are like me—somewhere in the middle—you’re going to have to make this decision on your own. Make that choice knowing that there is a good chance it will veer too far to the gratuitous torture porn side for your tastes; it came awfully close to doing that for me.

Why to watch Baskin: A true vision of Hell.
Why not to watch: It’s nasty.


  1. Gore isn't my thing unless it's not too gratuitous.

    1. It's plot-relevant here. As awful as it is, it really is important to what the movie is and wants to be. It was extremely unpleasant, but it was necessary for the film.