Stealing a Classic

How a Group of Turkish Filmmakers Stole ‘Star Wars’

Çetin İnanç, a Turkish filmmaker who specialized in gangster films and light erotic fiction, had a problem. The only solution, as he saw it, was to rip off the space epic.

Photo Illustration by Kelly Caminero/The Daily Beast

From Nigerian Titanic to Turkish Straw Dogs, there is a thriving world of relocated stolen blockbusters. They’re so bad, they’re unmissable.

In 1982, Çetin İnanç, a Turkish filmmaker who specialized in gangster films and light erotic fiction, had a problem. He’d spent the equivalent of $300,000 on a sci-fi movie and had nothing to show for it. The only solution, as he saw it, was to steal Star Wars. Literally.

With its insane plot line, terrible costumes, and outright theft of music and footage, Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam—or The Man Who Saved the World—is generally considered one of the worst films of all time.

But the film’s fans—both in Turkey and abroad—defend it to the hilt.

“Çetin İnanç is the Roger Corman of Turkey,” says Ali Murat Güven, a film critic and historian, comparing İnanç to the man known as “The Pope of Pop Cinema.”

The film was a commercial success in Turkey when it first came out and, thanks to the internet, developed a cult following around the world years later.

“I think there’s been this big cultural thing in the past 10 years of ‘so bad it’s good’ movies,” says Ed Glaser a collector and restorer of “remakesploitation” movies, budget spin-offs of successful Hollywood productions such as Nigerian Titanic and Turkish Straw Dogs. “I take issue with that because I think if there’s a film that you enjoy, that you find really entertaining, that you watch multiple times, maybe it’s not so bad it’s good, maybe it’s just good.”

Glaser owns the only known original 35mm copy of Turkish Star Wars and is in the process of getting it restored.

“I wanted to find a way to get it scanned and preserved in a vault somewhere with hundreds of its friends, until we can actually do something with it.”

He hopes, in the not-too-distant future, for the film that was once passed around on bootleg VHS tapes in its full, odd glory.

“It’s not really my goal to be the one who releases it. I’m its custodian, is the way I’m treating it.”

You can find many of the stories behind the remakes in Glaser’s collection—from Italian Jaw to Korean Tron—in his series, Deja View.