Creature is a 2023 Turkish horror mini-series directed by Çağan Irmak and starring Taner Ölmez, Erkan Kolçak Köstendil, and Şifanur Gül. The series is a modern reimagining of Mary Shelley‘s 1818 classic novel Frankenstein, set in Ottoman-era Istanbul.
The creators have taken creative liberties in adapting the original story, moving it out of its original context to create a distinct modern version while maintaining the core essence of the original story.
Don’t expect it to be like Kenneth Branagh‘s film adaptation, it is not. It differs widely in its cinematic treatment – even though it tells the same story.
The series follows the story of İhsan (Erkan Kolçak Köstendil), a brilliant but reckless scientist who is obsessed with the idea of creating life. İhsan’s student, Ziya (Taner Ölmez), is also passionate about science, but he is more cautious and ethical than his mentor. When tragedy befalls İhsan, Ziya takes it upon himself to finish his mentor’s work. However, Ziya’s experiments soon go awry, and he creates a monstrous creature (played by Engin Benli). The creature is initially confused and frightened, but it soon realizes that it is different from everyone else. The creature is also aware that it is dangerous, and it tries to avoid contact with humans. However, the creature’s existence is eventually discovered, and it is hunted down by both the authorities and the public. The creature is forced to fight for its survival, and it soon learns that the world is a cruel and unforgiving place.
Same classic story, different versions, and this one is adapted for the booming Turkish entertainment industry, one of the biggest film and series producers globally. It’s an entertaining adaptation, though perhaps lacking in cinematic flair.
When adapting such a widely known text that’s been brought to screens many times before, comparison is inevitable: this isn’t the visually stunning spectacle of Branagh’s version, nor does it have the novelty of being the first (that was 1931). Many others have come between, including a memorable one from 2015. Can “Creature” stand out among all the Frankenstein retellings?
Without delving into social themes and focusing just on the cinematic level, “Creature” handles the pacing and tempo well as an adaptation that plays to its strengths without aspiring to a blockbuster scale with elaborate camerawork or settings. It knows how to vary from the familiar story enough to feel fresh, being in a new context and keep viewers who know the original engaged.
It’s novel in many ways through its serial format and reinvented plot details, keeping the classic story interesting and at times surprising.
Cinematically speaking, we miss the grand stylization we have seen in other adaptations of this gothic horror classic.
Description: When tragedy befalls a reckless scientist in Ottoman-era Istanbul, his student uses untested methods to finish his work — with devastating consequences.
Director(s): Çagan Irmak
Writer(s): Çagan Irmak
Cinematography: Ahmet Sesigurgil
Music: Can Azbazdar
Actor(s): Taner Ölmez, Erkan Kolçak Köstendil, Şifanur Gül, Bülent Şakrak, Devrim Yakut, Durul Bazan
Companies: O3 Turkey Medya, Netflix
It’s novel in many ways through its serial format and reinvented plot details, keeping the classic story interesting and new.