Video

They Might Be Giants, But Terrance Zdunich Is The Bad Ass Russian

We got to hang out with Terrance Zdunich, the creator of Repo: The Genetic Opera and the man who played Graverobber in the film, while he was down in Houston at Comicpalooza promoting his excellent comic The Molting. Either we clicked like true homies, or he's just really, really patient with goth fan boys.

Regardless, we ended up on his email list and recently he sent along a music video that is weird and wonderful even for him.

Zdudinich's latest character is Count Tarakan, the Bad Ass Russian. After being freed from prison, he promptly fights off a pack of wolves with his bare hands, then makes a snazzy outfit out of their carcasses using only his teeth. Fresh from victory, he visits a local bar where the patrons include Jareth the Goblin King, Long John Silver, a Repo Man, a member of the Baseball Furies from the film The Warriors, a nun, and more.

Tarakan mounts the stage, punches the one-eyed jazz singer, and begins belting out a traditional Russian folk version of They Might Be Giants' "Istanbul." During the song, we are given glimpses of his other adventures, such as punching a gypsy woman fortune teller, freeing frozen spirits in an ice castle and claiming an ice sword as a prize, then using that sword to kill a yeti.

The whole thing ends in the bar with everyone celebrating. Absolutely nothing we just said was even slightly made up. All. That. Happens.

The video is actually pretty amazing in its scope, with impressive special effects, costumes, and settings. We've seen big-budget record-company attempts not look even a quarter as ambitious or put together as what Zdunich has accomplished.

Plus, Russians have the best folk music, period, so any rendering of any song into that style is guaranteed to please. All in all, "Istanbul" is absolutely mind-altering. Whoever gave Zack Snyder all that money to make Sucker Punch, which was basically a pointlessly pretty series of action music videos, should've given it to Zdunich instead. He would have put that investment to work.

Behold the adventures of Count Tarakan below.

Zdunich kindly agreed to let us question him about the music video. Click over to Page 2 if you're wondering, "OK, what was that all about?"

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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner