You'd think it would be pretty hard to screw up a title like Alien: It's one freaking word, and it's a concept that every language has, because we're all afraid of extraterrestrials probing our butts. And yet, when the first chapter of Ridley Scott's mouth-fucking space monsters saga came out in 1979, multiple countries decided that the name just wasn't scary enough, so they all expanded it into Alien: The Eighth Passenger. You know, as in, "There's one additional passenger in this spaceship besides those seven people, and it's an alien."
However, this name still wasn't clear enough for Hungary. Hungarian audiences needed more than the promise of a being from another planet occupying a spaceship with exactly one septet of humans, so the translators came up with the wonderfully Steven Seagal-esque title The Eighth Passenger Was: Death. As in, "There's one additional passenger in this spaceship, and it's an alien, and it's gonna kill everyone."
20th Century Fox
"Halal" means "death," and also that the alien can eat humans because they contain no pork.
That was kinda clever (and seriously, how is there not a direct-to-DVD Seagal movie with that name?), but then they took it too far. They flew too close to the sun and burned their wings, the crazy fools. They turned Aliens into The Planet's Name: Death, Alien 3 into Final Solution: Death, and Alien: Resurrection into the blatantly contradictory Resurrection of Death.
By now, they're just flat out pretending the aliens are called "deaths," as if the franchise was actually about intergalactic grim reapers. Hence Death vs. Predator, which sounds like an existential drama about a Predator coming to terms with his own mortality after the sudden passing of his mother.
20th Century Fox
And the Predator's name is Ellen, apparently.
Even worse, they're now using the "aliens = death" naming convention with films that have nothing to do with Sigourney Weaver's nipples -- the 1999 TV movie Alien Cargo was renamed Cargo Name: Death, and 2005's Alien Express (starring America's sweethearts Lou Diamond Phillips and Gary Busey's wife) similarly turned into The Passenger's Name: Death. Then again, Hungary thinks The Terminator is called Deathbringer ...
If you live in a country where they used any other poster than this one, you got screwed.
... Event Horizon is Death Ship ...
"Halalhajo" sounds more like a honeymoon destination.
... and both parts of F/X are, according to Google Translate, called Sneaky Death.
So maybe Hungary is just a little morbid about movies in general.
While researching this article, I found out that like 15 percent of the non-pornographic Internet consists of lists of wacky (but completely fake) movie titles from around the world, like Hong Kong translating The Sixth Sense as He's a Ghost! and The Crying Game as Oh No! My Girlfriend Has a Penis! or Israel turning Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs into It's Raining Falafel -- again, I'm sorry, but those are all bullshit. I checked. None of those are true.
Except the falafel one.
Also, those are totally baklavas in the background there and not doughnuts.
Another one that gets mentioned a lot in those lists is Robert Rodriguez's The Faculty being translated as The Teachers Aren't Human by China, even though everyone knows that the teachers in that movie aren't actually aliens, they're just being mind-controlled by ear-invading space worms. C'mon, do you really think China's translators would be so careless? Yes, of course they would:
"If Robert Rodriguez wasn't going to give a shit, why should we?"
Also real? Cracked has mentioned before how Japan turned Army of Darkness into Captain Supermarket (I'd love to show you the poster here, but Cracked's servers can only withstand one copy of its awesomeness), but we neglected to tell you that they also translated Girl, Interrupted as 17-Year-Old Girl's Medical Chart, which sounds like something that should be illegal to watch.
Consequently, it became the most seen movie in Japan ever.
The "crazy foreign title spoils the ending of the movie" thing also happens for real. For instance, Finland was considerate enough to turn The Shawshank Redemption into Rita Hayworth: The Key to Escape in order to save moviegoers two and a half hours by letting them know right away how Tim Robbins eventually sneaks out of that prison.
The original title, He Digs a Tunnel Behind the Poster for 20 Years, You See, didn't fit on the DVD cover.
Meanwhile, Portugal decided that Planet of the Apes would be way better if it was called The Man Who Came from the Future -- that is, they looked at the movie, saw that it's set on a planet ruled by intelligent super-evolved apes, and thought, "Whoa, time travel. Yep, that's what this movie is about: a guy who travels from the future to our simian-ruled present."
20th Century Fox
Or, like, slightly to the past, when the Statue of Liberty was only half done.
By the way, movies with "future" in the title apparently do pretty well in Portuguese, even if the word is completely redundant or misleading: In Brazil, The Terminator is The Terminator from the Future, Total Recall is The Avenger from the Future, and that popular Michael J. Fox 1980s movie is The Boy from the Future -- nope, I'm not talking about Back to the Future. I meant Teen Wolf.
Teen Wolf is called The Boy from the Future in Brazil, and there's nothing more to add to this article.
Maxwell Yezpitelok has finished the first chapter of his online comic, ACK, and you can download it for FREE here.