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Kaijuche: You may or may not know that Kim Jong Il, nutcase dictator of North Korea, is quite the cinema buff. (You just know he also ego-surfs. Bite me, Kim Jong Il!) Supposedly he loves James Bond movies, though not so much the latest one which actually had North Korea in it. That's irrelevant to the point that's not the main point but which is on the way to it, which is that at one point Kim Jong Il had South Korean director Shin Sang-Ok kidnapped to make films for him.

That leads right into the main point, which I didn't know until Sumana sent me a link to this Salon Premium exclusive. The main point is that the last film Shin Sang-Ok made before escaping with his wife to the US was a Godzilla rip-off called Pulgasari. Not only that, but it featured a Godzilla alum in the monster suit and other imported monster movie talent from Japan.

There's a capitalist distributor that will sell you a copy of the film, and Stomp Tokyo has the scoop on Pulgasari from a movie perspective. The film sounds okay: it's set in medieval Korea, but fortunately we still get the staple scene in which heavy weaponry is used ineffectively against the monster.

One interesting thing about Pulgasari the movie is that it reenacts in reverse the decline and fall of a giant monster movie series, as the monster destroys the enemies of the main characters and then goes on to destroy everything else. That plot itself is just a slight variant on the standard mad scientist plot; maybe there's some deep insight into giant monster movies here.

Meanwhile, south of the border, where people make films because they want to, South Korean monster Yongary continues to thrive in such films as Yonggary [sic], Yongary, Monster From the Deep, and Yongary Glen Ross.

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