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[Non-CKS] Monstrous: The Dark Side of Korean Horror Films

Presented by Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

[Non-CKS] Monstrous: The Dark Side of Korean Horror Films

Thirst (2009), Image: Focus Features

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will present Monstrous: The Dark Side of New Korean Cinema, October 1–29. Monstrous highlights the complexities of Korean genre films and the societal issues explored by horror films from South Korea's modern filmmakers.

Saturday, October 1, 2022

This Academy Museum film screening series, bookended by two works of Park Chan-wook (Oldboy and Thirst), highlights the first decade of the 21st century to examine the complexities of Korean genre films, and their aesthetics and narratives in the context of a country amidst a changing world at the dawn of a new millennium. Presented in part by a grant from The Korea Foundation, the series also introduces viewers to the filmmakers who pioneered the global establishment of Korean horror films whose storylines span from domestic issues to war, serial killing, colonial trauma, and foreign intervention.

Screenings will take place throughout the month of October, and all films will be shown in the museum's Ted Mann Theater.

  • Oct. 1, 2022 | 7:30 pm | Oldboy
  • Oct. 8, 2022 | 3 pm | R-Point
  • Oct. 17, 2022 | 7:30 pm |The Host
  • Oct. 22, 2022 | 3 pm | Bedevilled
  • Oct. 28, 2022 | 7:30 pm | The Chaser with Epitaph
  • Oct. 29, 2022 | 3 pm | I Saw the Devil
  • Oct. 29, 2022 | 7:30 pm | Thirst, includes conversation with director and co-writer Park Chan-wook.

Oct. 1, 2022 | 7:30 pm | Oldboy: Dae-su, a middle-aged drunkard and white-collar worker, has neither ambition nor purpose in life. One rainy night, Dae-su’s life takes a horrific turn: he is abducted and imprisoned in a windowless room for 15 years without explanation. After his release, he must find the reason for his captivity and seek redemption. Oldboy, the second film in The Vengeance Trilogy of director Park Chan-wook, captivated international audiences upon its release. This film explosively explores the brutal extremes of the complex, visceral human instinct through the sophisticated lenses of storytelling, stunning visual compositions, and a meticulously curated soundtrack that often contradicts the brutal violence presented in its scenes.

Oct. 8, 2022 | 3 pm | R-Point: Kong Su-chang's directorial debut feature, R-Point, is a wartime horror film set in the early 1970s during the Vietnam War. A unit of Korean soldiers is dispatched to investigate the disappearance of an entire military squad in the desolate region known as R-Point. Terrifying events unfold as the horrific history of R-Point haunts the dispatch unit Kong’s honest and insightful depiction of Korean soldiers in the Vietnam War is rather complicated—they are perpetrators of violent war crimes, but also victims of the war driven by imperialism. Horror triggered by global trauma is an unsettling theme explored in R-Point.

Oct. 17, 2022 | 7:30 pm | The Host: Oscar®-winning director Bong Joon-ho’s third feature film, The Host, is a monster blockbuster starring Song Kang-ho (Parasite) as Park Gang-du. The film begins with a U.S. military doctor (the late Scott Wilson) ordering his assistant to illegally dump toxic chemicals down a drain that leads to the Han River. Several years later, a mutated monster emerges from the river to wreak havoc on Seoul. When the monster abducts his daughter, Gang-du and his squabbling family band together to rescue her. Equal parts creature feature, dysfunctional family comedy, and political satire, The Host is a monumental work.

Oct. 22, 2022 | 3 pm | Bedevilled: Longtime assistant director to Kim Ki-duk, Jang Cheol-soo's debut feature Bedevilled is a horror thriller set in Moo-do, a remote island of nine residents, where Bok-nam (Seo Young-hee from The Chaser) is treated like a slave by her husband and the rest of the Moo-do residents. Tired of the relentless torture and abuse, Bok-nam plans an escape with her daughter, which ends in tragedy, leaving her in absolute despair. Driven by brutal rage, Bok-nam must seek revenge on those who have been “unkind” to her.

Oct. 28, 2022 | 7:30 pm | The Chaser: Inspired by the true story of Yoo Young-chul, one of Korea’s most infamous serial killers, The Chaser is the debut feature of Na Hong-jin (The Wailing) Joong-ho, a corrupt ex-cop turned heartless pimp, finds himself in debt when two of his girls mysteriously disappear. Suspicious of the last patron of the missing women, Joong-ho hatches a plan to “bait” the customer with another woman, Mi-jin. Amidst its dizzying suspense, terrifying bloody violence, and breathless chase scenes, The Chaser imagines what justice looks like under a sociopolitical system that is neither practical nor sympathetic to victims of violence, corruption, and modernization.

Epitaph: Epitaph, directed by brothers Jung Sik and Jung Bum-shik, is a horror film composed of three bizarre stories that unfold at the inter-section of love, death, and obsession. At Ansaeng, a hospital located in Kyung-sung during Japanese colonial rule in 1942, a series of inexplicable incidents occurs—an intern becomes obsessed with the corpse of a young woman; a girl, the sole survivor of a horrific accident, is terrorized by ghosts; and two doctors are terrified by serial murders targeting Japanese soldiers. Visually stunning with mesmerizing art direction and arresting shot compositions, Epitaph is a strangely beautiful, atypical entry in the horror genre.

Oct. 29, 2022 | 3 pm | I Saw the Devil: A Tale of Two Sisters (2003) director Kim Jee-woon teamed up with Choi Min-sik (Oldboy) and Lee Byung-hun (J.S.A.) in one of the most gruesome vengeance thrillers from Korea. Soo-hyun (Lee) is a top secret agent who loses his fiancé to a horrific murder by a psychopathic killer (Choi). Determined to seek vengeance, Soo-hyun begins an obsessive hunt for the killer. Hardcore, violent scenes are masterly balanced with stylish cinematography and chilling chemistry between two brilliant actors, Choi and Lee.

Oct. 29, 2022 | 7:30 pm | Thirst: Lee Chang-dong, acclaimed director of Burning (2018) and Secret Sunshine (2007), has said of Park Chan-wook's Thirst that it "could be the most unique vampire film ever made, equipped with overflowing cinematic imagination." Park Chan-wook redefines the vampire genre with a quirky sense of humor and keen insight on the dark territories surrounding the human condition. SongKang-ho plays a moral priest who accidentally turns into a vampire after volunteering for a medical experiment and is faced with the dilemmas of his new existence. In Thirst, Song showcases his exceptional mastery over satire, contributing brilliant and ironic tonality throughout the film. This screening includes a conversation with director and co-writer Park Chan-wook.

Tickets to the Academy Museum are available only through advance online reservations via the Academy Museum’s website and mobile app. 

Film screening tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for seniors (age 62+), and $5 for students and children (age 17-). Matinees are $5 for all. Ticket prices for Academy Museum members are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, and $4 for students, children, and matinee-goers.

General admission tickets for the museum’s exhibitions are $25 for adults, $19 for seniors (age 62+), and $15 for students. Admission for visitors ages 17 and younger, and for California residents with an EBT card is free.

Visitors are required to follow all current COVID-19 public health guidelines by the state of California and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health in place at the time of their visit. 

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