Monster of the Day #453

Interesting / insane story; this movie was made by South Korean director Shin Shek-ok, of whom Kim Jong-il (then son of the current ruler) so admired he had him kidnapped and brought to North Korea to make movies. The film, unsurprisingly, is a thinly veiled attack on capitalism. Of course, so is nearly everything Hollywood makes.

Toho’s Teruyoshi Nakano, who worked on most of the ’70s Godzilla movies and other films, worked on the special effects. Kenpachiro Satsuma, who went on to  play Godzilla from ’84 to ’95, played the monster here.

  • Reportedly the Japanese crew had a slightly tense moment at the airport on the way out, but ultimately got out of NK safe and sound.

  • bgbear_rogerh

    well at least Nork kaiju don’t have to worry about those pesky power lines.  

  • Flangepart

    Hummm…very ‘Ultraman’ look to the old boy.
    Kim Jung-mentally Ill sure had a way with the ‘hired’ help, eh?

  • What minimal footage I’ve seen looked fairly impressive, effects wise, for what that’s worth. I heard it was remade some years later by a more friendly country. What of the plot I recall hearing, PULGUSARI (?) sounds a lot like the Majin movies of the 60’s.

  • Gamera977

    Not complaining, I liked Kim much better when he made these box office bombs instead of atomic bombs…..

    Yeah, the whole story is just really, really, strange.

  • The Rev.

    That’s my impression as well, Rock.

    Pulgasari and the Daimajin movies are about the only giant monster movies left that I’ve yet to see (A*P*E is also on that very short list, oddly enough.)

  • Petoht

    Wasn’t he also forced to remarry his ex-wife?  Or was that some other kidnapped director?  I seem to recall Mental Floss doing an article about him.

  • saandra

    He looks like Godzilla in a sumurai suit

  • Scott Hamilton

    Shin Sang-ok did remarry his ex-wife, who was also in North Korea at the time. The thing is calling Shin “kidnapped” may be overdoing it. It’s hard to imagine now, but in the 1960s and 1970s it was not uncommon for people to defect to NK. Remember, South Korea was a harsh military dictatorship until 1992, it was just the military dictatorship the US government liked. Shin was in trouble with that government in the late 1970s. They had seized his movie studio, and he was wanted for arrest. When he disappeared everyone assumed he had gone to NK, and when he was revealed to be there no one was surprised and it wasn’t even a diplomatic incident. So why would he later claim to be kidnapped? Because that was the only way a person could defect back South, otherwise he/she would be jailed as a traitor. I understand that Shin had some proof he was kidnapped in the form of recordings where Kim Jong Il allegedly admits to it, but I suspect the truth is a lot more nuanced. 

  • BScCollateral

    I recommend the first Daimajin film.

    Heh. I sprung that on my friend without telling him it was a giant monster film. To his credit, he figured it out before the statue walked.