Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Zombies Zombies Zombies

I think I might start a semi-regular feature here, which I will not-so-inventively call Coming Attractions -- a look at some movie and/or movies coming down the pike. And the first thing that comes to mind is all the zombie movies that are on the way.

This is an especially strange trend because I cannot remember any zombie movies in Korea. There was WALK LIKE A ZOMBIE ("Jombi-cheoreom Georeobwa") in 2004, but that movie did not have any zombies in it (that I know of... I did not see it and I do not know anyone who saw it). And, of course, there have been plenty of movies featuring dead, undead, and not-so-dead spirits over the years. Plenty of zombies in the audience, but not so many up on the screens.

That is all about to change. Grace Lee (of THE GRACE LEE PROJECT) is working on an English-language film in the United States, but using iHQ money, called AMERICAN ZOMBIE. Ms Lee's film is about two documentary filmmakers who discover a kind of "zombie festival" (like Lollapalooza?) they want to film, but things go awry (of course). This film is nearly done.

Jane Shin is making MOMMY'S RISEN, also low budget, about an 11-year-old kid sent to an orphanage when, surprise, his mommy comes back. She is not a brain-eater, however. Instead, mommy reopens her grocery store and tries to live her... uh, life. Live her death? Unlife? Anyhow, she goes about her business, but her body starts to decay and stink. When she tries to stop a bully from bothering her son, something goes wrong (even more wrong than the whole zombie thing).

Lucy Film is putting together one of those annoying three-short-films movies, but this one actually looks really good. It's DOOMSDAY BOOK, and all three stories are pretty out there. "Heavenly Creature" is by Kim Jee-woon (TALE OF TWO SISTERS) and is about a robot at a Buddhist temple that has attained supreme Buddhist enlightenment, greatly annoying the engineer who built it. "The Gift of the Magi" is by Han Jae-rim (THE RULES OF DATING) and is about people trying to get off the Earth one Christmas, in the last few hours before the Earth is destroyed.

But the third short is the zombie one, by Yim Pil-sung (ANTARCTIC JOURNAL), and stars Ryoo Seung-bum. This is about a guy who meets up with some local toxic waste, meets a nice girl with a huge appetite for galbi, and finds some strange bruises and health problems arising. Understated, but definitely potential here.

But it is Ryoo brother, Ryoo Seung-wan, who is tackling the biggest zombie project of all. YACHA is going to be big -- perhaps $10 million. It is still in pre-production, but it is Show East's next big-budget movie and they have high hopes for it. But I think they are aiming for 2008. Maybe late 2007?

So, there you go. Four zombie movies on the way.

With so many films being made these days in Korea (it looks like over 100 will be released this year, which would be the most since 1991), there are certainly plenty to talk about. But we might have some huge news about one particular film. Maybe in the next week or two? If I'm allowed to tell, then I will pass the word on.

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