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[Movie 2007] Black House 검은집


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Hwang Jung Min, Yu Sun, Kang Sin Il, Kim Seo Hyung

2007 Horror Film "Black House" 검은집

OFFICIAL WEBSITE http://www.psychopath.co.kr/





This will be the second translation into film for japanese novelist Yusuke Kishi's Kuroi Ie aka The Black House. The first was in 1999 directed by Yoshimitsu Morita, and stared Masaaki Uchino, Shinobu Ootake, and Masahiko Nishimura.

Now in 2007, Korean director Shin Tae-ra who brought us the low budget Brainwave last summer is bring his version to the big screen. Hwang Jung-min, Kang Sin-il, and Kim Seo-hyung make up the cast for this version of Yusuke Kishi's novel.

The Black House already has a few things going for it before its official release this June 21. During Cannes, it attracted a lot of attention from international buyers based on the plot and Hwang Jung-min's strong performance.

Kadokawa Pictures, who plan to release the film later this year in Japan, gave the film thumbs up during their preview of the film. It looks like The Black House could become a big hit for Shin Tae-ra in not only Korea, but also in Japan.

Gratitude & further info at KungFuCultCinema.com


Sin Tae-ra [shin Terra, 신태라] Brainwave, 2005


Hwang Jeong-min [황정민] Bloody Tie, 2006, A Bittersweet Life, 2005, You Are My Sunshine, 2005

Kang Shin-il [강신일] Maundy Thursday, 2006, Public Enemy, 2002

Yoo Seon [유선] The Wig, 2005, The Big Swindle, 2004, The Uninvited, 2003

Kim Seo-hyeong [김서형] The City of Violence, 2006

Poster, Stills, Production Photos, Trailer




April 23, 2007 - Black House brings together director SHIN Terra (Brainwave, 2005) and the actors HWANG Jung-min (You Are My Sunshine, 2005), KANG Shin-il (Silmido, 2003), YU Sun (The Wig, 2005) and KIM Sang-hyun (The City of Violence, 2006). The CJ Entertainment project is a co-production with the Japanese production company Kadokawa Pictures. The film is based on a book by the popular Japanese horror novelist Kishi Yusuke, who specializes in the particular Japanese style of psychological horror. The book has been adapted into a Japanese film before. Filming wrapped-up in early April and will open in cinemas in June.

Yi Ch’ang-ho (KOFIC)


April 24, 2007 - Like almost every other horror film I can recall, Black House, directed by Sin Tae-ra [shin Terra, 신태라] and featuring a cast headed by the excellent Hwang Jeong-min [황정민] (Bloody Tie, 2006, A Bittersweet Life, 2005, You Are My Sunshine, 2005), involves a series of unexplained deaths. Unlike other Korean horror movies, the film is the first in my recollection to feature psychedelic poster art (it's only a teaser!). Adapted from a novel by Japanese writer Kishi Yusuke and co-produced by CJ Entertainment and Kadokawa Pictures, this early entry in this summer's horror film line-up finished shooting earlier this month and is slated for theatrical release in June. Other cast members include Kang Shin-il [강신일] (Maundy Thursday, 2006, Public Enemy, 2002), Yoo Seon [유선] (The Wig, 2005, The Big Swindle, 2004, The Uninvited, 2003) and Kim Seo-hyeong [김서형] (The City of Violence, 2006). Sin Tae-ra previously directed Brainwave [브레인웨이브], a low-budget sci-fi adventure, which received a limited release last summer.

[source: KOFIC, KFCC] » Posted by Jon Pais at TwitchFilm.net


BLACK HOUSE. ("Geomeun jib") Shin Tae-ra, the director of the low-budget science fiction adventure Brainwave which received a limited release in the summer of 2006, is returning with his second feature length movie. The title of the film translates as "The Black House" and is based on a Japanese novel of the same name written by the master of horror Yusuke Kishi. This thriller, which revolves around a string of mysterious deaths, stars the talented actor Hwang Jeong-min (Road Movie, You Are My Sunshine). Accompanying him in the cast are Kang Shin-il (Public Enemy, Some), Yoo Seon (The Wig, The Uninvited) and Kim Seo-hyeong (Sweet Sex and Love, City of Violence). This movie is a joint venture by CJ Entertainment and Kadokawa Pictures and will be released on June 21.

by Tom Giammarco and Darcy Paquet, poster courtesy CINE21



Black House (Korea)

Released June 21

Thriller. Directed by Shin Tae-ra. Insurance company employee Jeon Joon-oh (Hwang Jeong-min) witnesses his customer's 7-year-old son dead hanging from the ceiling. Although the father strongly insists that his son actually hanged himself, Jeon, suspicious about the boy's death, refuses to give the boy's life insurance money to him. Park (Kang Shing-il) constantly insists that death benefits be paid, threatening and blackmailing Jeon and his insurance company. At the boy's funeral, Jeon sees the mother of the dead child Shin (Yoo Sun) with scars suggested an attempted suicide on her wrist. Jeon's suspicion about Park and his family keeps growing. (103 min.)

Source: The Korea Herald

Gratitude CINE21, KOFIC, KungFuCult Cinema, koreanfilm.org, Twitchfilm.net, various media sources, Hwang Jung Min soompi thread

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HWANG JUNG MIN DOB: September 1, 1970




Black House 2007

Happiness 2007

Over the Hedge 2006

Bloody Tie 2006

Heaven's Soldiers 2005

You Are My Sunshine 2005

A Bittersweet Life 2005

All For Love/My Lovely Week 2005

The Wolf Returns 2004

This Charming Girl 2004

Twentidentity 2004

A Good Laywer's Wife 2003

YMCA Baseball Team 2002

Road Movie 2002

Waikiki Brothers 2001

Swiri/Shiri 1999

The General's Son 1990

JUNE 21, 2007 His First Leading Role


Hwang Jeong-min, famous movie star, said, “I look like a person from the countryside. I can’t change it because was born this way. I am the last person to be perfect. I am not good at doing household chores. I am not a good father. I feel uneasy when I go to a district office for documents. But I think it is better to live as an imperfect but approachable person than to live as a snobbish celebrity.”

What is it like to wait for the release of your movie after shooting it?

“I always want to think, ‘I did my best. I am not anxious,’ but I actually do the opposite. But I end up feeling edgy, worrying about the response of moviegoers. And since ‘psychopath’ is my first horror movie, I am even more anxious,” Hwang replied.

All of a sudden, I remember what you said when you received a movie award: “I feel like I am a freeloader.” Do you feel the same this time?

Yes, I feel the same as always. If any staff members do not pull their weight, a movie can’t be produced. I am very happy whenever I have a part in any given movie because I realize the reason for my existence. An actor is an actor only when he or she is on the stage or before the camera.”

A few years back, he happened to read “Kuroi Ie,” on which “Black House” is based, by Yusuke Kishi. Last year, he was offered to star in the movie as protagonist Jun Joon-oh, an employee working for an insurer. He said, “It was like destiny.”

Hwang said, “This is the first time that I am the only protagonist in the movie. If I had not liked being the only central character, I would have refused to do the movie. But I really want the audience to accept Jun Joon-oh as an ordinary person. While I was working on the movie, I met an insurance industry insider who said that there was a wife who received insurance money by putting toxic chemicals in her husband’s eyes. Isn’t it surprising that these kinds of things happen?”

Are you saying that the message of the movies is “Let’s understand psychopaths?”

“I was wondering why ‘Kuroi Ie’ was written and why ‘Black House’ was produced in 2007? Let’s take a look at Virginia Tech shooter Cho Seung-hee. He was a member of the community he lived in. Anyone can fall victim to shooters like him. So we should prevent people from becoming psychopaths like Cho.”

Do you have a cruel side?

“Of course, I do. I get angry when I am told to order the same kind of the food the rest of our group prefers. And if servers in restaurants are not kind and friendly, I can only calm myself down by expressing my anger to them. Some people I get angry with are bigger than me, but what can they do to me worse than killing?”

He has had a series of hits, such as "You`re My Sunshine’; ‘All for love’; and ‘Bloody Tie,’ but he is worried about the success of ‘Black House,’ given the fact that for seven weeks in a row, Hollywood movies, including ‘Spiderman 3,’ have been beating home-grown ones. He said, “Korean movies are on a losing streak not because they are domestic movies but because they are not fun. If we work hard, we can fight back.”

“I am turning 40 soon. When I was in high school I thought I can be one of the top performers. Now, I think I have to move it to 50. What I learned so far is that in acting there is no such thing as a shortcut. Only when I do my best and am honest do I can strike a chord with the audience.”

Source: The DongA-Ilbo, thanks to Shirley at HJM thread for the highlight


June 21, 2007 'Black' Is Gore With Suspense

By Lee Hyo-won

Staff Reporter


A scene from "The Black House"

Rusty, run down and remote except for the sporadic purr of a passing train, "The Black House" is no haunted mansion but a sinister place "where lies the darkest secret" of a psychopath __ a monster devoid of any human feeling or conscience.

Featuring a dungeon with nooses hanging from the ceiling and tainted tubs oozing with blood and dismantled limbs, and a psychopath nearing the next victim with a butcher's knife while humming an eerie song, "Black" offers chills and gore.

As the thriller fathoms the depths of man's "fascination for abomination," the bloodbath dilutes some of the suspense factor. But the film is deeply disturbing as it unravels from the eyes of an equally disquieting protagonist (Hwang Jung-min, "You Are My Sunshine," 2005).

On his first day of work at a life insurance company, consultant Jun-oh (Hwang) answers a phone call from a woman asking about compensation for suicide. Only after hanging up does he see the employee handbook warning against revealing personal information and expressing sympathy to such inquirers.

A few days later, Jun-oh is led to a decrepit house sitting on the outskirts of a sleepy neighborhood, where he finds a dead seven-year-old, hanging by the neck. But even more disconcerting is the darting glance of the boy's stepfather, Park (Kang Shin-il).

Though all evidence points to suicide, Jun-oh is convinced otherwise and postpones the insurance payment. Park stops at nothing to recover his money. Discovering that Park's wife, Shin (Yu Sun), is covered by a 300 million won plan, Jun-oh tries to warn her before another murder ensues.

As Jun-oh ventures on a harrowing journey to unlock the truth of "the black house," he must protect not only his life but that of his lover.

Based on the best-selling novel of the same title by Yusuke Kishi, "Black" received much attention from international buyers at Cannes in May for its strong script and acting. A Japanese version of the film was made in 1999, and Dimension Films of the United States also plans to film the story.

Popular horror novelist Yusuke Kishi wrote the creepy tale based on his own experience at an insurance company. The writer is said to have expressed great surprise at Hwang's portrayal of Jun-oh, because the actor brought to life the precise image the author had in mind.

Hwang's role as the unlikely life insurance consultant is probably the most amiable one after Mr. Incredible from Walt Disney's "The Incredibles" (2004). But his abnormal degree of sympathy is troubling.

Haunted by the skeletons in his own closet, Jun-oh goes out of his way to help others, endangering not only himself but his loved ones. As he battles the stoic psychopath, he desperately tries to locate a trace of humanity in the monstrous being.

In portraying the truth about psychopaths, the film touches upon some childhood traumatic incidents but gives a one-dimensional generalization. While "Black" tries to strike your nerves by suggesting that there could be a psychopath living next door, it's not so arresting.

The film's suspense factor is slightly drained as it relies more on gore to keep viewers aghast. Like master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock famously said, "there is no terror in a bang, only in the anticipation of it."

Yet, Hwang's impressive performance manages to shine through the heavy blood shower.

This is the third Korea-Japan joint venture following the Cannes award-winning "Old Boy" (2003) by Park Chan-wook and Asian box-office hit "200 Pounds Beauty" (2006) starring Kim A-jung, both inspired by Japanese comic books and brought to screen by Korean filmmakers and actors.

Source: hyowlee@koreatimes.co.kr


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June 15, 2007 Black House Press Preview


th_1931_2.jpg th_1931_3.jpg th_1931_4.jpg th_1931_5.jpg th_1931_9.jpg

th_1931_12.jpg th_1931_11.jpg th_1931_7.jpg th_1931_13.jpg

Source innolife.net




JUNE 16, 2007 Why Do Koreans Watch Horror Flicks in Summer?

Summer is the season when moviegoers in Korea see spine-chilling horror films at cinemas to escape the sweltering heat.

Our Son Heekyung has the latest on this genre and its popularity during the season.

Domestic directors hope to scare the sluggish movie industry back on track by releasing eight horror films this summer.

The release of the film ''The Evil Twin'' late last month kicked off the horror movie season in Korea.

So why is summer considered the best season to release scary cinema in the country?

''The trend of watching horror films at the hottest time of the year in Korea began around five years ago. That's when Korean directors started producing more horror movies in time for a summer release to satisfy moviegoers. An obvious reason for watching such flicks in the summer is to cool off from the heat.''

One of the most awaited horror films this year is ''Black House.''

The story is about a string of mysterious deaths, which itself will be relatively new to Korean audiences.

''The hardest of all was expressing fear and dread. Until now, a mix of horror and mystery were rarely seen in Korean movies.''

Directors are looking for new trendsetters in this genre to shift from the stereotypes that horror films are psychological, use themes to scare people and show disturbing images.

''Korean horror films in the past focused on portraying people's regrets and emotions in life. But not anymore. The lineup for this summer is different. Among the stand outs this year are mystery thrillers and horrors set at hospitals.''

Movie critics say films combining mystery and horror are the new trend this summer.

They say horror flicks in the past had a limited following, but that it's now gaining a wider fan base.

''Filmmakers are coming up with innovative elements to break away from conventional and traditional horror films. The film 'Black House' is a case in point. It's based on a Japanese novel of the same title and revolves around a psychopath.''

Another development is the rise of medical thrillers.

''Return'' is about a 10-year-old boy who kills a child after being awakened by a doctor during surgery.

The mystery is why his life changed for the worst after the operation.

There's also the horror film ''Muoi,'' set in Vietnam.

The secret is behind the portrait.

Son Heekyung, Arirang News & movie stills from mydaily-empas.com


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this is hwang jungmin's first leading role?

i wish him the best of luck! aja aja fighting!<3

Hi there, welcome to Black House. ^_^

Yeah.. in a way.. this is his first (full) leading role although he'd already been in other co-starring lead roles like in Bloody Tie with Ryu Seung Bum, You Are My Sunshine with Jeon Do Yeon and the upcoming Happiness with Im Soo Jung. Black House undoubtly will showcase HJM's acting credibility all the way.

Likewise, totally wishing him the very best of luck in this cool horror. :P

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After nationwide release on June 21 ^_^

Korea Weekend Box Office - June 22-24

Yet another week where the top film in Seoul and the top film in the rest of the country differed. BLACK HOUSE was the top film nationwide, according to the official KOBIS report.

And yet again, OCEAN'S 13 was the top film, even though there were four movies (BLACK HOUSE, SHREK 3, PIRATES 3 and HWANG JIN-YI) with more screens than the George Clooney casino movie. Amusingly, three of those films (all except PIRATES 3) were distributed by CJ Entertainment, a credit to the company's clout. HWANG JIN-YI, despite finishing in seventh this week, is still playing on 286 screens.

Sad to see HOT FUZZ open so poorly. But audiences here clearly missed out on most of the jokes in the first two-thirds of the movie -- especially the puns (which is to be expected, I guess) and the homoeroticism (no comment).

Title - Weekend Seoul Admissions - Total Nationwide Admissions

1. Ocean's 13 - 120,300 - 1,014,700

2. Black House - 119,000 - 494,000

3. Shrek 3 - 80,000 - 2,563,000

4. Captivity - 31,600 - 134,300

5. Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World's End - 27,500 - 4,867,000

6. Love & Other Disasters - 23,800 - 216,400

7. Hwang Jinyi - 18,700 - 1,196,500

8. Hot Fuzz - 16,000 - 60,000

9. Never Forever - 15,100 - 47,000

10. Secret Sunshine - 10,700 - 1,634,300

Thanks to Mark Russell at koreapopwars.blogspot.com

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YAY FOR BLACK HOUSE & HJM! rbhcool.gif

June 25, 2007

Korean horror takes top B.O. spot

'Black House' creeps past Hollywood hits



SEOUL -- For the first time in eight weeks, South Korea cinema has turned out a local hit with horror title "Black House" taking $3.6 million from Thursday to Sunday on 353 screens for the No. 1 box office spot.

Pic is an adaptation of a novel by Japanese writer Yusuke Kishi about an insurance agent who suspects one of his clients of fraud and murder. Co-financed by Japanese studio Kadokawa, "Black House" marks a return to inhouse production for Korean major CJ Entertainment.

Meanwhile Hollywood pic "Ocean's Thirteen" passed the 1 million ticket mark in its second week for a $7 million cume, and "Shrek the Third" landed in third place with $17.6 million in three weeks.

Only other local debut was Gina Kim's Korean-U.S. co-production "Never Forever," which screened in competition at Sundance. It opened at No. 9 with $320,000.

Local pics will have a tough ride next weekend — Michael Bay's "Transformers" opens wide on Thursday.

Korean cinema still has a long way to go to turn around what many consider a highly disappointing year. According to the Korean Film Council's online box office information system, local films have a 47.7% market share for the year to date, compared to more than 60% for last year as a whole.

Highest grossing local film is CJ's "Voice of a Murderer" with $22 million, whereas last year saw hits on the scale of "The Host" ($90 million), "King and the Clown" ($84 million), "Tazza: The High Rollers" ($47 million) and "My Boss My Teacher" ($42 million).

Source: Variety.com


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June 27, 2007

Actor can’t hide his truthful eyes


Actor Hwang Jung-min, known for his versatile images.

By Park Jong-geun

When Hwang Jung-min, 38, accepted the best actor award at the Blue Dragon Film Festival for his performance in “You’re My Sunshine” many were moved when he said: “All I did was add a spoon to a dinner table that had already been prepared by others.”

This summer Hwang is back with a different kind of film, designed to scare and horrify , as he stars in the thriller “Psychopath,” directed by Shin Tae-ra.

The film, which will be released tomorrow, is based on a novel by Japanese author Yusuke Kishi. Hwang plays Chun Jun-oh, who works for an insurance company and fights against a psychopath while investigating the mysterious suicide of a 7-year-old boy.

The JoongAng Ilbo met with Hwang to get an insider’s look at the film.

“I always wondered why Korea has no movies like ‘Dressed to Kill,’ ‘The Silence of the Lambs,’ or ‘Seven,’” said Hwang. “On a hot summer’s day, people want movies like these to give them a chill but, until now, Korean films weren’t able to do this.”

However, while making his first thriller, Hwang understood why there are few Korean films of this type. “This genre of film is one that needs to be accurate in depicting emotions.”


"Psycho Path," (aka Black House) Hwang Jung-min's

latest film on theaters.

Hwang said that it is difficult for viewers to absorb every aspect of the emotions that the film originally intended to deliver. “The goal is for my acting to make people shudder and feel a chill in the very marrow of their bones,” said Hwang.

Given the responsibility of chilling the viewers, filming was not easy. “Confronting the psychopath for the first time, I had to act as if my blood vessels were going to burst,” said Hwang.

When asked about the character Chun, Hwang says, “He is not very attractive; he doesn’t strike people at first. However, he has the power to make viewers react instantly to the horrific scenes.

“Besides, when I select scenarios, I look at the overall storyline rather than the character itself,” said Hwang. He said that he even imagined acting as a passerby in the movie “Billy Elliot.”

Hidden behind this character is Hwang’s effort to continuously bring out the character’s inner workings.

“When shooting a scene on a roller coaster ride, I imagined that the viewer was sitting right next to me,” said Hwang. “It would be wrong if only I, Chun, was terrified and the person next to me was not.”

Starring in various musicals and plays in Daehangno including “Subway Line No. 1” in 1994, Hwang’s debut film was “The Waikiki Brothers,” in 2001. Then he appeared in prominent films like “A Good Lawyer’s Wife,” “You’re My Sunshine,” and “Bloody Tie,” all of which required him to play diverse characters.

“It is very important that you don’t get too absorbed in yourself,” said Hwang. “You must always remember that there is another person watching the scene. Maintaining objectivity is important.”

Hwang emphasizes three elements: the audience, the scenario and the actor.

Of the scar on his nose, he mentioned that not many have noticed it, even though he doesn’t cover it with make up. “This proves that people look into an actors’ eyes; the eyes don’t lie and it shows whether an actor is sincere or not,” said Hwang.

Along with Hwang’s emphasis on sincerity, he also mentioned two tearful scenes. “Actors cry by positioning themselves in the character and, secondly, by thinking about their own sad experiences,” said Hwang.

He prefers the former to the latter, since empathy, to an actor, is important.

In fact, Hwang was involved in one episode where there were almost too many emotions: He was in real fix when shooting “You Are My Sunshine” because his heart felt like he was actually falling in love with actress Jeon Do-yeon, his lover in the story.

“In that movie, I had to be in a tense relationship with my co-actors so I stayed away from them because Kang Shin-il and Yu Seon are both my close friends.” However, Hwang said that the tense atmosphere was relieved once the shooting was over.

In the fall, Hwang stars in a romantic film “Happiness,” directed by Heo Jin-ho and will be shooting “A Man Once a Superman,” directed by Jeong Yoon-cheol. On average, Hwang stars in three to four films a year and some say that he does too many. In response, Hwang says, “I breathe only when I act.”

Source: estyle@joongang.co.kr


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^ Hi piggypiggy, welcome to Black House. I'm not really sure but the movie is just starting its screening in Korea and getting rave feedback from the public, the DVD might not be out till awhile... perhaps, at the end of the year. Or earlier... or even later.

We'll be sure to update the thread when there's more info on the DVD. :)


Now showing

The Black House


An insurance company employee gets in the middle of a family tragedy involving a boy's suicide, his grief-stricken mother, and his strangely greedy father, who is obsessed about getting his son's insurance money. 18 and over. 103 minutes.

CGV Apgujeong (1544-1122) near exit 3 of Apgujeong Station on subway line 3

Megabox COEX (1544-9250) inside COEX Mall near exits 5 and 6 of Samseong Station on subway line 2

Daehan Cinema (02-3393-3600) near exit 1 of Chungmuro Station on subway lines 3 and 4

Lotte World Cinema (02-411-0668) inside the Lotte World Shopping Mall of Jamsil Station on subway lines 2 and 8

Source: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/art/2...6/141_5560.html

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Jul 24 2007

Black House Reclaims Box Office

With Korea’s summer horror season now in full swing, a local film reclaimed the nation’s number one box office spot after 8 weeks of Hollywood dominance. Black House, directed by SHIN Terra, debuted on June 21st and took 377,195 admissions over the June 22-24th weekend, beating out the previous week’s champion, Ocean’s Thirteen, according to the official KOBIS report. The only other local release was US – Korea co-production, Never Forever, directed by Gina Kim, which took 9th place in a limited release.

Showing on 353 screens, Black House, is the first local hit of the summer, and the second Korean horror, following Evil Twin, in a slew of horrors to come, providing audiences a chilling reprieve from the heat. It also departs from familiar horror conventions of ghosts from the past, this time mixing horror with mystery in the tale of a spate of unsolved murders and an insurance agent who suspects one of his clients may be a psychopath.

Director SHIN debuted with Brainwave, a low-budget science-fiction thriller, which had a limited release last summer. Black House is his sophomore feature, and is based on a Japanese novel by Yuske Kishi, a master of the horror genre. It stars one of Korea’s most familiar faces, HWANG Jung-min (You Are My Sunshine, Bloody Tie) in his horror debut. The film is a co-production between CJ Entertainment and Japan’s Kadokawa Pictures.

Overall market share for domestic film is 47.7% thus far this year, down from an over 60% average for 2006. The top grossing local hit is CJ’s Voice of a Murderer which net US$22 million. Korea’s film industry feels some trepidation over Hollywood’s summer slate which includes the upcoming release of blockbuster Transformers on June 28th.

Nigel D'Sa (KOFIC)


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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Korea Weekend Box Office - June 29-July 1

Pretty amazing -- TRANSFORMERS pulled in 75.5% of the box office last weekend. Three out of every hour tickets sold were to a Michael Bay movie! The mind reels.

Title - Weekend Seoul Admissions - Total Nationwide Admissions

1. Transformers - 337,209 - 1,313,278

2. Black House - 39,820 - 825,034

3. Ocean's 13 - 24,920 - 1,153,541

4. Shrek 3 - 16,295 - 2,677,564

5. Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World's End - 4,168 - 4,510,855

6. Captivity - 3,474 - 180,811

7. Secret Sunshine - 3,674 - 1,570,121

8. Hwang Jin-yi - 3,477 - 1,167,290

9. Never Forever - 3,348 - 76,751

10. Love & Other Disasters - 3,477 - 244,430

Funny to see films Nos. 6-10 pretty much in a dead heat.


With much thanks to Mark Russell at koreapopwars.blogspot.com

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A movie review to be read with discretion, some spoilers included...

Black House


A Kadokawa-CJ Entertainment co-production, Black House is based on the Japanese writer Kishi Yusuke's award-winning early hit, concerning an insurance claim adjuster who gets sucked into a terrifying web of deceit, mutilation and murder spun by a psychopath who makes Norman Bates look like Sponge Bob Squarepants. The novel has already been filmed once in 1999 by the star director Morita Yoshimitsu (Family Game, Lost Paradise), a not-bad adaptation with a rather strange, serio-comic tone featuring a bravura performance by Otake Shinobu and unusual tools of bodily harm such as a yellow bowling ball covered with glass shards. Overall, it was not a bad thriller, but apparently neither the original author nor Kadokawa honchos liked it. Realizing that they had good source material that could be exploited further, Kadokawa decided to hand the tale over to CJ and producer Yu Il-han (himself a horror writer) for a Korean take.

Let me get this out of the way first: as an adaptation of Kishi Yusuke, whom I am a big fan of, the Korean version Black House leaves much to be desired. Especially in its first half, the movie tastes too much like processed cheese: indeed, in some aspects it has the outlook of a Hollywood remake of an Asian genre film, with the level of gore and violence cranked up but much of the appeal of the original's characters and twisted narrative turns compromised. Lee Jong-young's screenplay invents a rather hackneyed childhood trauma for the protagonist Jun-o (which predictably gets resolved in a cliffhanger finale), while reducing one of the novel's most fascinating and complex characters, the company "enforcer" Miyoshi, into a crude thug with fondness for dental floss. Director Shin Terra, previously responsible for the ultra-low-budget sci-fi Brainwave (2006), is clearly an inventive filmmaker but has some way to go before mastering storytelling skills. Those who have not read the novel might be befuddled by sequences that are in turn confusingly presented, inadequately explained, or simply illogical (Why does the dead boy's father bite his thumb off in one scene but is shown to have chopped it off in another?). Others, such as a major scene where the protagonist discovers the hanged body of a young boy, lack both the shock value as well as the kind of phlegmatic, deliberately paced terror that we see in high-end Japanese genre literature or film.


Despite these weaknesses, however, Black House works as an effective psychological horror film, miles ahead of the usual PSC (Pointless Sadako Clone)-infected summer season drudgery. Like, say, Blood Rain, the movie's power is greatly enhanced by its superb production design (supervised by Jo Hwa-sung and others) and competent cinematography/lighting (Choe Joo-young, Fly Daddy Fly, and Lee Sung-jae, The World of Silence). The psychopath's lair, with its makeshift abattoir-operating room ambience, smeared with blood and filth, is impressively frightening and gives the actors ample room to realistically portray their ordeals at the hands of the villain. Hwang Jeong-min, one of the most reliable character actors working in Korea today, makes for a thoroughly believable and sympathetic hero, even when he seems to function as a mouthpiece for (again) a Hollywood-style liberal faith in the essential humanity of the monster. Yoo Sun, who previously starred in the interesting misfire The Wig, was a surprise choice for the handicapped mother of the dead boy, but is very convincing as a woman with an eerie emptiness in her gaze that men mistake for numbness induced by grief or emotional exhaustion.

The film culminates in a series of rather preposterous but extremely suspenseful Grand Guignol confrontations, which, to my surprise and sigh of relief, do not lead to surreptitious "rehabilitation" of the main villain through the intrusion of melodramatic conventions. The monster remains the monster to the bitter end, and there is no sexual abuse, Freudian complex or the "unrequited desire to be loved" to explain away why it became the way it did. By honoring Kishi's pitch-dark conclusion and putting the utterly conscienceless (but not unattractive) monster at the center of the movie, Black House ultimately manages to recover much of the good will initially lost by the rather slapdash way it chose to adapt his novel. (Kyu Hyun Kim)

Source: http://koreanfilm.org/kfilm07.html#blackhouse

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July 5, 2007

'Black House' to Open in Japan in October


The Korean thriller 'Black House,' starring veteran actor Hwang Jeong-min, will open in 250 theaters in Japan in October.

The hit film is based on a best-selling Japanese novel that has sold a million copies.

A film official says that Black House has received overwhelming praise by Japanese film people and that its release date in Japan has been set.

Its opening at some 250 cinemas is reminiscent of the opening of the Korean blockbuster 'The Host.' Such fanfare in what is considered the home country of horror films is especially meaningful.

In the movie, Hwang plays an insurance surveyor who looks into a murder case that the police have confirmed as a suicide. The story revolves around his struggle with a psychopath whom he encounters on the crime site.

In Korea, Black House led all horror movies in number of theater screenings and maintained the number one box office position for eight two weeks.

Source: KBS Global


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Monday, July 09, 2007

Korea Weekend Box Office - July 6-8

Title - Weekend Admissions - Total Nationwide Admissions

1. Transformers - 1,490,200 - 4,202,100

2. Black House - 139,400 - 1,169,300

3. The Descent - 102,600 - 123,100

4. Taxi 4 - 85,400 - 99,200

5. Ocean's 13 - 71,000 - 1,332,500

6. Shrek 3 - 58,000 - 2,792,700

7. Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World's End - 13,500 - 4,548,300

8. Secret Sunshine - 7,000 - 1,594,000

9. Love & Other Disasters - 5,300 - 262,000

10. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time - 4,300 - 50,800

With much thanks to Mark Russell at koreapopwars.blogspot.com

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July 9, 2007

Black House Will Screen In Japan

Black House (Geomeun Jib) is currently a hit in Korean cinemas and will next attempt to woe Japanese audiences. The horror film will open in October in 250 Japanese cinemas, a number equaling BONG Joon-ho’s The Host’ Japanese release.

Monster and horror films take an important place in the Japanese film culture and they are worldwide considered as masters of those genres. The wide-releases and the great anticipation of the horror film Black House and the monster film The Host in Japan is regarded as a significant feat.

Black House is directed by SHIN Terra (Brainwave) and profits from the structure of the original Japanese novel by Kishi Yusuke. The CJ Entertainment film was co-produced with the Japanese Kadokawa Pictures. HWANG Jung-min (You Are My Sunshine) has been praised for his performance in Black House.

Director SHIN Terra’s horror film Black House ended an eight week drought for Korean cinema by opening in the number one spot at the end of June. The last Korean film to top the box office was KIM Han-min’s thriller Paradise Murdered, back in April. Korean films have so far a disappointing 47.7% domestic market share in the first half of 2007.

The CJ Entertainment production’s revenue was US$ 3.6 million and was screened on 353 screens in its opening weekend. Korean cinema has been somewhat struggling after the booming last few years, culminating in a record-breaking 2006. The slump encompasses domestic box office performances and international sales.

However, when looking further than defining success in financial terms, Korean cinema gained further international acclaim and recognition, including a prestigious Best Actress Award for JEON Do-yeon at the Cannes Film Festival for her role in LEE Chang-dong’s Secret Sunshine; and enjoys continuing international anticipation towards Korean films, exemplified in European record deals for KIM Jee-woon’s unfinished The Good, The Bad and the Weird and Black House’ upcoming wide-release in Japan.

Yi Ch’ang-ho (KOFIC)


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JULY 16, 2007

Medical Fiction and Medical Reality


Horror films help entertain people suffering from the hot weather, and that is why summer theaters are packed. This year, hospital settings are the most dominant theme in this genre.

Korean films in this genre are catching our attention these days. In Cadaver, a dead body wakes up and walks around. Return depicts the birth of a serial killer who regains consciousness during surgery. In Black House, a psychopath kills innocent victims and shows no remorse.

A movie often exaggerates and distorts facts to some degree. Consequently, the viewers may accept incorrect medical information as true. Now, let’s check what is medically true and what is not as depicted in these films.

Young dead bodies: not “eligible” for medical purposes-

In Cadaver, most of the cadavers are young female bodies. A specially manufactured “cadaver” was used to highlight their vividness. The artificial bodies show blue blood vessels, and exude liquids upon the touch of a scalpel.

In reality, however, medical students learn anatomy with “old bodies” of those who died of age or disease.

A medically “recyclable” body should be intact in appearance. A young person does not die of a natural cause in most cases. A young man usually kills himself or gets killed in an accident. Thus, the “integrity” of the body is damaged. Hospital staff members in charge of the “cadaver supply” confirm, “A young cadaver is an exception. You can encounter one maybe twice a year.”

The ad for the film says that 80% of all cadavers are unclaimed bodies. Without the consent of the surviving family members, a body is not allowed to be used medically.

Furthermore, a cadaver does not have blue vessels. Prior to medical use, the blood is drained out and the body is embalmed.

Moreover, the cadaver in the film looks reddish. A real cadaver, however, looks yellowish like the bark of an old oak tree.

Regaining consciousness? -- no anesthesia-

The main character in Return experiences vivid consciousness during a surgery. The posttraumatic shock drives him to becoming a serial killer. Regaining consciousness during a surgery simply means gaining back one’s awakened mental status.

“In-surgery” consciousness is not 100% fictitious. According to foreign studies, one or two out of 1,000 patients experience the same.

The possibility, however, lies in the weak physical condition of, for example, an old patient. In this case, dispensing a large dose of an anesthetic agent threatens the life of the patient. In other cases, a woman undergoing a C-section might experience it. In this case, concern about the fetus in the womb restricts the use of the agent.

It is extremely rare for a patient to experience all the pain of surgery without moving an inch. Under a strong anesthetic influence, a patient cannot comprehend the conversation of doctors or the sound of the medical devices.

Experts explain that if a patient feels pain, and maintains consciousness during an operation, it’s not because she regains her consciousness, but because the anesthesia is not properly administered.

Psychopath – an anachronistic term-

A psychopath as depicted in Black House refers to a person with mental disorder. Thus, the person does not feel guilty even after brutally killing a human being. The person has a problem with the frontal lobe, which controls human emotions toward the pain of the other human beings. In other words, a psychopath is a human who does not have a human mind.

It is not difficult to find psychopaths in our daily life. A psychopath uses an alias, and lies repeatedly to cheat others for his satisfaction or benefit.

In contemporary medical society, the term “psychopath” is anachronistic. A new term, “antisocial personality disorder” has replaced the old one. A German doctor first coined the word “psychopath.” Heated debates followed over the definition of the term. Now, doctors use the term “antisocial personality disorder,” pushing the former more and more out of context of daily medical society.

(Contributions from Seoul National University medical doctors Kwon Jun-su and Lim Yeong-jin, and staff member Kim In-gwan.)

Source: The Donga-Ilbo


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Monday, 16 July 2007

Kang gets ever more "Public"

Written by Darcy Paquet

SEOUL – Cinema Service founder Kang Woo-suk has announced a new installment to his highly successful "Public Enemy" series of films.

"Kang Cheol-jung" (original language title) is slated to start shooting this fall, and is hoped to extend helmer's stellar run at the Korean box office which includes the original "Public Enemy" (2002, $14.8 million), "Silmido" (2003, $57.7 million), "Another Public Enemy" (2005, $23.4 million) and the big-budget Hanbando" (2006, $26 million).

New pic is set four years after the original film in the series, with actor Sol Kyung-gu reprising his role as a corrupt and ruthless police detective. Sol played a different character in the second film in the series, "Another Public Enemy".

Helmer and playright Jang Jin, who launched production shingle K&J Entertainment with Kang in 2005, will also contribute to the film's screenplay.

Other thesps to appear include Jung Jae-young ("Welcome to Dongmakgol"), Kang Shin-il ("Black House"), and Im Won-hee ("Three... Extremes").

Source: VarietyAsiaOnline


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July 16, 2007

Korea Weekend Box Office (2007.07.13~2007.07.15)

Title - Weekend Admissions - Total Nationwide Admissions

1. Harry Potter 5- 1,427,700- 1,815,100

2. Transformers- 815,000- 5,606,900

3. The Cut - 257,400- 328,100

4. Black House- 51,000- 1,291,300

5. The Descent- 37,100- 214,100

6. Taxi 4- 16,100- 144,700

7. Shrek 3- 11,200- 2,813,900

8. Ocean's 13- 9,800- 1,373,700

9. Die Hard 4.0 3,700- 8,900

10. Lady Chatterley 3,300 4,400

Source: http://www.film2.co.kr/boxoffice/boxoffice...l.asp?mkey=1568

» Posted by Mike McStay at http://www.twitchfilm.net/archives/010691.html

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