The fourth movie in the Center for Korean Studies Fall Korean film series is Thousand Year Old Fox (1969), the pinnacle of 1960s cinematic horror. Directed by Shin Sang-ok (1926 – 2006) and set in the Silla period, it experiments with ingenious combinations of fantasy, action, and melodrama. Going beyond the typical formula used in previous horror movies, invariably featuring ghosts with a lust for vengeance, Thousand Year Old Fox exhibits a remarkable spirit of experimentation in pursuing cinematic horror.
The movie adroitly intermingles a variety of genres: action that includes wire work sequences (although they look clumsy from our current point of view), high melodrama based on a tragic love triangle, and fantasy involving a thousand-year-old fox and the sight of the fox’s spirit entering and leaving the female protagonist.
Thousand Year Old Fox will be screened Tuesday, October 18, 2011, in the Center for Korean Studies auditorium beginning at 6:30 p.m. For more information about the film, visit the Korean Film Archive at http://www.koreafilm.org/feature/100_49.asp. For more about the Center for Korean Studies film series, see http://www2.hawaii.edu/~mj23/kfs/.