Director Gang Beom-gu has an impressive background of dramas, action, crime, war movies and even anti-communist features. But he’s perhaps more famous for having co-directed the unofficial sequel of Game of Death, also called Tower of Death 2 with the legendary Hwang Jang Lee and choreographed by Yuen Woo-ping. So right after that big co-production, Gang Beom-gu directed this little unique gem of Korean horror cinema: Goesi (A Monstruous Corpse), with little financial help. The result is a rather interesting approach to the zombie genre but at the same time, suffers from being too much similar with the 1974 classic, Let Sleeping Corpses Lie. Veteran actor Park Am (Mandala, Hunting for Idiots, Iodo and Martyrs to name a few) can be seen as the police chief and gives his usual strong and convincing performance. That said, Goesi has all the elements of the typical horror film made at time in Europe, which is characterized by low key lighting with vivid colors, moody soundtrack and a terrified female protagonist who just can’t run away from the zombies who try to attack her. Speaking of zombies, this was Korea’s very first attempt at the genre.
The story revolves around 2 young people who met each other on a countryside road. Kang Myung was hitchhiking and was picked up by Su-ji on her way to see her brother-in-law. But when she arrives at her destination they find Su-ji’s brother-in-law dead. Soon the police start to suspect Kang Myung. Shocked and skeptical about the events, the dynamic duo decides to search the surrounding area. Kang Myung discovers that scientists are working at a lab with a supersonic transmitter. Soon, more strange things start to happen in the nearby forest. After looking around all day, Kang Myung and Su-ji decide to do further investigation in an old abandoned house where they are suddenly attacked by a horde of undead. Fans of gore elements easily found in Italian or other European productions will no doubt be slightly let down, but if you're in it for more than striking visuals, there's lots of enjoyment to be found here. Of course, Korean cinema is perhaps one of the fastest changing cinema industry I’ve ever seen, which is a direct reflection of their society. You can compare for example, monster movies such as The Flying monster (Bicheongoesu) with the Host and there is only 20 years between the 2, but visually and technically it looks more like 40! That’s what Korean cinema is all about, once you dig in the past you might find some movies that didn’t seem much interesting but in their social and political context they take a whole new dimension and therefore, are really enjoyable and fascinating.