Saturday, April 9, 2011

Dracula Aema (드라큐라 애마) (1994)

 After 1982, Korea spawned a countless number of erotic movies, a genre that plagued the silver screen for over a decade. But since the government installed his “SSS” policy back in the early 80’s, it was only a matter of time before the cinema industry was flooded with sexy and steamy productions. The most famous series of them all is perhaps “Aema Buin”. It all started back in 1982 and went on through the late 90’s, the “Aema” series has now 12 official sequels and many unofficial ones as well as rip-offs.

Any films that bare the “Aema” title is always a curiosity, that’s why director Suk Do-won (Aema Buin 4,5,6,7,8 and 10) decided to make a move toward the horror and fantasy genre. He quite succeeded in mixing the exoticism of Korean beauty O No-a (Aema Buin 10) with the western lustful-horror myth of Dracula, which is actually portrayed by regular Aema Buin actor, Won Seok.

The story is about Hyun-woo, a computer geek who while working at night on a video project is suddenly thrown into a world of dreams and illusions (with the help of a CD he found on the beach) where he meets with the beautiful Aema (a new servant of Dracula himself). She then tells to Hyun-woo about her past where we discover she was savagely beaten by her boss and later gang-raped in a car by some delinquent rich kids. Through a series of spiritual illusions, Hyun-woo witnesses the beautiful Aema tracking down those who abused and killed her. Will Aema take her revenge and finally erase all those bad memories that are encrypted on that CD-Rom?

Dracula Aema provides enough suspense for its erotic counterpart but lack in the horror department. Of course we expect to see the fangs and the dripping blood but instead director Suk Do-won decided to stay faithful to the erotic guideline of the Aema Buin series. However, he definitely did a great job mastering the suspense. All those strange encounters that Hyun-woo has, leaves the viewer with something to think about, the dreamy aspect of those scenes are quite captivating and let’s not forget that the story takes place again on the beautiful Korean island of Jeju.
Some elements almost remind me of Hisayasu Sato's work, such as the use of some audio/video technology (here a computer and CD Rom). Visually, Dracula Aema is similar to the rest of the series with a good sense of framing and playful use of light, for example the evil presence is always manifested by a neon green aura, which makes the whole scene sexier. It is also, refreshing to see Won Soek again in an Aema movie but this time portraying the enigmatic and lustful Dracula. This is perhaps the best Korean-style personification of the western myth.

Deulakyula Aema

Suk Do-won

O No-a
Go Hyeong-jun
Won Seok


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