Kim Jong-il is dead. Here's his monster movie.

Now that lunatic dictator Kim Jong-il has passed on to the great rusty amusement park near the Earth's mantle, we've dug deep in the io9 vaults for a look back at his sole contribution to science fiction cinema, the 1985 kaiju flick Pulgasari.


A giant iron-eating bull takes on an army of slave laborers in Pulgasari, the most famous North Korean movie ever. Kim Jong-Il kidnapped South Korean director Shin Sang-Ok and his wife, actress Choe Un-Hee. Kim kept them prisoner in North Korea for years, and forced them to make this movie, about a monster that champions the peasants against the tyrant king. The movie attained cult status in Japan.

The plot of Pulgasari is weirdly a metaphor for the history of 20th century communism. The big cow-monster does save the peasants from feudal tyranny, but then he tries to consume all their natural resources and ruin their industry. I love all the peasants scrambling to haul more iron over for him to eat. Finally, they're forced to destroy the monster that saved them. You have to wonder if Kim still watches this movie for inspiration. UPDATE: 12/18/11: He doesn't anymore, as he is extremely dead. See the lede of this article.

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Charlie Jane Anders

@92BuickLeSabre: That's plausible, I guess... but I doubt many people in Korea ever saw the Japanese as any kind of liberators. The Japanese enslaved them worse than their own feudal rulers ever had. It really feels as though Kim made an unintentional metaphor for his own government.