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Movie-goers to See Ghosts of High School Girls Again

Posted July. 24, 2003 21:53,   


When producer Oh Gi-min visited movie production companies five years ago, one company another turned down the scenario of `Girls` High Ghost Story.` They never knew that the movie became a box office hit and led to a third sequel.

`Girls High Ghost Story I` lured 630,000 movie goers in Seoul alone in 1998, The second installment was one of the most critically acclaimed movie in 1999, although it failed to appeal to movie goers. 94,400 saw the movie in Seoul. And the third episode of the story, `Steps of the Fox` will be released on August 1.

`Girls` High Ghost Story,` a work based on originality and creativity, has often been compared to Hollywood`s `Aliens` series.

○New Faces Become Stars

It cost 800 million, 1 billion and 1.5 billion won to produce the first, second and third installment of the movie. The directors and actresses were all new faces. Given the fact that it costs more than 2 billion won to produce a Korean movie and it becomes increasingly hard to cast stars, the series is considered a good success case of low-budget movies casting new faces.

The first episode gave rise to such stars as director Park Gi-hyung, actresses Kim Gyu-ri, Choi Gang-hee and Park Jin-hee. Director Kim Tae-yong and Min Gyu-dong and actresses Park Ye-jin, Kim Min-sun and Gong Hyo-jin made their names known through the second installment.

Now, it is the time for Director Yun Jae-yeon and actresses Park Han-byeol, Song Ji-hyo and Joan. What`s interesting is that the production team of the third series comprises all female new faces including director, writer and producer.

˝We intend to pick up promising new faces through this series,˝ said Lee Chun-yeon, president of Cine 2000, production company of the series. ˝We thought that it would be better for young women who graduated from high school not long ago, to lead the third episode.˝

○Not Sequel But Variation

`Girls` High Ghost Story I` combined violence at school with horror. The story became a touchy issue in the society, even sparking vehement complaints by a teachers` organization.

The second episode, on contrary, took a sharp turn from the original. Dealing with homosexuality of young schoolgirls, it was more like a move about growing up rather than a horror movie. Instead of sticking to the original story and cast, the series changed the theme and style, extending the lifespan of the series in a productive way.

The third installment is a story about schoolgirls caught up in intense competition at school. They are torn between friendship and jealousy, a conflict bound to lead to a tragedy. The third installment, however, neither deals with a social issue nor describes feelings of young girls in a stylish way. But it is an experiment that presents a series of sub-episodes under the theme of `Girls` High Ghosts.`

○The Only Horror Series

Besides the fact that the series has picked up promising new faces, it has also contributed to buoying up the genre of horror movies that has long been slumped. It has become the most successful horror movie series with the third installment now set for a release.

Writer Lee Yong-yeon, who is known for his horror works such as `the White Room` and `R-Point,` also participated in the movie making, reminding people of such series as `Scream` and `the Ring`.

˝It seems that there are a variety of movie genres in Korea, but they have yet to establish a firm foundation,˝ points out movie critic Kim Young-jin. ˝`Girls High Ghost Story` series, therefore, carries significance in that it continues to introduce appealing horror stories.˝

Hee-Kyung Kim susanna@donga.com