April 19, 2009

A Thousand Year-Old Fox: She's Got Spirit But It's Mostly Evil

I admit that earlier in this blog, I've made wisecracks about other Shin Sang-ok movies: the hammy Deaf Sam-ryong, the sentimental Romance Papa, the melodramatic My Mother and Her Guest. But I have a soft spot for each of these creaky old movies, too. That's not the case with A Thousand Year-Old Fox, his corny historical fantasy of B-movie excess. To describe the plot is to make the film sound more titillating than it is but here goes: A lascivious queen seduces a general and exiles his wife, who -- attacked by woodland troublemakers -- has her baby stomped to death before she jumps into a cursed lake only to be possessed by the spirit of a wicked fox. And that's just the first ten minutes. After that come plenty of scenes of the now-demented woman floating around in her nightgown and terrorizing the palace guards before awaking in her bed in a feverish sweat. Can her husband bring himself to kill her once he learns the truth of her nightly escapades? Can the lustful queen find love with the general if she passes on her crown and steps down from the throne? Will Shin succumb to every temptation to add cheesy special effects and silly music cues? The answers are yes, no, and yes.

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