Did you know that when Kim Jong-il couldn’t figure out why the world wasn’t in love with his glorious country (North Korea) and later decided it was because they didn’t make great movies, he kidnapped a famous directory and his wife from South Korea and forced them at gunpoint to make a Godzilla ripoff.
Pulgasari is a 1985 North Korean fantasy action film directed by Shin Sang-ok and Chong Gon Jo. The film, a giant-monster film similar to the Japanese Godzilla series, was produced by the South Korean Shin, who had been kidnapped in 1978 by North Korean intelligence on the orders of Kim Jong-il, son of the then-ruling Kim Il-sung.
Kim was a lifelong admirer of the director and Kaiju-like films, and kidnapped the latter and his wife, famous actress Choi Eun-hee, with the specific purpose of making fantasy/propaganda films for the North Korean government. Kim Jong-il also produced Pulgasari and all the films that Sang-ok made before he and Choi fled the country.
Teruyoshi Nakano and the staff from Japan’s Toho studios, the creators of Godzilla, participated in creating the film’s special effects. Kenpachiro Satsuma – the stunt performer who played Godzilla from 1984 to 1995 – portrayed Pulgasari, and when the Godzilla remake was released in Japan in 1998, he was quoted as saying he preferred Pulgasari to the American Godzilla.