The Music of Jo Hyeja is a Go…

Well, I claimed that I got a lot less done this past summer in terms of my writing than I’d hoped — since I’d been hoping to draft a novel — but in fact, I did pull off something in my writing that I’m very pleased with: a script for a short Korean film adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Music of Erich Zann.”

I’ve reflected in the past on how challenging it is to adapt Lovecraft to a Korean setting, but it’s less so with a story like this one, since the horror is more simply existential; there is, of course, a subtle racism in the original — damn old German immigrants and their eerie scary evil magical nihilistic music — but it’s less crucial to the story than in some others of Lovecraft’s works; in a setting like slummy Yeokgok, the line between middle-class and poor, and between young and old, can serve quite well for this kind of tale.

I didn’t say much about it before, but I can now say that it is a go: the complete shooting script has now been translated into Koren, with adjustments made for feasibility (mostly, cutting elevator-related scenes, because in a crappy building like the one featured in this story, there wouldn’t be an elevator). We’re going to be meeting with a haegeum performer with whom we will be recording the musical component of the film — scary, spooky, weird music (as well as the not-so-scary stuff that the old lady plays for her visitor when she’s being all cagey  and hiding what she’s really up to) — in a couple of weeks. Miss Jiwaku is lining up actors and locations, and shooting will be happening in early October. Looks like I’ll be working cameras and assistant-directing.

That project will be followed up by a project which Miss Jiwaku came up with, but in which she is enlisting me and at least one other writer we know (maybe more) to script “episodes” in the (for now) six-part project; the idea is a kind of mixture of social criticism (which is something Miss Jiwaku has a strong tendency towards, in the projects she thinks up), mixed with a monster-hunting plot/story vehicle. You might think of it as Buffy the Vampire Slayer-meets-The X-Files, with a healthy dollop of criticism of the kinds pressures many Koreans face being the inciting force for the supernatural stuff that occurs in the story. It will feature monsters and monster hunters… so, yeah, it looks like we’re going to be learning some makeup techniques in the coming months.

We’ll see if I can get together a passable narrative for a Korean-based Cthulhu Mythos story for after that… it’ll be winter by the time the monster hunter series is done, and I think that’s a good time to do such a film: it’s gloomy and brown and crusty outside, and people have a kind of weariness on their faces that suits the telling of a story of people living in the foothills of the ultimate reality ruled by ancient, disinterestedly malevolent forces that loom threateningly, ready to consume our whole reality at any moment.

But first, we need to get The Music of Jo Hyeja done… expect more updates as this project progresses.

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3 thoughts on “The Music of Jo Hyeja is a Go…

  1. Thanks, guys. It is exciting… and yeah, those crummy rooftop hovels, I tell you. Miss Jiwaku is going to have to book one for a few days, for shooting. Talk about scary! I’m looking forward to this project, though.

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