Right in the Freakin’ Ear

Note: Space Monster Wangmagwi’s Blu-ray is available direct from SRS Cinema.

Korea issued two giant monster films in 1967. Yongary (existing only as an English dubbed version), and Space Monster Wangmagwi, which disappeared from distribution for decades due to copyright concerns. No one missed much it turns out.

Space Monster Wangmagwi is a bizarre, disjointed mess that in execution, plays like three (or four) films from different directors stitched together into a mish-mash monster flick. It’s partly serious, conveying South Korea’s anxieties toward invasion and their war with the North. Space Monster Wangmagwi also delves into kid’s movie territory as a child climbs into the monster’s ear canal to do damage. Finally, it’s a comic parody where the same kid pees inside the creature’s head, and a South Korean Abbott & Costello duo place bets on the rampage.

As camp, Space Monster Wangmagwi is digestible fodder

By 1967, with Japan unleashing a giant monster barrage into cinemas, Space Monster Wangmagwi tries any gimmick to stand out. Few work. Inconsistencies in scripting and editing make the plotline indecipherable in places. Visual effects waver from effectively built (if crudely shot) miniatures to a crummy man-in-suit beast that isn’t at any time plausible on screen. As camp, Space Monster Wangmagwi is digestible fodder, including chrome-headed aliens – pure ‘60s – and spaceships on visible strings flying through the atmosphere.

Human characters enter and exit the story haphazardly, the centerpiece being a couple planning their wedding day when the attacks begin. Hero Mo (Won Namkung) spends much of the runtime in a plane cockpit, spitting exposition that never properly adheres to the visual action. His wife faints when picked up by Wangmagwi, and by all logic, must be invincible given her captor slams that same fist into buildings without giving her a scratch.

Of limited interest, Space Monster Wangmagwi’s military effort appears sparse and tiny in scale, as if exhausted by the Korean war. Other than a few jets and small offices, nothing is left, leaving the nation helpless aside from those brazen enough to fight back without bureaucratic intervention. By luck, their efforts hardly matter and Wangmagwi seems to extinguish itself at random in the end, saving South Korea from invaders entirely by chance. What an odd thing Space Monster Wangmagwi is.


Considering the history behind this movie, the imagery looks better than expected. While the print does show extensive damage and debris, the result isn’t too severe as to harm Wangmagwi. If anything, this is remarkably clean and the scan delivers exceptional resolution.

Grain comes through noisy, murky, and messy. That’s from the edge enhancement, combined with light filtering. It’s a shame either was deemed necessary, robbing Wangmagwi of potential fidelity. Encoding doesn’t appear to be at fault, rather source mastering.

Gray scale does well in the mid-tones, but suffers from clipped whites. Detail evaporates into blindingly white blobs, but only at the most extremes. Otherwise, Wangwagmi holds up over years of obscurity.


Korean dialog only, SRS utilizes a compressed Dolby Digital mono track that suffers in spots from warping, popping, and hissing. Uncompressed audio isn’t going to help this at all. Thankfully, it’s clean enough to earn a pass, generally precise in replicating dialog behind a hollow score. Note there is a slight delay in the audio, causing a lip sync mismatch.


SRS goes all out for this one, bringing a commentary from professor Seung-hoon Jeung and author John Goodrich; Jeung is superbly informative and draws out subtext in what seems like a nothing movie. A text feature details how SRS acquired the film for distribution. A collection of various fan arts, videos, and essays (some quite odd) celebrate the chance to see this movie. Trailers follow.

Space Monster Wangmagwi
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras


Haphazard and barely stitched together, Space Monster Wangmagwi holds historical significance and little else.

User Review
4 (2 votes)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 36 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots grabbed directly from the Blu-ray: