Midnight Ballad for Ghost Theater (2006)


Midnight Ballad for Ghost Theater Storyline

Sodan lives with her grandmother until one day her grandmother disappears after attending a motion picture at a theater. Sodan discovers the Ghost Theater while searching for her and hires on as a box office attendant. One night, while smoking in the theater, Sodan sees four ghosts; Elisa, Mosquito, Wanda and Hiroshu. By day they appear to be theater employees but at night they are actually ghosts, singing and dancing the night away. Sodan is put through a hilarious ordeal by them but she soon finds herself filled with joy while dancing and singing at the Ghost Theater, the factory of bizarre and decadent dreams.

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Midnight Ballad for Ghost Theater Movie Reviews


I’ve seen a handful of Asian musicals: Dasepo Naughty Girls (2006), Happiness of the Katakuris (2001), Memories of Matsuko (2006), Perhaps Love (2005), Princess Raccoon (2005), Hole (1998), Fox Family (2006), etc. Takashi Miike’s entry was probably my favorite, until watching this unexpectedly PHENOMENAL film a few years ago.

In Midnight Ballad for Ghost Theater (aka Ghost Theater) (2006), a girl visits a haunted movie theater and befriends a quirky family of dead amateur actors. Some Japanese and Korean horror/drama films use traditional settings and architecture to great effect (old mansions, theaters, etc.) – Tamami (2008), Orochi (2008) and Ghost Theater (2006) are good examples. There’s something special about an old building with lots of creaky floors, candles, and cobwebs. This movie has those bells and whistles in abundance, since the entire film basically takes place within the old cinema where the ghosts reside.

Another big attraction of Ghost Theater are the songs. I kid you not, I re-played two of them at least a dozen times after my first viewing and almost fell off my couch while seat-dancing. The music is of a wide variety, from spooky dances to “pissed-off girl rock” to slow melancholy tunes. I purchased the soundtrack online and have listened to it quite a bit over the past few years. And unlike many musicals, the songs are not just slapped in haphazardly. The placement, lyrics, and mood of each song provides a lot of character development and insight.

With regards to the quirky characters, they’re a lot of fun to watch because they have a restrained sense of lunacy. It’s difficult to think of any moments that lost control and descended into irritating wackiness, which is a big positive. No eye-rolling here, just a perpetual grin across the viewer’s face. Every ghost is given adequate time to shine numerous times, and the girl protagonist really opens up during the latter half.

This is the single most entertaining film I saw during 2009 due to its fantastic musical interludes, moody architecture, high quality acting, unexpected plot turns, lovable characters, and soaring imagination. One unique element is the story’s utilization of a faux classic black-and-white, silent horror film about a bull-man, using traditional filmmaking methods and a live voice-over which leads to the film’s unique, satisfying finale.

I have yet to see a film with more heart than this. Almost completely unknown, but absolutely phenomenal. Essential viewing that will now occupy a yearly time slot in my Halloween movie schedule.

The horror musical you HAVE to see!

First, I will mention that I hate just about every musical film in existence. Then I will tell you that even if you hate musicals, you will adore this film if you are a Rocky Horror Picture Show fan.

So-dan lives with her grandmother, who attends a movie one day and disappears. So-dan soon discovers the Ghost Theater while investigating her grandmother’s disappearance. She applies and is hired to work as a box- office attendant by a suicidal manager. One late night, So-dan discovers she is not alone-the theater is home to four ghosts that are trapped there ever since a forbidden movie was played decades before. Elisa is a Joseon Dynasty princess who rules over the theater. Her minions include Wanda, a bulimic ex-performer (kisaeng) who counts her own hair obsessively, Hiroshi, a Japanese soldier and Mosquito, who can only be best described as a cross between Beetlejuice and Rocky Horror’s Dr. Frank-N-Furter.

As So-dan learns more about her ghostly friends, she also discovers more about her grandmother’s role in the forbidden film and the involvement of all the inhabitants, including the manager of the theater. It is decided that the forbidden film must be shown again to break the curse.

This film grabs your heart right from the start and keeps you wildly entertained with the singing and dancing of the ghosts. We learn their stories from their songs as So-dan is accepted by them. The second half of the film becomes a bit more bizarre but the viewer will still find more than enough to keep them entertained. I highly recommend this movie but it is very hard to find.

P.S. I have ebossert to thank for turning me on to this movie!!!