April 28, 2006


Holy publicity, Batman. Monsters and Critics are carrying coverage of the latest Thai/Cambodian dust-up. Frequent rivals, the Thai entertainment industry irritated Cambodia in 2003 when a Thai soap star said that Angkor Wat belonged to Thailand, resulting in riots, the burning of the Thai embassy in Cambodia, and the emergency evacuation of Thai citizens from Cambodia. Then it turns out that the actress never made the comment and it was all just a rumor (shades of Manisha Koirala's Muslim-baiting invisible dog).

Now, the Thai movie, GHOST GAME is being released and Cambodia is ticked. The film is about a gang of kids who have to spend the night in an abandoned Khmer Rouge torture camp, resembling (strongly) Toul Sleng prison. The prison turns out to be haunted and the kids are killed one by one. Cambodia allowed filming but only if no reference to actual events - like the Khmer Rouge killing 2 million Cambodians - was made. The GHOST GAME producers decided to stay in Thailand but people who've seen the film think there's no mistake about where it's set or who the ghosts are.

The head of Cambodia's Cinema Department in their Culture Ministry, Kong Kendara, says, "They want people to be scared, but the deaths (of hundreds of thousands of people) is not a game."

Now the movie's Executive Producer has apologized, saying, "“We should have made a clearer distinction between fiction and reality.”

April 28, 2006 at 11:00 AM in News | Permalink


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Is it just me or is it becoming increasingly unlikely to say something provocative (albeit true and relevant) without having riots and a burning of an embassay or two?

Seems those Mohammed cartoons just opened the lid on anger experssion via burning...

Posted by: CTDeLude | Apr 30, 2006 7:39:50 AM

Well, the prison set/location in the film (which looks like a grey cement prison block somewhere deep in an overgrown jungle) actually doesn’t “resemble” Toul Sleng (which is in the heart of urban Phnom Penh) at all. In fact, the real TS today still looks much the way it did long before the KR took it over -- like a whitewash-coated two-storey high school set back from the road on tidy, open grounds. Resemblances apart, however, the film means for these two different-looking sites to be “functionally” identical.

The Cambodian people have every right to be outraged, by the way, since indeed the film is an outrage -- to Cambodia, and to cinema. It’s crap. Clueless, shameless crap.

Posted by: Chuck S. | May 2, 2006 3:19:56 AM

Trailers are available for the curious over at:


Does anyone know if the photos used in the trailers are actual photos from Toul Sleng? That would be too, too over-the-line sick for comfort.

I appreciate the exploitation glee on sale here - movies based on actual events always carry an uncomfortable energy that can sometimes be used to interesting effect - but I can get the outrage and, frankly, I think the fact that it's a Thai movie about another country's past atrocities and not a Cambodian movie about their own past atrocities puts this over the line for me. Or, maybe it's the fact that this is about a genocide and not a war that makes me feels so queasy?

Imagine a Hollywood teen horror flick set in Dachau, haunted by the vengeance-crazed ghosts of Holocaust victims. Yuck.

Posted by: Grady Hendrix | May 2, 2006 7:33:14 AM

I've seen this movie and I think that they Thai's didn't want to make it as a joke. Truthfully for me, I think things that happen in actual events are more frightning. Just like Hollywood's movies, "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", "The Zodiac" (based on the Zodiac Killer), "The Hills Have Eyes" .. and so many other.

They apologized, but I don't think it was in their intentions to make a mockery of the Khmer Rouge.

Posted by: ying s. | Sep 30, 2006 6:21:46 PM

Someone posting over at KFCCinema. This is now out with English Subs at sensasian:


Posted by: rockmachine | Oct 24, 2006 3:18:17 PM

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