Woman Chasing the Butterfly of Death [Mondo Macabro]

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Welcome to the Vinegar Syndrome Staff Picks section, where we highlight our favorite releases from the many other fine labels releasing films on home video. This section, which will be updated semi regularly, features an array of crucial genre films, which no home library should be without.


As a kind of crazy cinematic ghost train ride, WOMAN CHASING THE BUTTERFLY OF DEATH takes us on a journey deep into the darkness of one man’s fears and fantasies. That man is Young-gul, a lonely and rather morbid student in the late 1970’s South Korea. Narrowly surviving a murder-suicide attempt by a woman wearing a butterfly pendant, he next finds himself besieged by a seemingly insane bookseller who claims he can never die. Even after Young-gul burns the man’s body his skeleton comes back to taunt him. As if that weren’t enough, the poor student then finds himself the victim of a beautiful thousand-year-old woman (she looks about 25) who says she is hungry and wants to eat his liver!

The director, Kim Ki-young, was one of Korea’s most successful filmmakers. His 1960 production THE HOUSEMAID is now a recognized classic of world cinema. With this film, he goes far beyond the bounds of the real and takes us into a world where anything seems possible, a world where a kind of dream logic rules. Almost impossible to summarize, the film is nevertheless insanely enjoyable. A real one-of-a-kind production that opens our eyes to the limitless possibilities of cinema.


  • 4k transfer from the film negative
  • Digitally restored
  • Interview with actress Lee Hwa-si
  • Interview with producer Jeong Jin-woo
  • Interview with cinematographer Koo Jong-mo
  • Interview with Darcy Paquet
  • Audio commentary by Kenneth Brorsson and Paul Quinn of the “What’s Korean Cinema?” Podcast
  • Mondo Macabro previews