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Campus gunman's death video was direct copy of award-winning Korean revenge film

UK Daily Mail | April 19, 2007 

The campus killer re-enacted scenes from a violent South Korean film in videos he made before he massacred 32 students and teachers.

Police believe Cho Seung-Hui repeatedly watched the movie Oldboy as part of what they now think was his meticulous preparation for the killing spree at Virginia Tech University.

Cho, 23, born in South Korea, spent six days before Monday's attacks recording the videos. In one pose he wields a hammer and in another he holds a gun to his head - both striking images from the movie.

Oldboy won awards at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival and was praised by Quentin Tarantino. It has been described as "an ultra violent movie of obsession and revenge" - themes that featured in English student Cho's essays.

Another pose where Cho displays both guns he used is reminiscent of the work of John Woo, the Hong Kong director of such violent action movies as Face/Off.

Clues to the motivation for Cho's killing spree came in a series of videos he posted to US television network NBC on the day of his rampage.

Police in Virginia are combing through Cho's videos, only excerpts of which have been shown on NBC, and notebooks. The similarity with Oldboy was spotted by Virginia Tech professor Paul Harrill who alerted authorities.

The emergence of the videos suggests Cho had carefully plotted the massacre over some time. He killed two of his victims shortly after 7am on Monday, then went back to his dormitory, collected the videos and posted them to NBC.

He then walked to another university building half a mile away on the campus where he shot 30 teachers and students in a languages and engineering block before turning the gun on himself.

NBC said today the videos had taken six days to make, strongly suggesting that Cho had thought through his macabre fantasies and how he would carry them out.


He stayed in a hotel for one night to record excerpts for his videos - described in some quarters as his "manifesto" - and also filmed himself-in the back of a car. Some shots appear to have been taken against the white wall of a dormitory room and show Cho in a number of menacing poses brandishing the guns he would turn on his victims.

What the British critics said about 'Oldboy'

Daily Mail: There's plenty of the obligatory nastiness... tongueslitting, skull-hammering, dental torture and (worst of all) the consumption of a live, wriggling octopus. Oldboy has moments of shock and erotic tension; but I found it a very long, hard slog, bringing no emotional reward.

Derek Malcom, Evening Standard: An extraordinary film, it makes Kill Bill look like the proverbial vicarage tea party. It's like a shaggy dog story told by a maniac. Perhaps the moral is that revenge makes madmen of us all. But I wouldn't like to bet on it.

Empire: Oldboy is all about extremity. You want torture? Try getting your head around the idea of being in solitary for 15 years. Violence? Check out the one-take corridor brawl in which the psychologically ravaged "hero" takes out a score of goons... with a claw-hammer.


The Times: knuckle-gnawing rollercoaster ride of detection and twisted revenge. Featuring a wickedly funny script, an amazing score, entirely captivating performances and an amazing fight scene, this deserved winner of the Jury Prize at Cannes 2004 is a truly astonishing work of art.

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian: The terms "violent" or " ultraviolent" or even "super-ultraviolent" don't quite cover it. Imagine Patrick McGoohan's The Prisoner rewritten by Kafka, with echoes of Seven and The Usual Suspects, set in an Asian sadoabattoir. A dark and thrillingly horrible adventure into the realms of the unthinkable.

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