The makers of “Ghost Game,” a controversial Thai horror movie released last month and set in a fictionalized Tuol Sleng torture prison, began re-shooting some scenes and approached the Cambodian Embassy in Bangkok to apologize last week, according to news reports.
The filmmakers are revamping some of the sets where the film was shot in Thailand following a public scolding from the Thai Foreign Ministry last week, according to The Associated Press. The makers reportedly spent a few days analyzing the film for offensive content and choosing scenes that needed to be replaced in order to avoid a diplomatic incident.
Although the fictional setting is called “Security Prison 11” rather than S-21, it bears a remarkable resemblance to the site where some 16,000 people were tortured and sent to their death under the Khmer Rouge, which the director visited during his research for the film.
People have especially objected to scenes of young Thais smashing skulls with the intent of angering the victims’ spirits.
Kong Kantara, director of the Ministry of Culture’s cinema department, said on Sunday that the film is still banned in Cambodia, adding that he could not comment on changes to the film because he has not even seen the original version.
“We already have measures through our officials to prevent DVDs and VCDs of this from coming into the Cambodian market,” he said. “If they are found they will be confiscated, because they have no license or permission from our department.”
Co-producers Tifa Co have not responded to questions e-mailed last week.
According to Thai newspaper The Nation, the filmmakers sent a letter to the Cambodian ambassador in Bangkok requesting a meeting with officials in Phnom Penh to officially apologize. They also added a more detailed disclaimer to the film emphasizing that it is a work of fiction rather than history.
The Nation carried a strongly worded editorial in which it castigated the filmmakers—who have already publicly apologized—for exploiting Thai consumerist culture and lack of cultural sensitivity.
“Never mind the insult to the historical memories of the Cambodian people by this thoughtless horror flick in bad taste that panders to the ignorant, culturally insensitive masses,” The Nation’s editorial stated.
(Additional reporting by Thet Sambath)