Korean Horror Cinema

Korean Horror Cinema

Korean Horror Cinema

Korean Horror Cinema

Excerpt

In August 2008, the Korean Film Archive (KOFA) launched a screening series entitled ‘The Special Space, the Special Horror’. KOFA made available to stream on demand a selection of eight horror films (gongpo yeonghwa) picked from across five decades of cinema, proclaiming ‘Summers are for the horror film!’ and that the exhibition was designed to ‘cool down the midsummer’s sweltering heat’ (Seong 2008). The regular KOFA special screenings – which have also included a series on classic horror films July 2008) and monster movies (July 2009) – provide a useful entry point for our discussion of the history of Korean horror cinema and demonstrates some of the cultural specificity of Korean horror cinema in its industrial contexts. As Seong notes, the horror films are designed to ‘cool’ the audience; traditionally, horror films are screened domestically during the summer months, as they are thought to be effective at lowering body temperature by providing ‘chills’. In addition, a great deal of pre-1990s Korean horror film remains accessible only in print form at KOFA’s archives in Seoul. By mining this archive, KOFA is able to bring to light otherwise unknown or unavailable horror films such as You Become a Star Too (Neo ttohan byeoli doei, Lee Jang-ho, 1975) and The Haunted Wedding Dress (Mangryeongeui waedingdeuraeseu, Park Yoon-gyo, 1981). The films chosen include the productions of such cinematic luminaries as Shin Sang-ok and Kim Ki-young, demonstrating that the most prominent of national cinema directors have worked in the genre, while all of the films included in the various screening series date from 1960 or later, revealing the horror genre’s origins in this decade; similarly there are notable clusters of films from the mid-1960s and the early 2000s, demarcating high points of production.

The film narratives themselves are revealing; often preoccupied with han (a sense of agonising grief at unfair suffering) and embedded in melodramatic plots – the single genre which underpins nearly all filmic moments of horror . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.