South Korea is a country that invests heavily in the entertainment industry. It has a long-lasting tradition in globalising its pop music, in creating romantic series’, in making barbeque cuisines fashionable, and in getting Westerners to drink soju. Now, however, it seems like the Korean entertainment industry is ready to take a leading role in the horror industry, both cinematically and on TV. From Kingdom to Alive and from Sweet Home to Hellbound, Korean producers are going all-in with their unique concepts, each helping to get the viewer’s heart beating faster with every scene.
Haunting Still Not Big In Korea
One area of the horror genre that works well in most places across the world is the telling of a haunting ghost story. However, in Korea these types of stories don’t go over so well with their audiences. In the West, producers make an abundance of films about ghosts, and even game developers create haunted-house themed games for online players, as well as PC and console gamers. But in Korea, audiences don’t seem so keen and are not always willing to buy into the concept.
Koreans love their zombies and their demons and these are two of the more common themes in their most popular horror franchises. Sometimes the undead take over trains and at other times demons come back from hell to punish people for their sins. It’s these horror concepts that have really helped introduce new audiences to Korean horror cinema and TV.
Squid Game is just One Success Story
Netflix’s most recent success story. Squid Game, not only bought millions of viewers to the streaming service but helped put Korean productions at the center of attention. This helped bring in a new audience all keen to see the newest and latest Korean offerings, such as enticing viewings into signing up to watch the recently released Hellbound and other new releases. Netflix stats already confirm that people just can’t get enough of these Korean shows, and even when they’re shown in the Korean language it’s surprising to see just how many views they’re getting when they’re compared to other English-language genre shows such as Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead.
Korean Concepts Create International Remakes
A few years ago, director Yeon-Sang-ho produced the zombie-themed Train to Busan. The movie became a worldwide success, which led to a sequel as well as a planned American remake. The upcoming horror movie Last Train to New York is an Americanised remake of the Korean original. The movie is currently under development, but fans are expecting good things, especially with such a solid concept to work with. And it’ll be interesting to see exactly what director Timo Tjahjanto does with it.
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