By Han Sang-hee, Lee Hyo-won
Local broadcasters and the movie industry are preparing to help viewers kill the summer heat with horror programs and movies this month. Here is some of what's being offered.
MBC, which has had a successful history of horror dramas, including "M - Drama", starring popular actress Shim Eun-ha
in 1994, hopes to reprise that success with the drama " Possessed".
"'Possessed' ('HON - Soul
') is not based on `Korean Ghost Stories' nor is it a part of the movie series `Whispering Corridors'. We used the film `Let the Right One In', which is about a relationship between a vampire girl and young boy, as a model, and started working from there", Kim Sang-ho
, the producer, said at a press conference held at MBC, Ilsan, Monday.
`'Possessed' ('HON - Soul
')' revolves around a high school student, Ha-na (newcomer Lim Ju-eun), who can see dead people, and a profiler named Shin Ryu, played by Lee Seo-jin
", 2008). When Shin meets Ha-na and discovers her ability, he uses her to pay back his enemy, only to find himself becoming the devil.
"If the story is too distant, viewers will feel lost, but if it's too much of a cliche, viewers will easily get bored. We wanted to show viewers that in the end, it's people who are scary, not the special effects, the makeup or sounds. In our drama, the ghosts mostly appear during the daytime", he said. Nevertheless, the drama is for viewers 19 years or older.
Lee, who will be appearing in his first drama in a year, plays the charismatic profiler with a dark past and evil plans.
"I've always wanted to portray a character who has both good and evil sides, which made it natural for me to participate in this series. For me, it's more of a thriller with ghosts, and I believe it will be a perfect getaway from the heat", he said.
`'Possessed' ('HON - Soul
')' premieres tonight at 10 p.m. on MBC.
Last year, when KBS introduced a polished version of "Korean Ghost Stories", a horror program that first aired in 1977, many fans of the genre tuned in with anticipation. And the broadcaster is gearing up for more this month with the drama airing on Mondays and Tuesdays. As KBS sticks to tradition, viewers will get to watch eight different episodes, all related to Korean traditional myths and folk tales.
The makers explained that their goal was not to scare viewers with something new, but to discover horror with a traditional twist.
"Korean Ghosts Stories is already a famous brand among Koreans, and so we will try to bring stronger storylines, heighten the horror factor with both computer graphics and analogue techniques, and bring the brand to a whole new level overall", the production crew said.
The episode titled "The Maid" will present the bloody revenge of a maid who was murdered for loving a high-ranking official. "The Wooden Doll" will tell the chilly story of a small wooden doll that starts to kill villagers.
One episode that never fails to be included in the lineup is the traditional tale of "Gumiho", the legendary fox with nine tails. Gumiho is known to change itself into a pretty lady to seduce men, eventually leading to deadly revenge or murder.
"We believe that many viewers felt nostalgia and enjoyed the new content that was fit into the familiar structure, and we are expecting similar reactions this year as well", the crew said.
A lineup of skin-crawling tales awaits moviegoers at theaters, including both homegrown horror flicks and bloody imports.
", slated for release Aug. 13, brings traditional shamanist beliefs to modern-day Korea. Screen beauty Nam Sang-mi
stars as Heui-jin, an average college student who returns home after hearing that her 14-year-old sister So-jin has gone missing. Her mother, a fanatic churchgoer, resorts to prayer and refuses to work with the lazy police department to find So-jin. Meanwhile, a neighbor commits suicide and leaves a will for So-jin, and Heui-jin hears rumors that her sister had been "possessed". The whereabouts of So-jin becomes increasingly elusive and the dead neighbor begins appearing in Heui-jin's dreams. 15 and over. Distributed by Showbox/Mediaplex.
, coming to theaters Aug. 20, brings together popular actresses Eugene
, Cha Soo-yeon
and Park Han-byul
as women seeking eternal beauty. Hyo-jeong (played by Eugene
) is the star host of a home shopping channel, but fears losing her spot to a charming and much younger colleague. Hyo-jeong runs into an old classmate who supposedly transformed from ugly duckling to gorgeous swan through a special yoga program. She takes part in the class with four other women, but the cost of beauty becomes frighteningly high. Not yet rated. Distributed by Sidus FNH.
In "The Pot"
, everything seems picture perfect for a family of three ― Hyeong-guk, Yeong-ae and their little daughter Mi-ae. They are about to welcome a second child into their newly purchased home, and their business is also running smoothly. They befriend the neighbors, an elderly Presbyterian couple, and attend church with them. However, the couple starts to feel uncomfortable with the elderly woman's excessive fondness of their daughter. When the woman dies one day and Mi-ae starts behaving in a bizarre manner, the domestic bliss comes to an end. To be released Aug. 20. 15 and over. Distributed by Indiestory.
In the French-Canadian horror story "Martyrs", two young women must deal with the demons of their past. As a child, Lucie was kidnapped and tortured by a group of anonymous abusers, but she slowly overcomes the trauma through her friendship with Anna, who is also a victim of child abuse. Fifteen years after their incidents, the two women seek revenge against those that wronged them, only to relive the unspeakable horror. In theaters Friday. 18 and over. Distributed by Pan Cinema.
Evil may lurk beneath an angelic facade in the "Orphan" (U.S.A., Canada, France, Germany), coming to screens Aug. 20. Kate (Vera Farmiga
) and her husband John are devastated by the loss of their unborn child and decide to adopt. They are strangely drawn to a young girl named Esther, but as soon as she becomes part of the family, a frightening series of events begins to take place around them. Kate becomes convinced that her adoptive daughter is not as sweet as she appears. Distributed by Warner Brothers Korea.