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Korean Horror Cinema

From the publisher’s website:

The first detailed English-language book on Korean horror introduces the cultural specificity of the genre to an international audience, from the iconic monsters of gothic horror, to the avenging killers of Oldboy and Death Bell.

Beginning in the 1960s, it traces a path through the history of Korean horror, offering new interpretations of classic films, demarcating the shifting patterns of production and consumption across the decades, and acquainting readers with films rarely seen and discussed outside of Korea. It explores the importance of folklore and myth on horror film narratives, the impact of political and social change upon the genre, and accounts for the transnational triumph of some of Korea’s contemporary horror films. While covering some of the most successful recent films such as Phone and A Tale of Two Sisters, the collection also explores the obscure, the arcane and the little-known outside Korea, including detailed analyses of The Devil’s Stairway and Woman’s Wail. Its exploration and definition of the canon makes it an engaging and essential read for students and scholars in horror film studies and Korean Studies alike.

Key features

  • Covers films from 1960 to present day, from The Housemaid to Thirst
  • Case studies cover both popular and lesser known films, from Oldboy to The Fox with Nine Tails
  • Discusses icons of the genre such as the wonhon (vengeful female ghost) and the gumiho (shapeshifting fox)


Foreword, Julian Stringer
Introduction, Alison Peirse and Daniel Martin

Part I: Classic Korean Horror

  1. Family, Death and the Wonhon in Three Films of the 1960s, Hyangjin Lee
  2. Creepy Liver-Eating Fox Ladies: The Thousand Year Old Fox and Korea’s Gumiho, Alison Peirse and James Byrne
  3. War Horror and Anti-Communism: From Piagol to Rainy Days, Mark Morris
  4. Mother’s Grudge and Woman’s Wail: The Monster-Mother and Korean Horror Film, Eunha Oh

Part II: Contemporary ‘Domestic’ Horror

  1. Heritage of Horrors: Reclaiming the Female Ghost in Shadows in the Palace, Yun Mi Hwang
  2. From Acacia to Uninvited: Adoption Anxiety in Korean Horror Cinema, Hye Seung Chung
  3. Apartment Horror: Sorum and Possessed, Nikki J. Y. Lee
  4. The Face(s) of Korean Horror Film: Toward a Cinematic Physiognomy of Affective Extremes, David Scott Diffrient
  5. Death Bell and High School Horror, Chi-Yun Shin

Part III: Contemporary ‘International’ Horror

  1. Between the Local and the Global: ‘Asian Horror’ in Ahn Byung-ki’s Phone and Bunshinsaba, Daniel Martin
  2. Diary of a Lost Girl: Victoriana, Intertextuality and A Tale of Two Sisters, Robert L. Cagle
  3. From A Tale of Two Sisters to The Uninvited: A Tale of Two Texts, Leung Wing-Fai
  4. Oldboy goes to Bollywood: Zinda and the Transnational Appropriation of South Korean ‘Extreme’ Cinema, Iain Robert Smith
  5. Park Chan-wook’s Thirst: Passion, Guilt and Exsanguination, Kyu Hyun Kim


Entry on here.

* Where the book is available from a number of sources, they are prioritised as follows: (1) Amazon UK site, or for the more recent uploads (2) Amazon US site (3) Other sites in US or Europe, including second-hand outlets (4) LTI Korea, where the title is advertised as available from there (5) Onlines stores in Korea. Links to and Amazon UK site contain an affiliate code which, should you make a purchase, gives a small commission to LKL at no additional cost to you.