Korean TV shows and movies have been slowly making their presence felt across the rest of the world, and in the last few years, they have really made themselves known.
2020 was a terrible year for many people across the planet as the virus spread and a pandemic was announced. Businesses such as cinemas closed, and movie production was halted in some regions. Releases were and still are being held back until the cinemas can fully reopen, and many people are seeking their entertainment online.
One good thing that did come out of last year was the historic best picture Oscar for Parasite at the Academy Awards. This was the first non-English language film to take the award and has helped put Korean movies on the map.
Out of all the great shows and movies coming out of the country, one genre seems to be very strong and popular.
Why are zombie movies and TV shows so popular?
The movie-going audience has always had a fixation with horror. In the past, Dracula, the mummy, and the invisible man were popular subjects.
Nowadays, while vampires are still popular, zombies seem to have taken the number one spot. Perhaps this is because there is some element of realism in some of these movies. 28 Days Later never referred to zombies, but used the words ‘the infected’ instead. This insinuated that they were people just like you, and therefore this could really happen.
They also make good material for long-running TV shows and can work with comedy too. When choosing a TV show to watch with your loved one you might not think of zombies but many of these shows are light-hearted, such as iZombie.
Is Korea really the center of zombie movie production?
In recent years it would appear that Korea is looking to give Hollywood a run for its money when it comes to zombies. Although, a shuffle and a groan are more common for zombies than running.
Only last year saw the release of Alive, a zombie movie with a different premise than normal. In Alive, most of the action takes place in one apartment and the immediate vicinity. Oh Joon-Wo is the hapless gamer who finds himself surrounded by zombies. The movie mixes comedy with action and horror, as he tries to find a way to survive the onslaught.
The hero’s main plan seems to involve eating all his supplies too quickly and playing games. To be honest, playing slots and other games in an online kaszinók indoors may be more preferable to what is going on outside.
Alive is not the only example of Korean zombie movies and TV shows.
What are the best examples of Korean zombie productions?
In recent times, the list of zombie films would include the Busan trilogy. This is made up from Seoul Station, Train to Busan, and Peninsula.
Then there is Kingdom. This takes the zombie idea back in time to the Joseon Period and directly after the Battle of the Unpo Wetland. Kingdom is not only one of the best Korean shows on Netflix, it is one of the best series on the platform full-stop.
The US certainly has its own fair share of zombie movies and TV shows. Only this year, Zach Snyder and Netflix released Army of the Dead. This movie had the interesting idea of combining a heist movie with zombies.
Not only did the heist take place surrounded by zombies, but it was also based in a casino that was about to get nuked. If you want to play slots and avoid zombies, then use a netticasino. Far safer and more fun.
The Train to Busan trilogy based much of its movies around trains and stations instead of casinos. But they were just as effective and the original film is highly rated.
The Train to Busan
This is simply the best Korean zombie movie ever made, and one of the best of its genre too. The movie currently has a score of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, and one reviewer said, ‘it simply couldn’t have been done better.’
The Train to Busan is also in the top 20 most successful Korean movies of all time; impressive for a niche genre film.
What makes the movie so successful though is that it combines horror and zombies with very strong well-written characters. The movie has also spawned a prequel and a sequel.
To show just how much Korea loves zombies, Seoul Station was released as an animated movie to show how the zombie infection starts. A more recent movie, Peninsular shows what happens in the following years after Train to Busan.
Seoul Station is a unique take on the zombie genre and has 100% on RT, but Peninsula was less kindly met and only has a score of 53%. However, audiences felt differently and awarded it much higher marks.
Other Korean zombie movies to watch
Once you have seen Alive, Busan, and worked through Kingdom, you may still want more to bite into.
If you enjoyed Kingdom, then you may like Rampant too. Set in the same period, the story is similar and has an epic feel to it.
If you like your zombie movies with a little humor then try Zombie for Sale. This is about a family trying to cash in on devious experiments after one of their family is infected. But if you like your movies a little darker, then go for The Wailing, a dark small-town detective drama.
While there is, fortunately, no zombie outbreak in Korea as of yet, there are certainly some imaginative filmmakers in the country. Why zombies have captured the attention of so many Korean writers and directors is not clear, but perhaps the Train to Busan is partly to blame.
Busan was so successful that perhaps it was inevitable that other movies would follow. Fortunately, the quality of these releases means that they are thoroughly enjoyable. Whether you want the comedy horror of Alive, or the terror of The Wailing, if you enjoy zombie movies try Korea instead of Hollywood for a change.