Kick Off October With Korean Horror Movies

From The Housemaid (1960), dir. Kim Ki-young (courtesy Criterion Collection)

It’s October, so each week, our regular movie streaming column will be featuring various spooky, supernatural, and otherwise thrilling picks! For the first round, here are a few Korean horror flicks to put on when you’re in the mood for some chills.

The Housemaid

A classic of Korean cinema and an acknowledged influence on the class-conscious genre mechanics of Bong Joon-ho’s history-making Parasite, this 1960 thriller tracks the implosion of a well-to-do family after they hire, well, a horror movie villain as a maid. But rather than the tale of good people ruined by a devious poor person, the housemaid’s disturbing behavior and sexual hunger lays bare the moral rot within these supposedly upstanding citizens.

Available on Criterion Channel and Amazon.

A Tale of Two Sisters

This was one of the breakout hits that helped Asian horror gain traction with international audiences in the early 2000s. In this twisted look at familial trauma, two sisters duel with their abusive stepmother. There are not one but two big narrative-redefining twists. Don’t bother with the 2009 American remake; accept no substitutes.

Available on various platforms.

The Host

Circling back around to Bong Joon-ho, this 2006 monster movie was his third feature, and one of the earlier experiments with genre conventions for which he’d become well-known. After an American scientist forces his Korean assistant to dump toxins into the river, an awful creature is born and runs amok in Seoul. The dysfunctional Park family finds themselves personally invested in fighting it after it abducts their young daughter, in a cutting parable for how imperial neglect and government incompetence leaves ordinary people to fend for themselves.

Available on various platforms.

A classic of Korean cinema and an early Bong Joon-ho film are among our streaming picks for the first week of the spooky month.Read MoreFilm, Bong Joon-ho, horror movies, South Korea, streamingHyperallergicRead More

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