Hong Kong & South Korea

While I have focused primarily on Japanese films and its culture, it is still vital to take a look at other regions in Asia. Below is several other Asian countries, their horror film(s), and how they tie into the nation’s cultures and traditions.

Hong Kong:

Brief History:

  • British rule from 1841-1997
  • Brief Japanese occupation lasting from 1941-1945
  • Handover to China in 1997 and established as a Special Administrative Region (SAR).

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    Handover ceremony of HK, July 1st, 1997.

Examples:

  • The Untold Story (1993) and Dr Lamb (1992), which both depict true gruesome crimes that took place in Hong Kong and Macau

HK Cinema:

  • Was commercial cinema until the 1990s
  • Category III films (equivalent to America’s  NC-17, except 18+) introduced in 1988
  • Violent Category III films was a response to the handover and the identity crisis of the city state; an allegory of politics in Hong Kong, keyed to the socio-political context prior and after the return to China.
  • “Given the impact of the Tiananmen massacre on the citizens of Hong Kong, we could construe The Untold Story as a sort of political or psycho-social allegory. This is an approach that makes a good deal of sense when talking about another film from roughly the same period that also indulges in extreme displays of violence, both sadistic and masochistic.” – LaiKwan Pang & Day Wong in Masculinities and Hong Kong Cinema

South Korea:

Brief History & the South Korean film industry:

  • President Kim Young-Sam’s cultural infrastructure initiatives (1994) included the creation of multiplexes with theatres (often had midnight screenings), which encouraged the industrial boom of K-horror
  • At the time, the Korean film market was not fully open to Japanese imports; movie directors had little to no competition.

Example:

  • Bedevilled (2010) – Bok-nam, a young women who has been mentally, physically, and sexually abused on a remote island seeks vengeance.71QOuR0OYjL._SL1095_

K-horror:

  • “Desire for revenge…indicates the deep structural conditions of violent sociality in South Korea”, “Rape-revenge genre signals a blunt feminist stance against sexual violence” – Michelle Cho in Beyond Vengeance: Landscapes of Violence in Jang Chul-Soo’s Bedevilled

*Edit 11/09/2015: spelling error, Hong Hong–>Hong Kong

*Edit 11/15/2015: Revision of all categories and post titles for better organization.

*Edit 11/20/2015: 

Sources:

https://muse.jhu.edu/books/9789882202221

https://www.coursehero.com/file/10887963/BEYONDVENGEANCE-LANDSCAPESOFVIOLENCEINJANGCHUL-SOOS/ (I am unable to find an online copy of the article, so this will be the only reference to it).

 

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