8 Korean Vampire/Zombie Dramas And Films For Chills And Thrills
Fantasy-themed K-dramas and films come in all shapes and sizes but those of the spooky and gory variety always have a special place in our hearts (nothing like a bit of blood and jump scares to get your weekly dose of heart-pumping aerobics after all).
Whether you are a fan of the cold and logical vampire prototype or simply someone who enjoys the suspense of watching hordes of mindless zombies on the tear, there’s something for everyone as they truly run the gamut.
Without further ado, here are eight Korean zombie/vampire dramas and films to thrill your senses this season!
Set against the backdrop of the Joseon era, “Kingdom” presents the walking dead as a result of a calamitous plague which turns commoners and royals alike into zombies scavenging across the land in a bloodthirsty frenzy. Hunted and worn-down, Crown Prince Lee Chang (Joo Ji Hoon) and his allies have to defend themselves from zombies while navigating dangerous political terrain against the powerful Haewon Cho clan and its sinister secrets.
While zombies are a central theme to the plotline, “Kingdom” toes a fine line between devolving into a period era apocalypse and delivering on the political conspiracies that are lurking underneath the surface. So fear not if you like more meat on your K-drama picks!
2. “Zombie Detective”
“Zombie Detective” is quite special in that the zombie in question, Kim Moo Young (Choi Jin Hyuk), starts off as something of a blank slate with no memories of his past. Unlike the stereotypical out-for-your-blood type of aggressive zombie that we’d expect, Moo Young has a heart of gold and is instead quite scared of people. In order to blend in, he has to learn the mannerisms of humans and even adopts a job as a private detective while he’s at it! This turns out to be a fortuitous decision as it was through this role that he meets former investigative journalist Gong Sun Ji (Park Ju Hyun) who joins hands with him to solve crimes and put together his lost memories.
If this all sounds serious and tense, you might be glad to know that “Zombie Detective” is actually a light touch on the supernatural genre with tons of comic relief in store for gut-busting good times!
Start watching “Zombie Detective”:
3. “Vampire Detective”
Crime-busting Yoon San (Lee Joon) runs a private detective agency with his buddy Yong Goo Hyung (Oh Jung Se) when he gets turned into a vampire one day. He uses these new abilities to help solve cases (work stops for no one, not even a human-turned-vampire it seems!) all while juggling mysteries from his past.
Props to the cast for really bringing the characters to life (especially detective Yoon San!) as the different cases are what keep viewers interested in what’s next to come. Although touted as a vampire drama, the supernatural element is slipped in more subtly, so if you are into mysteries and crime-busting, “Vampire Detective will likely be up your alley!
Start watching “Zombie Detective”:
4. “Train to Busan”
A leak at a biotech plant inadvertently results in a zombie apocalypse, which spreads rapidly across the country. The passengers of a KTX train are seemingly the sole survivors as the train chugs through empty and desolate stations. “Train to Busan” follows the story of a workaholic single father Seo Seok Woo (Gong Yoo) who has to protect his daughter Su An (Kim Su An) as they travel with a group of survivors onboard the KTX. After learning that Busan had been established as a quarantine zone, the group of survivors make plans to go to the city in the hopes of reaching a safe zone.
What I particularly enjoyed about “Train to Busan” is how the character development is robust. It lays the groundwork for understanding the motivations behind their choices, and hence, connecting with them.
Watch “Train to Busan”:
5. “Beautiful Vampire”
500 years old and ageless as if she were in her twenties, Ran (Jung Yeon Joo) is a beautiful vampire that has chosen to disguise her identity and live amongst humankind. The owner of a small makeup shop, Ran lives a quiet and normal life by successfully sustaining on animal blood. But the life she has built is threatened one day when she meets and falls in love with the new landlord’s son (Song Kang) whose scent awakens the primal instincts she has kept under wraps for centuries.
A more light-hearted and wacky take on the vampire concept, “Beautiful Vampire” doesn’t shy away from making use of some common vampire tropes (ahem, lady who douses herself in garlic and welds a cross, I’m looking at you). The film achieves a whimsical, fairytale-like effect with Ran, and the cinematography is also gorgeous which definitely helps to highlight the “beautiful” part of “Beautiful Vampire.”
Start watching “Beautiful Vampire”:
6. “Vampire Prosecutor 2”
In a sequel to the original series, “Vampire Prosecutor 2” continues with Min Tae Yeon (Yeon Jung Hoon) as a prosecutor who heads up a new division that investigates unsolved murder cases. Ever since he got bitten and turned into a vampire seven years ago, Tae Yeon has been able to find out a victim’s cause of death just by tasting their blood. Amidst solving cases, he now turns his attention to the mystery that is intertwined with his own past – who is responsible for turning him into a vampire seven years ago?
Start watching “Vampire Prosecutor 2”:
Imagine being a bloodthirsty vampire and working in a blood-heavy environment. Well, this could either be some lucky vampire’s idea of a candy store or an unlucky vampire’s self-imposed exercise in restraint. “Blood” is very much the latter. The vampire in question, Park Ji Sang (Ahn Jae Hyun), is a renowned surgeon who believes in the sanctity of human life, and hence, has to forcibly curb his desire for human blood. At work, Ji Sang quickly gets to know Yoo Ri Ta (Ku Hye Sun), a wonder kid in the world of medicine who is also related to the hospital group’s chairman. And in the midst of office politics and his love life, Ji Sang starts to uncover secrets about his own family.
Start watching “Blood”:
8. “The Sweet Blood”
Last on the list is a vampire K-drama that is actually still on air. “The Sweet Blood” is a fusion of the supernatural with a high school drama that tells the story of a beautiful vampire hybrid named Yeon Seo (Song Chae Yoon) who wants nothing more than to blend in with her human counterparts and graduate high school. A little hiccup arises when she finds that her classmate’s blood is fatally attractive to vampires and werewolves alike and has to rise to the occasion as his knight in shining armor!
With a high school drama, we can’t leave out the element of cute crushes, drama, and all that jazz. “The Sweet Blood” dials up on the aspects of vampirism by slipping them into instances which cause drama and tensions in the classroom, but they come across as more of a K-drama take of the “Twilight” series than a fresh plotline.
Start watching “The Sweet Blood”:
Hey Soompiers, which of these Korean zombie or vampire dramas and films have you watched? Which one was your favorite of the lot? Share with us in the comments below!
Aetcult is your friendly K-beauty enthusiast who loves her tea on and off her face (no lie). In between bouts of tinkering with new beauty products, she will probably be writing about her finds, revising her Korean language coursework and jamming to the latest K-pop song. Say hi to Am on Tumblr.