Shadow monsters chase a fleeing man in "Hellhound"
(Netflix)

The 10 Best Horror Korean Dramas

You can’t spell “horror” without “k”. Shut up, spelling nerds, I’m making a point. Combined with its penchant for pop, South Korea has established itself as one of the leading lights in global entertainment.

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Are you looking for a long term K-horror commitment? More than a movie one-night stand? These are the best Korean horror drama series on TV.

1. Kingdom

A horde of zombies running in the woods in "The Kingdom"
(Netflix)

Set in Korea’s Joseon Era, the son of of a king thinks that something is fishy with the realm. His dad for instance is starting to smell fishy himself … literally. Turns out that the king has contracted a fatal disease … that has then brought him back from the dead. Accompanied by his faithful bodyguard, the prince has to journey across the realm to figure out the source of a plague that is spreading rapidly across the populace. While these zombies may seem to be the exact same as your average 28 Days Later runner types, their physiology is far more complex. For starters, they only seem to come out at night. Part horror. Part drama. Part epic. The Kingdom is 150% awesome.

2. The Guest

A boy in a priest outfit performs a bedroom exorcism in "The Guest"
(OCN)

Yoon Hwa Pyung is a young psychic who is being primed to take over the family business! His family only really has one client. An unwilling one. A demon called “Son” (Korean for “Guest”) is a particularly nasty piece of work. It’s able to control other demons (because there are other demons, too) and then get those demons to take control of weak-minded people like some sort of spirit organized crime racket. But these demons aren’t the “nice place ya got here” type; they’re more of the “stab yourself and your loved ones in the eyes til they’re dead” type. Hwa Pyung has his work cut out for him.

3. Sweet Home

A boy with a makeshift spear fights off a monster in "Sweet Home"
(Netflix)

Cha Hyun Soon is a bit of a loner. It’s to be expected, considering his immediate family was killed in a horrible car accident. He moves into an apartment complex that has some strange goings on. His neighbors are real monsters. Literally. For some reason, the members of the complex (along with people all throughout Korea) are turning into hideous beasties, and Cha Hyun Soo and his yet untransformed neighbors have to figure out how to survive.

4. Hotel De Luna

A man and woman hold hands framed by the moon in "Hotel De Luna"
(Netflix)

There’s a charming little hotel in downtown Seoul! It’s been there for quite a while, but no one seems to go in or out. No one living, anyway. The Hotel De Luna caters only to clientele of the exclusively spectral sort. It’s a Hilton for haunts! Ghosts show up to work out their unfinished biz, but they’ve got nothing on the amount of unfitted business that the staff have! The CEO might be the worst off of all, forced to run the place to make up for a terrible crime she doesn’t remember committing. She’ll girlboss her way through it, I’m sure! Fair warning for horror fans: This series is light on scares and heavy on feels.

5. Strangers From Hell

A man stands in a dark hallway in "Strangers from Hell"
(OCN)

Yoon Jong Woo is a country bumpkin who moves to the big city for the promise of a new job and a fresh start! But something is rotten in the state of Seoul. City. Whatever. He shacks up at the Eden Gosiwon, a cheap hostel that caters to the every sort of drifter imaginable. Yoon Jong Woo eventually begins to suspect that some of this drifters floated in from another plane of existence entirely, and he better what himself lest he piss off his infernal neighbors. What is it about apartment complexes, hotels, and hostels that makes for such damn good K-horror?

6. Tale of the Nine Tailed

A boy with a fox eye steps out of the shadows in "Tale of Nine Tailed"
(tvN)

You know, the thing that Naruto has inside him? Turns out Nine-Tailed Foxes also appear in Korean mythology! The gumiho is a nine-tailed fox spirit, and the protagonist of this particular series. The fox takes human form in order to better blend into the modern era, and to get the drop on evil mythological creatures. His job? Take out spiritual baddies before they can take out any human beings. He’s good at it. Sometimes. It’s a process.

7. The Silent Sea

The cast of "The Silent Sea" in their space suits
(Netflix)

The future is a scary place, especially when the world is like Sandy Cheek’s tree dome: waterless. The Earth is slowly being desertified. I wish that meant that it was turning into ice cream or red velvet cake or something, but that would be dessertified—double s. As a solution, humanity is looking to the Moon. A soldier from a space agency is sent up to the natural satellite to get the lay of the Moon land, and to investigate a mysterious tragedy that claimed the lives of the previous people who landed there—including her sister.

8. All of Us Are Dead

A group of weapon holding teens stand around a zombie's corpse in "All of us are dead"
(Netflix)

High school is hard enough without zombies. Yet the zombies come anyway. After a zombie virus spreads to a South Korean high school, the surviving student body struggles to preserve their … well, student bodies. High school is a time when kids’ bodies certainly go through changes, but these aren’t the sort of changes that any of the students learned about in health class.

9. Hellbound

Shadow monsters chase a fleeing man in "Hellhound"
(Netflix)

Picture this: It’s a bright and sunny day at a local coffee shop. You walk up to the counter and order a dirty chai or whatever made up concoction you drink. The barista turns the tip screen around and you press “No Tip.” You settle down to enjoy your bev when suddenly shadowy spirit monsters show up and make you atone for your sin … by beating you to death. After unearthly beings begin passing judgement on the world’s population, the citizens of South Korea struggle to put together the spiritual pieces, while trying not to die themselves.

10. Parasyte: The Grey

A woman with a tentacle coming out of her head stands in front of alien/human hybrids in "Parasyte: The Grey"
(Netflix)

Inspired by one of the best body horror anime in the game, Parasyte: The Grey is about a world where shape-shifting flesh eaters from beyond the stars worm their way into human bodies and take parasitic control over their hosts, blending in to the human population while they do so. One lucky woman got a parasite that couldn’t take her over completely, and now she uses her shape-shifting parasite powers to stop the star-scourge from devouring the planet.

(featured image: Netflix)


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Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.