With Halloween fast approaching the time is right to remember the terrifying, the frightening, and the down right cute Sups (totally took a True Blood line, had to) from Korean Drama. Scream, run away, close your eyes. It will not matter; Drama Fever will still be streaming the title long after the fright has diminished.
Henceforth are the K-drama Sups that linger after the drama is over…
Sup Type: Gumiho
My Favorite Sups: Gu Mi Ho (My Girlfriend is a Gumiho), Yoon Shi Yeon (Forbidden Love)
The tale of the nine tailed fox is an ancient story adapted from Chinese myth. Similar stories exist in many Asian countries- a fox, if she lives long enough, can gain eternal life. A play on gender roles and the archetypal figure of the trickster spirit, the Gumiho character is extremely adaptable to the Korean drama environment. Because of that, I will forever have a soft spot for Gu Mi Ho and all of her hoi-hoing, and Shi Yeon with all of her sacrifice. Here’s to you Gumiho- you never let me down.
Sup Type: Vampires
My Favorite Sups: Min Tae Yeon (Vampire Prosecutor), Baek Jung Won (Freeze)
Vampires are everywhere anymore. Everywhere. Painfully everywhere. It has become a hurdle to appreciating the modern day presentation of the classic blood sucking terror of the night. So many forms of media try to tell the vampire tale and so many forms of media end up with too much shininess and not enough awesomeness.
Alas, I was pleasantly delighted by two interpretations of the vampire in Korean drama. Jung Won, a short lived character (5 episodes and gone in 2006) had one of the best setups I have ever seen in vampire lore. His character was created to be epic. That was until it came time for episode 6- then his character was just…gone. Tae Yeon, the upstanding vampire star of a drama that is in its second season, never failed to bring the right amount of vampire do-goodness. I would interview either vampire any time (I know, I know. Outdated joke. I try, I try).
Sup Type: Ghosts
My Favorite Sups: Arang (Arang and the Magistrate), Shin Ji-Hyun (49 Days)
Ghosts appear in folk stories the world over. The sight of departed loved ones, representations of otherworldly spirits, or glimpses of past events occur time and time again in the mythologies of numerous cultures. An anciently recognized happening, ghosts in Korean drama have a lot to live up to.
Without comparison there are two ghosts from drama land that weave fascinating tales to rival the best ghost stories- Arang and Ji Hyun. Arang is based on the classic tale of a magistrate’s worst nightmare and best case. Ji Hyun brings Buddhist thought to a drama that really made me cry and smile with equal glee.
Sup Type: Undetermined- Extremely Powerful
My Favorite Sups: Blind Prophet (Secret Investigation Record), Kang Hyuk (Flower Boy Ramyun Shop)
There are times when you are faced with such power you are blinded- unable to determine the exact nature of the creature that is before you. Unknowable, the undetermined Sups are a mystery that keeps me wanting more.
The blind prophet in Secret Investigation Record kept me on the edge of my seat, for his sheer creepy factor as well as his comedic perversion. Kang Hyuk, while not a defined supernatural being, is beyond the normal realm in my mind. He is like the Johnny Appleseed of Ramyun, the wandering tall tale (literally) that parents tell their children about. Both characters leave me more confused than ever. For that I love the fact I will never really know exactly what or who they are. The only thing I will understand for certain is their confusing awesomeness.
Sup Type: Evil Incarnate
My Favorite Sups: John Mayer (King 2 Hearts), Mama Kang (Boys Over Flowers)
Evil incarnate is truly terrifying. When a person has no conscious they are bound to act in ways that injure those around them. Evil incarnate takes the emotional ties that make up humanity and puts them in a shredder-with the end result of an empty and frightening soul. While some dramas end in evil incarnates turn towards the good side, there are still the characters that make me shudder.
John Mayer is the bond villain of Korean Drama. A psychotic, narcissistic, paranoid billionaire, I had night terrors for a week after finishing this drama. I still see his face sometimes when I close my eyes. Aisshhh. Mama Kang, Chairwoman, saw and raised John Mayer’s evil into a completely emotionally devoid outlook on humanity, focused on a methodical and sadistic game of control over what she viewed as her possessions. Both characters- enough to rival the scariest horror movies. Freddy Krueger would run from these two.