Alien Abjection Amid the Morning Calm: A Singular Reading of Horror Films from Beyond Southeast Asia


Although Korean cinema managed to ride the crest of Western appreciation (and appropriation) of Asian horror, Korean horror films had to struggle for recognition within the nation. Horror film production, in fact, was downgraded so severely by the government that during certain years, including an extended period starting in the late 1980s, no horror film project was undertaken. This article seeks to look into the causes of the difficulties experienced by horror film production outside Southeast Asia (specifically in Korea), and to posit that a hybridic relation with other Asian cinemas—including, as a specialized case, the Philippines’—has contributed to the stabilization and mainstream acceptance of Korean horror film production since the genre’s revival in the late 1990s. It also attempts an answer to the useful question of the reciprocity of film influences in the larger Asian region i.e., that as much as East Asian horror has impacted other national film cultures, Southeast Asia, via the Philippines, has also managed to signify as a spectral presence in East Asian cinema.