As we approach Halloween, ghouls, ghosts, and goblins decorations appear, heralding a season of activities like carving jack-o-lanterns, festive gatherings, donning costumes, and trick-or-treating.
Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. According to history.com:
This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.
While there are many South Korean series that feature supernatural elements, here are 5 of our favorite kdramas that you may want to binge-watch this Halloween season.
Also known as: Today's Private Investigator, Today's Detective
First episode date: September 5, 2018
Number of episodes: 32 (30-minute)
Description: Horror thriller drama. While investigating a crime scene, Detective Lee Da-il (Choi Daniel) encounters a mysterious woman in red Sunwoo Hye (Lee Ji-ah) who was at the scene of the bizarre death of his assistant's sister, Jung Yeo-wool (Park Eun-bin). When Lee Da-il unwittingly becomes a victim, he becomes even more driven to find and stop Sunwoo Hye's murderous rampage.
Why I Love This Series: Mixing the detective and supernatural genres wasn't enough for this drama. This tale heightens the tension through a tight plot full of paranormal mysteries and a dynamic story progression. As detective Lee Da-il ventures back and forth between the human and spiritual worlds, he exists in a unique space that gives him both an advantage and a liability. The team that forms around him pursues the supernatural serial killer putting their mortal and ethereal lives on the line. The ending leaves room for a potential sequel.
Quote: "There are unknown beings in this world. Some may trigger your rage, and some may inflate your guilt. But before you make a bad choice, please remember one thing. It may seem like no one's next to you, but an unknown being could always be protecting you."
Also known as: Nightmare High
First episode date: March 14, 2016
Number of episodes: 12
Description: Mystery thriller. When teacher Han Bong-gu (Uhm Ki-joon) becomes the temporary 2nd grade 3 class homeroom teacher at Yosan High School, students' strange events begin to happen. Bizarre notes and empty classroom seats appear, and there are signs of students no one remembers. Class president Kang Ye-Rim (Kim So-hyun) and her photographer boyfriend Seo Sang-woo (Lee Min-hyuk) sense something is wrong and seek to resolve the mystery before it's too late.
Why I Love This Series: This tale is less of a ghost story and more about the personal ghosts that we carry within our psyches. With a nod to Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus, this psychological drama gets creepier and creepier as the fervent wishes of high schoolers are fulfilled in ways they never imagined. Themes of friendship, love, knowledge, appearance and personal confidence are explored and acted upon - often with dire consequences for the students.
Quote: "The kids in our class often think strange thoughts. What would happen if a war broke out? It would be okay if an earthquake happened and destroyed our school, right? If I could change the world, would the world become better? Will the dream I have really come true? If I could truly wish for it, would it happen?"
Also known as: The Guest
First episode date: September 12, 2018
Number of episodes: 16
Description: Supernatural horror thriller. Catholic priest Choi Yoon (Kim Jae-wook), psychic Yoon Hwa Pyung (Kim Dong-wook), and detective Kang Kil-Young (Jung Eun-chae) work together to solve the mystery surrounding crimes caused by mysterious powers and a series of grisly suicides.
Why I Love This Series: Probably the best of the horror series, it skips the standard romance to focus on a complex story that doesn't hesitate to put you in the edge of your seat. While there may be some predictability at times, the saga provides enough twists and turns drama to make you worry about the fate of our intrepid heroes.
Quote: “Even the light will be dark to you; the night will swallow the day, for darkness is as a dark night to you.”
Also known as: Hey Ghost, Let's Fight
First episode date: July 11, 2016
Number of episodes: 16
Description: Horror mystery romantic comedy. When the spirit of Kim Hyun-ji (Kim So-hyun) meets exorcist for hire Park Bong-pal (Ok Taec-yeon), he takes her in as his roommate until she solves the mystery of her death and can move on to the afterlife. Together with ghost hunting club members Choi Cheon-sang (Kang Ki-young) and Kim In-rang (Lee David) they earn their keep by eliminating malevolent ghosts until they face an evil spirit that seeks to destroy them.
Why I Love This Series: While the friendship between Hyun-ji and Bong-pal that blossoms into love is the driving force of this series, the bromance between ghost hunters Cheon-sang and In-rang offers a comedic underpinning that is delightful. The series provides all the ghostly special effects you expect to see in a horror movie, adding fright to the fun story.
Quote: "We can't disregard the possibility."
5. Master's Sun
Also known as: The Master's Sun, The Sun of My Master, The Sun of the Lord, Mr. Joo's Miss Tae
First episode date: August 7, 2013
Number of episodes: 17
Description: Horror romantic comedy. Tae Gong-shi (Gong Hyo-Jin), a young woman who can see ghosts, finds a safe haven when she touches the hand of pompous Kingdom Group CEO Joo Joong-won (So Ji-sub). In return for providing her safety from the ghosts who consistently bother her, she promises to help the CEO solve the mystery surrounding the death of his girlfriend 15 years earlier, along with Kingdom Group security, Kang Woo (Kim Yoo-ri).
Why I Love This Series: If your taste is for more amusing ghost stories, this series is for you. The interactions between the honest and awkward Tai Gong-shi and the self-important Joo Joong-won are delightful.
Quote: "When your heart doesn't tell the truth, pain gives the answer."
The following playlist features trailers for each of these kdramas.
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