Tuesday, May 14, 2013

SNL parodies Asian-style ghost movies

I always thought "Oldboy" would be the most likely Korean film that Saturday Night Live would parody, but it looks like strange, freaky, scary-if-you-grew-up-there-but-not-if-you're-from-the-US-(probably) ghosts are the first to make it to SNL.

The goof on Disney Channel family shows has a woman falling in love with a Korean man...

... and then him killing her to cover the affair (I think they're mixing up South and North Korea)...

... and then her returning to her kids as a "Korean water ghost," spelled mool-gwishin [물귀신] (though I would spell it as mul-gwishin), and which I think is sort of a Japanese-Korean hybrid.

The moral of the story is don't fall in love with Korean men because they will try to drown you in the Han River. (And you thought English teachers were poorly depicted in the media.)

Funny, when I googled "물귀신," it sent me to pictures of the sirens.

In case you're wondering, a Korean water ghost would probably look a bit more like this:

... or this:

I'd missed that RokDrop mentioned this when retweeting this tweet from Asian Correspondent.



  1. Kinda looks more like he's drowning her in the pond surrounding Gyeonghoeru.

    1. I thought the same thing when I saw this. Having grown up in the shadow of the Matterhorn, I assure you Disney is quite geographically muddled when it comes to choosing and placing geographic icons.

      But now that I think about it, a Kyŏnghoéru-esque structure on the banks of the Han River would be way cool.

  2. I saw this, too, and sent it to another K-blogger to see if he'd like to write on it. While looking for a clip I noticed the reviews all said it was referring to movies like Ring and Grudge . . . Japanese films, of course. Korean horror films are slowly becoming more popular in parts of the US (even Pittsburgh shows them once in a while), though the success of those Japanese ones a decade ago is still in the public imagination as quintessential Asian horror movies.

    1. Here in Hawaii, and to a large extent in Orange County as well, Korean everything is all over the place. As an RA in the dorms this past year, I have to go into people's rooms on occasion, and I see posters of Korean movies, K-pop stars, actors/actresses, etc., almost all in the rooms of non-Koreans. Meanwhile, I can count four Caucasian women in my building who are taking first- or second-year Korean classes, with an interest triggered by said cultural offerings.


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