by etherealtaekibum, January 19, 2020

Before Reading

This is in no way meant to be offensive or mean!
This is just a bit of fun (and a bit of a rant) but all in good jest!

I saw that kkdrama did an article like this before; Me VS My Anti-Asian Drama Friends, and I just couldn't resist.

Whenever my friends and I start chatting movies, I usually stay pretty silent. I know what’s going to inevitably come if I open my mouth, so I stay quiet, listening to their opinions and discussions and sip on my coffee. We've just come from our Korean language class, I'm sat making my notes, and not really paying attention to the conversation in favour of trying to get a start on set work.

Then, my ears hear: “Train to Busan is the best Korean horror ever made, and nothing will ever top it.”

I prick up; I’m listening properly now. I cautiously ask, “Have you seen The Wailing?” or “oh, have you seen A Tale of Two Sisters?” or even “I wasn’t too keen myself on Train to Busan; it was a good film, but it had quite a few clichés that are rampant thought K-horror that made it very predictable for me.”

Cue: the awkward silence. People turn to look at me, some have their eyebrows raised and here comes the constant, judgemental, slightly curious but almost always disgusted:

Wait, you’ve seen a lot of horror films?

Boom, there it is. The dreaded question I should have avoided. I should have slurped my coffee, continued finishing my notes and just listened casually. I'm sitting there, dreading everything, mentally screaming at myself that I should have known not to speak up. How do I back up and get out of this situation?

But no; I opened the gates, and then come in the constant questions, much like Train to Busan's zombie horde.

Wait, but, that’s weird? You like watching people get murdered?

I mean, not really, no. I just like being scared, unnerved. I like being on alert and being aware of my surroundings. The remembrance to lock my door after a good slasher film is probably what has stopped me being robbed in my neighbourhood seven different times.

In fact, as much as I do like a gory flick because either, the special effects are going to be laughable or make me squirm, I’m much more of a fan of ghosts and ghouls. I prefer things like The Wailing, things like BLEACH (yes, I know - Bleach isn't a horror; I mean on terms of its content, films with similar concepts, etc.), Exte and found footage horrors like Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum and Hide and Never Seek. Whilst I have seen a lot of gore, actually, it pales in comparison to ghosts and ghouls. Murder in horror is something I have to be in the right mood for – and usually – it's usually because I want to be paranoid and fear humans. These things usually surround the unconscious fear of other humans and make you uneasy; it makes you scared for yourself and makes you question those around you. It's an unconscious fear that is pretty unique and completely different from the paranoia you get from a ghost or a jump scare.

Nothing wrong with a preference for gore horror, but in general, I prefer watching supernatural forces send someone to the brink of everything that makes them human in an attempt to survive.

Haha, are you going to murder me?

Honestly, jail isn't something I want to experience. If I'm going to have to go to jail, it's really not going to be over murdering someone because I watched a movie when I was twelve. Really, I could care less, and I'm more concerned about what I can cook that night that gives me the most time to sit and binge my films and series when I get home. 

Besides, I’ve seen so many movies featuring murder now; I know how I could do it, do you really want to keep this conversation going?

You’ve seen how many horror films?

Currently, 400 exactly. You have a problem with that?

Yep, exactly 400 horror films and counting, from 45 countries in the world and around 270 different directors. I track my stats, maybe more obsessively than other people. You’ve watched 239 romances, I hate most romances, but I’m not judging you for your taste.

I’m telling you [film] is the best Korean horror ever made. Your opinion is wrong.
What do you mean have I seen [film 2]? I know [film 1] is right, I don't need to watch more.

That’s the only film you have seen that is classed under “Korean horror”. I would think that, although opinions, someone who’s seen 57 might have a better understanding of Korean horror than your brief tango with the genre. It’s all good to have a favourite film or your own perception of best, but when you’re telling me I’m wrong for my opinion with a great deal more knowledge of the genre under my belt… I’m seriously considering finding an excuse to leave and I would, if the coffee at this cafe wasn't so good.

I welcome opinions, and I love to discuss them; but when it's "I watched one movie, refuse to watch anything else at all", I'm not quite taking this is the best ever film and if you disagree with me you're wrong as something of important note.

Okay, horror films are great but why do you watch so much Asian stuff? It’s weird.

We have literally sat after taking a Korean class together, in which we are encouraged to watch Korean and Japanese – considering our tutor is also our Japanese tutor – medias to have greater understanding of the language. Why do you watch so much subbed anime? That’s not weird?

Besides, have you seen Western horror in the past few years? When I watch horror, I want to be thoroughly scared. Not given a heart attack three times in a film and be done with it. That’s not horror. That’s just lazy directing.

Also, what does it matter? If I enjoy Asian content, I enjoy Asian content. If you enjoy American films mainly, you enjoy American films mainly. I'm not bothering you about why you watch so much American stuff.

I read one article that if you watch a lot of horror, your brain-

Just as you watching Descendants of the Sun did not make you go and buy a gun, join the army, and start beating people up, horror isn’t going to make me dissect you, torture you, and then leave you with a shape cut out your skin for the police to find you.
In fact, when you’re decently scared enough, a horror film can burn up to 200 calories per viewing due to the increase in heart rate, adrenaline, your fight or flight, and a higher metabolism required if you need to run. Try it some time.

Aren’t you more… uh… violent than others then..?

You know how I sit and watch my horror films? Wrapped up in a blanket, crocheting baby clothes and blankets for the prenatal baby ward and for emergency housing shelters for mothers with babies, sipping wine out of a straw and cuddling with my dog. Much violence. Many horror. Gallons of blood, oh no!

If knitting cute blankets for babies and scarves for the homeless makes me more violent than the rest of humanity, then frankly, I'll accept that.

I love Asian horror! The Grudge films were great!
Oh yeah? Which one?
I don’t remember but Sarah Michelle Geller-
That’s the American one
Yeah, but I don’t like reading subs, they annoy me.

You literally watched 84 subbed animes, but Ju-On: The Curse’s 1 hour and 29 minutes is just too hard for you to sit through? Makes… sense? If you're one of the people who can't focus on subs, can't actually read, or prefer dubs for things, sure thing. Each to their own! But when you consistently watch things with subs but "subs annoy you" on other content?

Just say you don't like the content. I'm not going to be offended if you don't like horror, everyone has their own preferences, but I'm 100% judging you when you consistently watch things with subtitles, but you don't watch other stuff because you 'hate subtitles'.

Subtitles are just annoying, and you're dumb for watching them when there are English remakes!

(I love this one for the reactions.)
I'm deaf. I can't hear out my left ear. I need a hearing aid and subtitles to watch films - even in English. I've cancelled cinema plans numerous times because my friends won't go to the subtitled viewing of the film, or had to leave the group to watch the subtitled screening and be alone throughout it.

But this serial killer-

If I were a serial killer, we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now; I’d have already claimed you. I thought we discussed this already when you asked me if I was going to kill you.

And now you can buy the next round of coffee yourselves, I'm not getting my card out my bag, even if I do get enough points for a free coffee for this round.

That’s just what I remember. Seriously, there’s probably about twenty other ones I’ve had to answer and carefully explain I've forgotten about.

Folks, your horror-loving friends are not going to kill you in your sleep. We just like being scared or grossed out. These questions just make me never want to talk to you about films and only talk to you if I have to for class, for help with something, etc. and I'm debating ringing a different friend to get me out of the situation I now feel wholly uncomfortable in.

Whilst we're on the topic, here are some of my favourite horror films from Asia; c'mon, give them a try. Maybe it'll open your eyes to a whole new world of media.

Japan: Battle RoyaleDark WaterLesson of the EvilAuditionIchi the KillerExteOne Missed CallCULTKuchisake-onnaNoroi: The Curse

South Korea: The WailingThirstGonjiam: Haunted AsylumHide and Never SeekWhispering Corridors series

Thailand: ShutterLadda LandThe Unborn Child

horror train to busan exte the wailing