Monstrous motherhood : generic transformation of Korean horror
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Motherhood has long been a celebrated virtue in Korea and a notable motif in many works of art, from traditional literature to modern cinema. While these works typically praise motherhood, modern Korean horror films are increasingly emphasizing its monstrosity. This thesis attempts to reconcile this seeming contradiction of depicting motherhood as monstrous in a culture where the virtues of motherhood are believed in absolutely and deeply worshipped. In the same vein as Robin Wood who defines horror as a cultural instance where society deals with a monster, the stand-in for what is collectively feared and denied in society, I characterize horror as a film genre that reveals the hidden and forgotten side of societal conflict through the representation of the monster. I attempt to demythologize the Korean conception of motherhood through discussing representations of motherhood as monstrous in two recent horror films, "Sorum" (2001, Jong-Chan Yun) and "The Uninvited" (2003, Soo-Yeon Lee), as well as some of their precedents. This analysis notes thematic changes in depicting motherhood as well as corresponding formal techniques appropriate to the thematic change.