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A Shift in Perspectives on Monsters : the Birth of ‘Cultural Generation’ and ‘Korean-style Zombies’

Arum Song 1

1서울대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Discussing newly emerging monsters is like considering their creators. It would be intriguing to apply such a point of view to the zombies showing up lately at home. Since the mid and late 2000s, diverse zombies have appeared in web-toons, films and TV dramas. In the sense that they are the antipode of Korean ghosts hardly disfigured, their appearance in itself should be considered significant. Yet, it should be noted that there is a generation clearly capable of enjoying zombies in its mass-culture. People now in their 20s and 30s should be viewed as the agents who have generated zombies as they spent their childhood in the 1990s going through Hollywood horror movies and culture, which have been reflected in their identity. The 2030 generation has created some idiosyncratic zombies that have memories and intentions, accuse the oppressive order and build their own communities actively, all of which aspects are completely different from their terrifying counterparts of the West. Such distinct aspects of zombies reflect the identity of the 2030 generation that has translated western zombies into their own versions. The confidence in expressing their intentions regardless of disfigured bodies, the representation of their distrust in conventional order by portraying zombies as victims not as inflictors, and a sense of happiness felt among those who appreciate them mirror their own translation of zombies crossing the borderline between life and death into what they are. The current 2030 generation has been viewed as drifting without being well positioned economically and politically. Nonetheless, they have expressed themselves and grown in culture, in which sense their own generation theory can be elicited not from the perspective of political and economic frames but from their sensibility and sensitivity flowing in their culture. In other words, the emerging distinctive ‘Korean-style zombies’ are the creatures of the ‘cultural generation’ and at the same time a new keyword pointing to the identity of the generation.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.