The School Horror genre is most associated these days with the Whispering Corridors (1998-2009) series of films from South Korea, set in single sex schools, where teenage girls attempt to deal with the vagaries of peer pressure and exam competition while living in a cloistered and closeted environment. To date, the series consists of five films: Whispering Corridors (Park Ki-Hyeong: 1998), Memento-Mori (Kim Tae-Yong & Min Kyu-Dong: 1999), Wishing Stairs (Yun Jae-Yeon: 2003), Voice (Choe Ik-Hwan: 2005) and A Blood Pledge (Lee Jong-Yong: 2009). In a similar way to Gakko no Kaidan, and influenced by the former, The Whispering Corridors series are linked thematically rather than through the presence of continuing characters and/or connected spaces as in for example the Halloween (1998-2009) or Friday 13th (1980-2009) series. In a comparison is to be made, then it would be with Brian de Palma’s Carrie, and indeed visual allusions to Carrie abound in the Whispering Corridors films. At the same time, and unlike Gakko no Kaidan, each film has a different director which is demonstrated through the markedly different aesthetics that constitutes the architecture of horror, both visually and aurally, from which fear is generated. While the fact that the primary demographic or target audience of these films is female is no surprise, their implicit ‘queerness’ – coming from what is still an extremely conservative country – perhaps is.
Join me to discuss this and more at New Malden Library on 21st February, 6pm.