Halloween is just around the corner, and as we stay confined within the safety of our homes, trick-or-treating will have to be postponed until next year. But don’t worry, you can still enjoy the scary season in this time of the pandemic thanks to our selection of spooky Korean dramas. This list has a variety of sub-genres to choose from—including romance, comedy, mystery, school dramas, and even a sageuk. Take your pick!
Kingdom was one of the first Korean Netflix Original Series and a fabulous attempt in the zombie historical genre. The 2019 thriller is based on the webcomic series The Kingdom of the Gods by Kim Eun-hee, who also penned the script for the show. It stars Ju Ji-hoon (Hyena), Bae Doo-na (Strangers 2), Ryu Seung-ryong (Personal Taste), and Kim Hye-jun (Matrimonial Chaos). The story follows a young crown prince as he attempts to save his kingdom from a zombie outbreak and the political forces trying to usurp the royal throne. Due to the first season’s success, Netflix released the second season in March this year. Both seasons are available on Netflix.
Strangers From Hell (2019)
Also known as Hell Is Other People, Strangers From Hell is a 2019 psychological horror thriller starring Im Si-wan (The King In Love) and Lee Dong-wook (Tale of the Nine Tailed). Based on a webtoon of the same name written by Kim Yong-ki, the OCN drama tells the story of a twenty-something writer who moves to Seoul for a job. To save money, he stays at a cheap dormitory with creepy residents, where mysterious events keep happening. This drama marked Im Si-wan’s comeback after being discharged from his mandatory military service and saw Lee Dong-wook in a rare negative role. It is available on Netflix.
Hotel del Luna (2019)
With stars like IU (My Ahjussi) and Yeo Jin-goo (My Absolute Boyfriend) headlining the series, tvN’s Hotel Del Luna was expected to be an inevitable success, but it surpassed all expectations. The show made it to the list of most-viewed tvN dramas of 2019 and highest-rated K-dramas in the history of cable television. The fantasy rom-com series is penned by the inimitable Hong sisters and directed by Oh Choong-hwan, who also directed the hit My Love From The Star (2013-2014). The story is set in a magical hotel for spirits of the dead to rest before they pass on to the Afterlife. The hotel’s staff are all ghosts, the CEO is an ill-tempered woman who is a thousand years old, and the manager is a cowardly human. It is available on Netflix.
The Guest (2018)
The Guest is a supernatural mystery thriller from OCN follows the twenty-year-long reign of terror of a demon called “Sohn,” more commonly known as the “Guest.” A cynical Catholic exorcist, a detective who doesn’t believe in ghosts, and a psychic who wants to help people team up to track down the demon and stop it from wreaking any more havoc. It stars Kim Dong-wook (Find Me In Your Memory), Kim Jae-wook (Her Private Life), and Jung Eun-chae (The King: Eternal Monarch).
Save Me (2017)
Starring Ok Taec-yeon (The Game Towards Zero), Seo Ye-ji (It’s Okay to Not Be Okay), Jo Sung-ha (Memorist), and Woo Do-hwan (The King: Eternal Monarch), this 2017 mystery thriller drama from OCN follows a family who moves to the countryside after going bankrupt. They are unaware that their new place of residence has been taken over by a cult that hides a history of violence, torture, murder, and dark secrets underneath their church. Four jobless young men and a young woman team up to take on the cult. Save Me is based on a popular webcomic called Out of the World written by Jo Geum-san. The show is available on Netflix and also has a second season.
Nightmare High (2016)
At Yosan Private High School, a series of mysterious disappearances of students start taking place. To save her classmates, a class president decides to investigate her newly-assigned homeroom teacher before it is too late. Starring Uhm Ki-joon (Heart Surgeons) as the mysterious teacher, and Kim So-hyun (The Tale of Nokdu), and Lee Min-hyuk (Jang-Geum, Oh My Grandma) as students, the 2016 horror mystery thriller series from Naver TV consists of 12 short episodes that narrate one standalone story per episode. Nightmare High is available for streaming on Netflix.
The Master’s Sun (2013)
Starring So Ji-sub (My Secret, Terrius), Gong Hyo-jin (When The Camellia Blooms), Seo In-guk (Hundred Million Stars From the Sky), and Kim Yoo-ri (18 Again), The Master’s Sun is a 2013 horror fantasy romance written by the reputable Hong sisters and directed by Jin Hyeok of the City Hunter fame. The story follows a woman who has the ability to see ghosts around her, and a man who can suppress this ability by touching her. Due to its steady ratings, the drama was even extended for one more episode instead of the usual 16 episode run. The show won So Ji-sub and Seo In-guk several best actor awards. It is available to watch on Netflix.
White Christmas (2011)
White Christmas is a 2011 mystery thriller about a chain of mysterious deaths happening over the course of eight days at a private elite high school. The school is located deep in the woods and is attended by some of the brightest students in the country. The drama is a chilling take on the nature of evil, and how the world can be an extremely cruel and dark place to live in. It features an ensemble cast of actors – Kim Sang-kyung (Miss Lee), Baek Sung-hyun (While You Were Sleeping), Kim Young-kwang (The Secret Life of My Secretary), Lee Soo-hyuk (Born Again), Kwak Jung-wook (Life On Mars), Hong Jong-hyun (My Absolute Boyfriend), Esom (Save Me 2), Kim Woo-bin (Uncontrollably Fond), Sung Joon (Ms. Perfect), Jung Suk-won (Kingdom), and Lee El (When The Devil Calls Your Name).