MONSTROUS is a six-part Korean tv show. It concerns the excavation, in a small Korean town, of an ancient statue of the Buddha that has a curse locked inside it. This was of particular interest to me, because it’s a classic English folk horror set-up – digging up something that was buried for a reason and everything goes to shit. It has everything the English version typically has – the archaeologist, the genius expert who sees patterns, the idiot politician, the local young psychopath. Even the “mad monk” – in this case, amusingly, a monk who pissed off the head of his order by doing interviews about supernatural folklore for shitty cable. It is quite European in some of its details – I especially note the painting that weeps blood — although these things could prove to me more international than I’m aware of.
The whole thing is, in fact, structurally and materially very reminiscent of QUATERMASS AND THE PIT. The ending could even be read as a specific reference to that story. As is the release of a curse that reverts the victims back to a state of atavistic, uncontrolled fear, grief and anger. This gives the writers, Yeon Sang-ho and Ryoo Yong-jae, license to have some fun with zombie-like activity in the style of Garth Ennis and Jacen Burrows’ CROSSED (and my own minor work BLACKGAS with Max Fiumara). It does get pleasingly violent, and it is very nicely shot. It occasionally gets a bit too twisty and reversal-happy for its own good, but it is generally well paced — and each episode is about a half-hour long, just like the original QUATERMASS tv series. Six half hour episodes really does make me think they knew what they were about. An impressive fusion.
I watched it on Sky Sci-Fi. Doubtless it’s on cable or streaming somewhere else.