Bleeding Cool

HBO's Series "Folklore" Is Unnatural

From the female slender man to malicious spirits of dead infants, HBO is inviting horrifying creatures into your home.

In case you weren't aware, Asian folklore is fucking terrifying.

There's a reason the genre of American horror experienced a wave of success in the 2000s by adapting Asian horror films, from Gore Verbinksi's The Ring (2002) to Takashi Shimizu's The Grudge (2004). In Korea, there's a faceless female spirit that invades your home in search of faces to rip off. In Indonesia, there's wewe gombel, a barren female version of slender man. Her desperation to be a mother drives her to kidnap mistreated children–before they're said to die of starvation in her long-nailed, long-breasted (not even going to ask) embrace.

Beginning February 1, you can see these hellish creatures in your own home. HBO is bringing its Asian series Folklore to U.S. audiences. The six-episode series is comprised of hour-long installments that each feature an Asian country's mythical nightmare. The episode titled "A Mother's Love" depicts an Indonesian single mother and her young son who move into her employer's mansion. They soon discover a group of children sequestered in the attic after being kidnapped by the wewe gombel. That's prime for a tear-jerking happy ending.

In "Toyol," the episode set in Malaysia, all the fish in a small coastal town mysteriously die. A local Member of Parliament seeks out a Shaman to help save the fishing village's economy. But since Malaysian myth refers to toyol as the spirits of stillborn infants who steal possessions or generally wreak havoc (when they're not being appeased with milk, black candles, or a drop of their owner's blood), that probably doesn't turn out well.

Folklore aired on HBO Asia in October, but February 1 will mark its American debut. Each episode is filmed in the native language of the country in which it's set, and the series spans from Japan, Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

HBO Asia | FOLKLORE Official Trailer

Meg Hanson is a Brooklyn-based writer, teacher and jaywalker. Find Meg at her website and on Twitter @megsoyung.

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