‘Hellbound’ director says the series questions “what it means to be a human”

“Through those characters, I wanted to bring up conversations for the audiences”

Yeon Sang-ho, the director and creator of Netflix’s latest hit K-drama Hellbound, has opened up about the message behind the dark fantasy series.

In a recent interview with The Korea Times, Yeon how he wanted to explore humanity through the series, using Lovecraftian horror as its setting. “The most important message that I wanted to deliver through this work is asking questions on humanity and what it means to be a human,” Yeon said.

“In the series, there are different types of humanistic characters… and through those characters, I wanted to bring up conversations for the audiences to discuss which of them genuinely portrays humanistic qualities, from their own perspective.”

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He the described the world of Hellbound to “playing a game in the metaverse”, adding that he and his team “put together stories of how people would react in that situation” of life and death.

Elsewhere during the interview, Yeon also described Hellbound as a “cosmic horror” series, also known as Lovecraftian horror, saying that the primary focus should not be on explaining supernatural phenomena. “If that mystery is explained, it wouldn’t be of the cosmic horror genre. So in that sense, this series will stay in that genre even into further seasons,” he said.

“Although the series is set in Korea, I think the issues it touches on are very universal, like life and death, sin and punishment, what it means to be human and so on,” the director later shared, commenting on the worldwide popularity of Hellbound.

“We all have these questions as human beings regardless of where you live, so I think those helped the series to resonate with global viewers.”

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