“The Host” by Byeongwoo Lee

There was a time in the early 2000’s when I was particularly keen on Asian horror flicks. It all started with  – I kid you not – an unmarked copy of Ju-On: The Grudge which a friend brought over. We’ve watched it late at night on my shitty telly, knowing nothing at all about it. And it totally caught us off guard and terrified us down to the bones.

After that intense experience I craved for more. I’ve hunted down a whole bunch of films, such as the original Ringu, Uzumaki, Pulse (Kairo) or the episodic Three… Extremes. They were all similar in tone yet so very different from all other horror films I’ve seen until then. Watching a foreign film about an ancient curse in its Japanese language with (bad) English subtitles only adds to the overall mystery.

Another crucial one was A Tale of Two Sisters which I’ve watched all alone at night. And while it truly scared the crap out of me, what lingered on long after I’ve finished the film, was Byeong Woo Lee’s hauntingly beautiful music. Of course I had to check out his next project then, which was an acclaimed Korean creature feature that had gratuitously been compared to Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece Jaws by some sensation-seeking critics: Bong Joon-ho’s The Host (Gwoemul).

 

I primarily decided to tackle this score because of the gorgeous minimalistic cover art of the official Korean release (#1) that was published in 2006 for Asian markets by the composer’s own music label musikdorf. While on the other hand Milan Records came round with a quickly “spewed out” version for the rest of the world (#2). I’ve remade both to my best abilites, trying to fix some minor things on Milan’s version.

The score unfortunately isn’t on par with Two Sisters, omitting the former’s lush and sweeping waltz music. But I guess that’s not what a monster flick like The Host was asking for. What it does feature is the typical melancholy guitar sound that Lee is known for. And with “Little Hut in Snow” he even wrote a memorable little guitar lullaby that also serves as the main theme of the score. He varied it multiple times over the course of the 23-track running time, making for a diverse and worthy listening experience.

6 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Great covers of course… If you wanna do more horror asian movies, that would be awesome! I m thinking about Kenji Kawai’s Ringu and Dark Water for example… :)

    1. Thanks Eric ;)
      I’m currently trying to process all of my smaller projects until I figured out what bigger one should be the next. I’ll keep your request in mind.

  2. Block-Busted

    Joon-ho Bong! Anyone who loves Korean films would no about this guy. I mean, aside from ‘The Host’, he also directed ‘Memories of Murder’, ‘Mother’, and perhaps his magnum opus, ‘Snowpiercer’, which also happens to have surpassed ‘D-War’ as the most expensive film from that country (‘D-War’ cost about $32 million to make while ‘Snowpiercer’ cost $40 million) – and thank goodness for that! His newest film, which is apparently his first American film, ‘Okja’, will be coming to Netflix next week. :)

    As for the cover, I DO like your ‘Jaws’-inspired cover.

    1. Dude I completely forgot the fact that this is from the same director as Snowpiercer. And I even made a whole bunch of covers for that a few years ago. I’m not so keen about D-War, but I’m really looking forward to Okja. Thanks for the reminder!

      1. Block-Busted

        Yeah, ‘D-War’ is currently considered as one of the worst Korean films ever made. DX

        And noticed that both the best AND the worst films from my country (I’m from South Korea myself) happen to be two of the most expensive films from my country too?

        Yeah, imagine that. :D

      2. D-War has some really hilarious editing errors, among others, isn’t it? I think I’ve had it once rented from the video store, but I don’t remember much about it.

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