The poster for the new drama ``Grudge: The Revolt of Gumiho.'' The series airs Monday and Tuesdays at 9:55 p.m. on KBS. / Courtesy of KBS
By Han Sang-hee
Along with the sizzling heat comes the tragic tale of the ``gumiho,'' or nine-tailed fox.
Major network KBS is bringing the legendary gumiho this summer through its new drama series ``Grudge: The Revolt of Gumiho,'' but with an interesting twist that will hopefully captivate horror fans.
Legend says that the gumiho transforms itself into a beautiful woman to seduce men, eventually leading to deadly revenge or murder.
In the new series, the beautiful gumiho named Gu-san has a daughter. Born of a human father and monster mother, Yeon-i is an innocent young girl, and the two cursed souls wander searching for a safe place to stay. They end up living with Yoon Du-su, a former official and a father looking for a cure for his sick daughter, and the tale of love, betrayal, friendship and jealously starts to unfold.
This is certainly not the first time for a network to bring the ancient horror tale to life, and one may wonder what KBS has in store this time. There are two factors networks can play with: the storyline and the computer graphics.
The storyline is indeed different. The original gumiho tale is simple: The ill-fated gumiho feeds on human blood, determined for revenge.
However, ``Grudge: The Revolt of Gumiho'' unveils the deadly bloodline. Yeon-i, played by 11-year-old Kim Yu-jeong, may have an innocent smile, but after realizing that she is different, she accepts her fate and lays low to avoid getting caught.
Yoon may seem the kind and gentle type, but he actually has a big plan in mind. His daughter Cho-ock, played by 12-year-old Seo Shin-ae, suffers from a mysterious disease, and the only way to save her is to feed her the liver of a girl of the same age. When he realizes that the beautiful Gu-san and her daughter has no place to go, plus that the young Yeon-i is the same age of his daughter, he takes them in and awaits the perfect time to strike. The tale moves on to a more emotional note, as Yoon starts to fall for the lovely Gu-san, and Cho-ock starts to envy her father's interest in the mysterious mother and daughter.
The trickiest part of such monster dramas is how to mix in the computer graphic scenes. Television viewers and netizens here are very critical, and for a network to use too many or too few computer graphics can draw harsh criticism.
Numerous dramas were bashed due to the poor use of CG, including big budget works such as ``Kim Su-ro, The Iron King'' and ``The Man Almighty,'' but it seems KBS was well aware of such scrutiny.
The screening at the press conference and also the first episode aired Monday showed that the makers were serious when they said they wanted to bring realism. Transformations of characters are the most difficult, and the makers tried to avoid criticism. Instead of showing the full transformation, the cameras moved swiftly back and forth, as the gumiho transformed first in the eyes, the fangs and finally the overall wardrobe and hair.
The horror drama scene received a rating of 8.7 percent from Total National Multimedia Statistics, and ``Grudge: The Revolt of Gumiho'' is expected to create a new trend in combining the old and new with innovative ideas and a strong script.
``Grudge: The Revolt of Gumiho'' airs every Monday and Tuesday at 9:55 p.m. on KBS.