Korean productions Squid Game and now Hellbound have had knock-out success with western audiences this year, and fans of the latter are keen to know more about what the nightmarish monsters are.
Directed by Train to Busan’s Yeon Sang-ho, Hellbound depicts a dystopian future where sinners are given a period of time left to live before the beasts of Hell arrive to chase them, kill them, and bind their souls to the underworld.
Not only does Hellbound serve as a great creature feature, but it is also an intense study of the evil humans can produce, in oftentimes, higher quantity than fantastical creatures.
What are the monsters in Hellbound?
Hellbound features three, sturdy ape-like creatures that appear in the real world through a portal in order to catch the people chosen to be taken to Hell.
The creatures are manifested out of black smoke and deal in blue fire when facing their targets and the portal they appear through has a destination on the other side which remains ambiguous.
Their physical bodies built from the smoke look rugged with a charcoal texture and their smoggy husks are shockingly visible to the public.
While it’s clear that these beasts are executioners from Hell, their true origin is not explained in the narrative, but we can assume that they were created by a maker who advocates punishment upon the sinners of humanity.
Many civilians view the beasts as gods of some sort, carrying out their maker’s work in order to rid the planet of this evil infestation.
Why do they travel in a pack of three?
As shown in the series, whenever the beasts appear to track down their next victim, they appear in a pack of three.
Speaking to Soompi, director Yeon Sang-ho explained why the monsters travel in a group of three: “The reason they stick together is that I think lynching is a horror keyword. For lynching that’s done to few people, I thought about how many people would be necessary for it to feel like a group, and I thought three was enough.”
Lynching is traditionally related to public execution by a group, used to punish and intimidate the victim, and this technique is what inspired the director to make the emissaries of Hell a trio.
The Arrowhead Cult and the New Truth Society
Hellbound features two opposing organizations that each have their own fascination with the monsters from Hell.
The New Truth Society has an informative approach to their study of the monsters, by documenting their appearances and trying to work out why these beasts appear and why certain people are chosen to go to Hell.
The Arrowhead Cult, on the other hand, are violent and self-indulgent, almost acting as an antogonistic extension of the beasts to project fear onto terrified citizens. The cult is run by the titular Arrowhead and the organization is an interesting creation to showcase the evil that humans are capable of, despite being surrounded by beasts from Hell.
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