February 24, 2023

"Her pain will turn to poison in your blood..." - UMMA (2022)
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Our WOMEN IN HORROR MONTH Celebration continues with a look at IRIS K. SHIM's film UMMA.

In UMMA, a Korean-American woman living on an isolated farm with her teenage daughter has her world turned upside down when the ashes of her abusive mother are delivered for her to bury. The longer she resists giving her Umma her final respects, the angrier Umma's spirit becomes.

At first glance, UMMA is a straightforward ghost/possession story that plays with the universal fear of becoming one's parents.

But lurking underneath is a complex spiderweb of generational trauma, the cycle of abuse and the uniquely Korean cultural syndrome known as Hwa-Byung.

To help me navigate these dark and dangerous waters, I am delighted to have two very special guests: author and actor RORY KELSCH ("I Am Strength: Tales of Everyday Superwomen") and actor, singer and activist ERIN QUILL ("Avenue Q", "The Mikado Project).

UMMA is currently available on Netflix.


For more information about Hwa-Byung Syndrome, check out this article from Exploring Your Mind.

To learn more about Korean Comfort Women, this article from The New Yorker is a great place to start.

Watch Dr. Steven Schlozman's TEDTalk on "What Horror Movies Teach Us About Ourselves and Being Human."

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Rory KelschProfile Photo

Rory Kelsch

Actor | Writer | Storyteller | Mom

RORY KELSCH is a writer, actor, and storyteller. She has performed original CNF at Woodstock Bookfest Storyslams, Generation Women, and with What's Your Story NJ? an intimate, fun night of backyard storytelling she co-produces in Northern NJ. “Speak your truth, strengthen community, and engage in the hilarious and healing power of stories." Her writing is featured in Pendemic: Writing the Current Plague (pendemic.me), The Daily Drunk (thedailydrunk.com) and in the anthology, I Am Strength: True Stories of Everyday Superwomen (Alyssa Waugh, Editor. Blind Faith Books). Rory has appeared in some TV commercials and Off-Broadway. She’s also worked as a server, bartender, caterer, babysitter, dogwalker, receptionist, cpr instructor, building superintendent, cheesemonger, oyster shucker, carpet-cleaning customer service representative, home decor sales rep, special events project manager, box office clerk—once for BabyGap, and she still has nightmares—and tour guide. Oh and there’s a pretty good marriage and 2 reasonably happy kids in there …somewhere.

Erin QuillProfile Photo

Erin Quill

General Pain in the Ass

Erin Quill is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon. She is a Dual Citizen of Australia and the USA. She was an OBC member of TONY Award-winning musical, AVENUE Q. Other shows include DAVE, FLOWER DRUM SONG, KING & I, and so on. TV/Film include: Law & Order SVU, HBO's The Other Two, HBO's Pretty Little Liars Original Sin, Netflix's John Mulaney and the Sacklunch Bunch, CBS's The Blacklist, The Following, Showtime's Nurse Jackie, Damages S2, and many more. Currently, her short film, Queen Bessie's Gal, which was a piece of a larger project called ENTANGLEMENT, has been a film festival fave, including making it into the Cannes Film Festival, amongst over 30 others. She has also written the screenplay for THE MIKADO PROJECT, and the blog Fairy Princess Diaries, which gets her into constant trouble. She has a piece in the book, RISE: A history of Asian American Pop Culture from the 90's to now, and Theatre Blogging: The Emergence of a Critical Culture