“Mugunghwa kkoci pieot seumnida.” If you watched smash-hit Netflix series Squid Game in its original Korean audio, the singsong-y chant in the first episode – and the first violent game – has probably haunted your sleep. (The English dub just wasn’t quite as scary.)
And this morning a giant replica of the pigtailed doll with motion-detecting eyes arrived in Sydney, almost out of nowhere. But it thankfully won’t be gunning down players … at least, we don’t think it will.
The 4.5-metre version of the doll has popped up north of the Overseas Passenger Terminal in The Rocks as a Halloween installation. It was officially commissioned by Netflix, and will stick around until night falls on Monday November 1.
It weighs three tonnes, and just like the doll from the series, it can turn its head and chant “red light, green light”. It’s even flanked by guards in pink jumpsuits and masks.
Enter the arena to take part in a less deadly version of the classic children’s game. Players will be asked to check in via QR codes and show proof of vaccination (or medical exemption). It follows the same rules as the series – run during green light, pause at red light, and hope you don’t get caught moving – with added social distancing. Players who break the rules will be eliminated (well, just asked to leave).
The animatronic doll’s design in the show was based on Younghee, a prominent female character in Korean textbooks from the 1970s and ’80s. Younghee was often accompanied by Cheolsoo, and together were the Korean equivalent of Jack and Jill.
Squid Game is Netflix’s most-watched series to date, hitting number one in 94 countries after more than 142 million households around the world tuned in.
And the craze has swept Sydney: Korean-owned restaurant [Burger Patch] has been serving a menu inspired by the popular series, and been playing safe versions of the games in-store. Until November 5, it’s making dalgona candy – the flat honeycomb with shaped imprints – for you to chip away at, with a prize if you can finish it within 10 minutes.