People have always been inexplicably drawn to the bad, the terrible, and the grotesque. So, there is no wonder that psychological horror movies and serial killers on murder sprees are some of the favorite topics of movies and series worldwide. Due to this reason, the television mini-series The Raincoat Killer: Chasing a Predator in Korea became quite popular after it was released in 2021.
The Terror of Seoul
In this article, we will extensively analyze The Raincoat Killer documentary and give you a rundown of everything you should know about it.
This true crime docu-series recounts the interesting story of Yoo Young Chul, who committed a series of serial murders in South Korea, and the police investigation that followed it. The series mainly focuses on the psychological profiling of the murderer and also dramatizes some of the events. It even features a voice recording of Yoo Young Chul in the episodes!
- Director: John Choi, Rob Sixsmith
- Writers: Nicolina Lanni, Rob Sixsmith, Conal Whyte
- Cast: [Plays themselves]
- Kim Hee Sook (Forensic Officer of Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency), Park Myung Sun (Team Leader of the Mobile Investigation unit), Kwon Il Yong (Criminal profiler)
- Genre: True Crime, Documentary, Serial killings
- IMDb rating: 6.4/10
- Rotten Tomatoes rating: 70% (Average Audience Score)
- Duration: Three Episodes (45+ minutes each)
Questions you have about this documentary series
A prolific killer raises a lot of questions in the minds of the common people. Read on to resolve all your doubts that have arisen before or after watching the documentary, The Raincoat Killer: Chasing a predator in Korea.
What is this documentary about?
As mentioned earlier, the docu-series recounts the crimes of the serial killer Yoo Young Chul who was active in Seoul in the early 2000s. He is the most notorious and infamous serial murderer and prolific killer in South Korea, who murdered people during the time between September 2003 and the July of the year 2004.
The ten months had terrorized the people of Seoul, and the method of the murders had chilled the Korean citizens to their bones. The docu-series followed Yoo Young Chul, his criminal profiling, and his subsequent apprehension after the investigation.
It records whatever happened in 2004 as honestly as it can, but of course, there has been a slight dramatization of events under cinematic liberty.
Why is he called the ‘Raincoat killer’?
Yoo Young Chul got famous as the ‘raincoat killer’ in the media and with the public after footage of him aired. In the footage, he was wearing a yellow raincoat as he showed the police where he had buried his victims.
Who were his target demographic?
“Women shouldn’t be sluts, and the rich should know what they’ve done.”
– Yoo Young Chul.
The South Korean serial killer started his career in murder with the butchering of wealthy elderly people. He sneaked into the luxurious homes of the older people and killed them, making it look like a break in-robbery. His main target area was the upscale Seoul neighborhood. He followed in the footsteps of Jeong Du-Yeong, who also killed the rich.
Later, he started targeting sex workers. There was a parlor that had a back room that acted as a prostitution house. Yoo used to call them to his apartment and then murder them in the bathroom. This shows that the notorious man preyed on the weak and knew which people he could target and get away with.
He went after older adults who would not be capable of defending themselves physically. He also targeted poor women engaged in prostitution as they belonged to the lowest rungs of society. People would not pay much attention to their disappearance.
How did the Raincoat killer murder his victims?
This predator in Korea attacked and murdered with the help of his hammer. He had custom-made the hammer to fit his hand’s grip perfectly. (Talk about a villainous Thor Odinson, right?)
He bashed the heads of the sex workers after having his way with them. Incidentally, he committed the first kill of his life with the help of his knife. First, he stabbed an elderly couple and killed them.
But then he bludgeoned their dead bodies with a hammer. After that, he must have decided to cut on his trouble and did the original killings with his hammer itself.
How did he get rid of the bodies?
The way he disposed of the bodies of his victims was grotesque, to say the least. First, he used axes and knives to mutilate the bodies and cut them into pieces. Then he used scissors to skin off the tips of their fingers to remove fingerprints in case their bodies were ever found.
There hasn’t been any substantial proof, but there has been a wide claim that he even indulged in cannibalism. (Honestly, it is believable after everything that came to light about him.)
He then packed the pieces of the dead bodies with fermented kimchi (to hide the smell) in a garbage bag and threw them from a mountaintop.
How many murders did the Raincoat killer commit?
In the ten months when he was active, his body count was not less than 20. The police found the remains of 11 bodies from beneath the mountain in the Bongwon temple area.
After getting arrested, Yoo initially confessed to 19 murders and later admitted to another one. He was finally convicted of killing 20 people. However, he has been widely known to claim the murder of 26 people.
Often termed as motiveless crimes, why did he actually do it?
The raincoat killer was a new breed of killer. The authorities often termed it as crimes without motive since none of the victims had any connection with each other. Even Yoo had no previous personal connection with even a single victim.
Nothing was ever taken from the wealthy homes he entered and ravaged. This poses the question that has often troubled psychologists.
Was all of this just a consequence of his background and upbringing? Does society’s lack of nurturing ability turn underprivileged, disturbed kids into serial killers?
The early life of Yoo Young Chul:
Yoo grew up in rural South Korea in a poor household in Gochang County. Due to a lack of proper guidance, he grew up to be a very embittered and resentful man who decided to blame the wealthy for all his problems. He was arrested several times for petty theft and even served in prison for three and a half years after raping a girl.
While in prison, his hatred and contempt for the rich just grew, and he made plans to follow in the footsteps of Jeong Du-Yeong, another serial killer who targeted the rich in Busan. After his wife divorced him, he channeled his hate toward women, and his misogyny surfaced.
He morally condemned female sex workers as he believed young women should not be engaged in prostitution. To prove his point, he called prostitutes into his room, and then Yoo Young Chul hammered their heads until they died.
What happened in the investigation? Was he ever caught?
In July 2004, he was finally arrested for the murders. However, just six months back, he was also arrested in January 2004 for stealing. In the initial part of the investigation, the police avoided using the term ‘serial killer.’ They were willing that it would turn out to be just a series of different robberies gone bad.
But then, once a shoe print was found to be common at the crime scenes, the notion of a serial killer roaming in their midst could not be avoided. There was no apparent or solid motive behind the murders, which made it very difficult for the investigators to zero in.
After the series of elderly murders, the cops made the CCTV footage of the alleged killer public, which led to a stop to the murders. However, it also had a bad effect in that the murderer became more difficult to catch.
Incidentally, this was when Yoo decided to switch to killing female sex workers. Then, the police laid a trap in a brothel and finally apprehended him.
How did Yoo escape?
When they caught him, it turned out the man did not match their criminal profiling. He was educated and had good manners. However, he confessed to all the murders in an offhanded way and even took them to the wrong house.
This made the police doubt if they had even caught the right man and whether this wasn’t some crazy person obsessed with the case. In reality, the cunning raincoat killer had hoped exactly for this effect to escape.
Chul faked having a seizure and got out of handcuffs as, by now, the police were almost convinced that they got the wrong guy. Chul escaped. This shone a bad light on the South Korean police. However, he was soon caught again, and after some time, even his hammer was recovered, which provided substantial proof of him being the actual serial killer.
Is he still alive?
This self-confessed cannibal had cast fear in the heart of Seoul for close to a year. Currently, he is rotting in jail and is a death row inmate at Seoul Detention Centre.
The psychologist had given an official statement that the accused seemed to have an anti-social disorder but was, in no way, mentally ill. This means while doing all the murders and rapes; he was perfectly aware of the fact that what he was doing was wrong.
Where is this crime documentary series streaming?
“The Raincoat killer” documentary is true crime docu-series has been streaming on Netflix since 2021. It is another attempt of Netflix to capture the audience’s attention by bringing engrossing cases to the forefront.
What does this adaptation mainly deal with?
This Netflix adaptation focuses on the criminal profilers, the investigators, and the cops who finally brought Yoo in. It features interviews with them and shows their thought processes.
What other movies/ series has this serial killer inspired?
Before this 2021 Netflix true crime docu-series, the story of the raincoat killer was portrayed in the 2008 feature film Chaser. The story of Yoo loosely inspired it. This story was even included in the K-drama Taxi Driver.
Another South Korean tv series called Through the Darkness or Those Who Read Hearts of Evil premiered in 2022. The first criminal profiler of Korea – Kwon Il Yong, wrote a book on the investigation of this case with the help of a journalist. This 2018 book is what this new series is based on.
Behind the scenes of this series
This is not Netflix’s first dabble at serial killer docu-series. Other popular ones have been the Burari House, Dahmer, etc. However, The documentary intentionally or unintentionally points out the incompetence of the cops and how they botched the investigation for some time. After getting arrested, the infamous man said to the press,
“I did it to kill society. When I came to the bitter realization that money was all that mattered, I thought of myself as enforcing the very punishment myself.”
John Choi and Rob Sixsmith decided to interview those who were in direct contact with the entire investigation, like the lead criminal profiler, victims’ family members, the lawyers from both sides (prosecution and Yoo), etc.
In an interview, Sixsmith was asked why he decided to make this docu-series. He replied,
“I don’t think there’s anywhere else in the world that does the thriller better than Korea […] We could try and use that sort of inherent concept of the thriller that already exists [in Korea to] create, then turn it to our users in terms of documentary and allow us to discuss bigger themes as well.”
This raincoat killer series is the first-ever Netflix documentary focusing on true Korean crime. Sixsmith says that one of the many reasons this particular case holds importance is that it is one of the few cases in the world where the killer changes his victimology midway.
He switches from the rich and elderly to young female sex workers. He also touched on the subject of the class divide of the vulnerable. It is the reason why so many prostitute disappearances went unnoticed before Yoo made a slip and made a call from the phone of a dead girl.
On why he decided to make the series in a format of direct interviews, he said –
“It’s very important for us that it was a first-person narrative, that it felt like it was these people telling their story. I feel that once you enforce a third-person narrative […] you’re making pronouncements and you’re making moral and editorial judgments and I don’t feel that that’s our thing to do; that’s not our place to do that.”
The fans of the docu-series and what they are saying
True crime fans of “The Raincoat killer” documentary have lapped up the series and have given glowing reviews. However, critics have turned down their noses at some of the shoddy work done by the police. If they had been more efficient, maybe a few more lives could have been saved.
Some good reviews about the series:
South Korea is putting in some fire content on Netflix I must say. 1st it was Squid Games, and now its this Raincoat Killer documentary 🔥🔥
— Bonga (@_Bonga) October 25, 2021
An overview of Prof Kwon Ilyong profiling w/c we may find references for #ThroughTheDarkness . The Raincoat Killer : Chasing a Predator in Korea is available on Netflix#KIMNAMGIL said that Prof Ilyong religiously visited the filming site as the overall advisor of the drama pic.twitter.com/z9AoTiAksH
— KIMNAMGIL우주최강배우 (@KimNamGilStory) January 11, 2022
The raincoat killer on Netflix is a good one if you like murder documentaries 👌🏻
— (◠‿◠✿) (@claridodi) November 5, 2021
The fans have criticized the police:
watching the raincoat killer on netflix. it's terrible, cheap, & exploitative but also compulsively watchable because it features the worst police work i've ever seen, narrated by those same police who seem unaware they suck
— clothilde (@_cynar) October 23, 2021
Watching the raincoat killer on netflix rn and while I hate him, I also can’t stand that police officer who kicked one of the victim’s mother on her chest. Like wth is that?? And he seemed to not see what’s wrong with that in his interview. He only cared about his promotion
— tired 💤 (@lattebjh) October 24, 2021
The Raincoat Killer on netflix.
Quite disappointed with this crime docuseries. Missed out a lot of details such as the motive,his childhood history & his background. Byk focus naratif polis2 yg incompetent. But mad respect to the female forensic lady. pic.twitter.com/daBicxq5sn
— 咪咪🌙 (@mimiiviridae) October 29, 2021
This Raincoat Killer: Chasing a Predator in Korea review is detailed and gives you an overview of what to expect from the series. Stream it if you are a fan of crime dramas or true crime retellings!