Halloween is drawing near. And when it comes to the cinematic offerings from the world of Japanese Animation, there's plenty of spooks and scares to be found that are perfect for the season. From vampires to horrific viruses, there is an anime movie to satisfy every horror searching moviegoer.
Now with Halloween only a few days away, it seems appropriate to look through some of the scariest of anime movies. Whether they be of the traditional horror kind or some typical-unscary genre, some notable titles deserve to be a part of your spooky movie marathon. So, without further ado, here are 10 Scary Anime Movies You Should Watch This Halloween.
Calling Paprika a "scary movie" might be a stretch to some. But, if you're at all the sort of person that gets horrified by the notions of uncanny imagery, along with being stuck in an endless nightmare, then perhaps this is the creepy sort of cinema for you.
Directed by the late great Satoshi Kon, Paprika tells the story of a group of scientists that have created technology to help patients with their dreams. And if you have ever seen weird stuff during your own sleep, then it is easy to guess the visuals in this flick can at times be the stuff of true horror.
9 Spirited Away
Though most will remember Spirited Away as something more on the magical side, there is a scary undertone to this Hayao Miyazaki masterpiece. From the introduction, that features the protagonist's parents turning into pigs, to the terrifying moment of the spirit No-Face wreaking havoc upon the majestic bathhouse, this Studio Ghibli film has tons of horrific imagery.
But what is at the center of Spirited Away is a spooky quality that even the most violent anime films can't seem to grasp. Some odd designs make your mind travel to an uncomfortable place, along with bits of horrific tunes within Joe Hisashi's lush score, all that hint at the scariest thing of all within the story - the thought of growing up.
8 Blood: The Last Vampire
If you're in the mood for the more modern vampire flick, than this one has got you covered. Not only is aesthetically Blood: The Last Vampire perfect for Halloween, but it has some of the spookiest action sequences in anime - the kind that'll get your pulse racing with horror-filled glee.
From the animation masters over at Production I.G., the film tells the story of a girl named Saya - a katana-wielding hunter of a species called Chiropterans. Known to be the last remaining "original" vampire, Saya exhibits supernatural abilities that allow her to be a match against her bat-like shapeshifting foes. The movie chronicles one of her missions and the incredible lengths she'll go to finish the job - no matter what the cost.
7 Vampire Hunter D
Based on the novels by Hideyuki Kikuchi, the first animated adaptation of the Vampire Hunter D series explores all the spooks that made the books famous while adding innovative visuals and unforgettable scary sequences that would entertain horror-loving anime fans for decades to come.
The story revolves around Doris, a braid-rocking beauty who accidentally meets the evil vampire, Count Magus Lee. Leaving her to turn into a vampire slowly, Doris hires D - a mysterious sword-carrying hero who has some vampire blood in his veins - a quality that makes him a potent threat to his monster enemies. But can D save Doris from turning and marrying Magus Lee? The answer to that question is some quality entertainment for your Halloween enjoyment.
6 Wicked City
Known in anime history as the directorial debut of Yoshiaki Kawajiri (who's work will appear multiple times on this list), Wicked City has remained an anime classic since its release in 1987. And with his signature character design and storyboard work, this strange dark fantasy horror continues to shock new fans to this day.
Based on the book of the same name, Wicked City tells the story of an alternative universe - one that co-exists with the demon world, and a police group that is specially created to go up against these creatures of the night. Gross imagery, raunchy to the core, this flick works as both a perfect example of showing modern horror anime's roots, while simultaneously being a unique work in animation that no one has dared tried to replicate since.
5 Lily C.A.T.
Do you like your horror with a more sci-fi twist? Perhaps with a little bit of Ridley Scott's Alien thrown in there? Then Lily C.A.T is the anime movie for you. Directed by Hisayuki Toriumi, with monster designs by Final Fantasy artist extraordinaire, Yoshitaka Amano, Lily C.A.T might not have the most inventive plotline of all time, but it sure has some of the most ridiculous of spooky visuals.
The film revolves around a crew going off into space. Amid the group's travel and 20-year long hypersleep, a mysterious alien life form gets brought onto the ship, and if you can guess, things don't too well from there. Many poor choices are made, blood is spilled, but all the while its a good old time in ultra-violent anime outerspace.
4 Princess Mononoke
If you're one to get freaked out by the havoc wreaked upon nature, then Princess Mononoke might be the scariest film for our modern times. Sure, it features that magical bit of whimsy that the folks at Studio Ghibli are known for, but unlike Miyazaki's other work, this flick has a distinct edge of maturity and doesn't hold anything back.
Demonic creatures, mass murder, deadly curses - Princess Mononoke has a little bit of everything while also teaching a lesson that even in 2019, we need to be reminded of time and time again; that nature, when mistreated, will indeed hit back in the scariest of ways.
3 Ninja Scroll
Does the thought of demonic ninjas sound like the perfect Halloween movie to you? Then the scares and spooks of Yoshiaki Kawajiri's Ninja Scroll will do just the trick. And considering that it has been called an anime classic for over 25 years now, it'll give newer fans a bit of proper anime education, while simultaneously delivering in a deliciously sinister and spooky ninja good time.
Ninja Scroll focuses on the swordsman, Kibagami Jubei and his battles against the members of the demonic, infamous ninja group known as the Eight Devils of Kimon. Each one of these warriors are monsters in their own right, with abilities far exceeding the typical ninjas shown on film. And that fact is why this animated masterpiece lands on the list - because it offers a unique horror angle to a genre not known for having a legitimate spook factor.
2 Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
Of the two animated adaptations of Vampire Hunter D, Bloodlust is considered by many to be the best of the two. Though they both have compelling stories, it is Yoshiaki Kawajiri's take on the material that adds some of the most stunning horror visuals in animated history - while also being a fantastic horror-action adventure story that will give you the spooks and the thrills, all in one.
The plot centers around the vampire, Count Meier Link, and his human captive, Charlotte. The two are on their way to a mysterious vampire castle, with D and the Marcus Brothers following close behind them to try and save Charlotte before she comes a vampire. But there are secrets within this gothic tale - the kind that can change the dynamic of everyone involved, and make the adventure even more risky than before.
1 Perfect Blue
Sometimes the most horrific stories are those that take place in a real-world setting, and that is certainly the case when it comes to Satoshi Kon's remarkable classic, Perfect Blue. Serving as the inspiration for Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan, the film depicts the rise and fall of a J-Pop Idol and how the quest for perfection will do the most destructive of things to any individual.
From the beautifully handled tributes to Hitchcock, to the stunning animation, everything comes into play to make the result of this film one of the most haunting and disturbing in anime history. No, there are no real monsters or spooks, but the horrors on display will leave you shaking in your seats from Halloween onward.