Ghouls, Vampires, and Curses, oh my! Japanese horror anime is full of all three. Check out these 5 intensely creepy shows if you want a scare!

Eerie cemetery full of horror stories
Eerie cemetery full of horror stories

Japanese horror always seems to hit differently than any other horror out in the world. Whether it has an overload of gore, or just a simple, terrifying myth, there is always a captivating story associated with it. And horror anime gets more creative in the story-telling. Keep a light source nearby while watching these five creepy anime series.

Yamishibai

Yamishibai cover for seasons 1 and 2 - anime horror
Yamishibai cover for seasons 1 and 2

Yamishibai is by far the scariest anime I have ever watched. The animation differs from standard anime because the artist draws it like paper puppets, which gives it a creepier edge. There are 7 seasons with 13 episodes each. However, the seasons fly by because each episode is a max of 4 minutes long.

This horror anime is a compilation of Japanese urban legends and myths. Some episodes are predictable, given the title and the length, and they have to cut to the chase. The predictability, though, creates the tension and thrill factor.

Every time I watch this series, I sleep with the light on. I have found that the odd-numbered seasons are the scary ones, while the even-numbered seasons are just interesting, more than anything.

Available on www.crunchyroll.com and Anime Tube Unlimited App (Microsoft only)

When They Cry

Twins, Mion and Shion from When They Cry - anime horror
Twins, Mion and Shion from When They Cry

When They Cry is a fantastic horror anime. The concept behind this one is the horror factor. What’s interesting about the concept of When They Cry is how the story is told. Every four to six episodes, the timeline will completely reset to tell another character’s tale.

The plot of When They Cry centers on the curse of Oyashiro, in the village of Hinamizawa. Oyashiro is the village’s tutelary deity, and the curse will always end in bloodshed, as will each set of episodes.

I randomly stumbled upon this anime years ago, and I have loved it ever since. All 26 episodes tie in at the very end, in a well-written way. There are several protagonists and I remember being very confused after the first gruesome reset, but that’s what kept me hooked.

Available on Hulu and Anime Tube Unlimited App (Microsoft only)

Corpse Party Tortured Souls

Terrified student witnessing the non-stop horror in Corpse Party: Tortured Souls
Terrified student witnessing the non-stop horror in Corpse Party: Tortured Souls

If you want a horror anime full of gore and terror that won’t drag out, then watch Corpse Party: Tortured Souls. Corpse Party is only 4 episodes long, with each episode lasting 30 minutes. This anime is also based on a Japanese video game! I would not say it’s scary, but it is very shocking and messed up.

This gruesome anime begins with a group of friends performing a harmless ritual after school to say farewell to one of them who is moving away. This brings forth an earthquake, and it transports them to their school in a different, darker world. It separates them in what seems like different time portions that are all happening at once, which adds to the horror.

I truly enjoy Corpse Party: Tortured Souls. This is a very well done anime with so few episodes. There are several twists that will keep you guessing at every turn and the shock factor alone is a reason to give it a watch.

Available on Anime Tube Unlimited App (Microsoft only)

Shiki

Vampire attack in Shiki
Vampire attack in Shiki

The thing that grabbed my attention about Shiki was the art style of how creepy the humanoid creatures are drawn. The pitch black eyes with blood red pupils pulled me into this petrifying show. They look like classic vampires and are described as having an insatiable taste for human blood, yet it does not reveal them as vampires.

Shiki begins in a small village that seems to have a curse fall upon them as many villagers drop like flies from an unknown illness. They show symptoms of not caring about their lives anymore and descending into an untimely death. A new family moves in just before the deaths begin. As the village doctor drives himself mad trying to make a connection, the village priest befriends an odd little girl that can only appear at night.

Available on Hulu and Anime Tube Unlimited App (Microsoft only)

Parasyte: The Maxim

Parasite transformation in Parasyte: The Maxim
Parasite transformation in Parasyte: The Maxim

Parasyte: The Maxim is hard for me to describe because of how amazing it is. The story is incredibly captivating, as are all the characters. This anime knows how to capture its audience in every way, including the opening theme song: Let Me Hear by Fear, and Loathing in Las Vegas. Each time I turn on this anime, I never skip the opening.

Parasyte is about a timid young man who winds up sharing his body with an outer world inhabitant, otherwise known as Migi. The alien parasite is meant to reach Shinichi’s brain and take over completely. However, there’s a complication and Migi ends up being Shinichi’s right arm. There are some comedic moments, which balance out the devastating ones.

I consider this anime more of a science fiction horror because of the alien aspect of it. There are some horrific scenes, such as the parasites that have consumed a person’s brain fully, and split their head in several sections to reveal horrifying blades.

Available on Hulu, www.crunchyroll.com, and Anime Tube Unlimited App (Microsoft only)


Have you watched these five creepy animes? Are there any others that you would add to this list? Leave a comment below!