7 Horror Anime That Are So Good It’s Scary

Everyone loves a good sequel, right? Scary movies do ’em all the time. So I figured, why can’t I do the same with an episode of  The Dan Cave? With Nerdoween, our monthlong celebration all things spooky and scary, in full effect, I wanted to revisit one of my favorite episodes from last year with a follow-up. On today’s episode of The Dan Cave, we’re rounding up some of the very best horror anime that will scare you silly this Halloween.

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Corpse Party

Image: Maiden Japan

While this sounds like the long-awaited Weekend at Bernie’s anime adaptation, it’s actually something far darker. When a group of nine high school students gather to bid their friend a fond farewell, they accidentally awaken an ancient curse connected to the decrepit elementary school buried beneath their high school. You know, the one where all those grisly murders happened? Yeah, that one! This is basically an animated slasher movie as these poor kids have to escape their school or else face an eternity of damnation, torment, and murder… which is how I felt about having to take the SAT IIs.

Yami Shibai: Japanese Ghost Stories

Image: Sentai Filmworks

Everyone loves a good urban legend, and in Yami Shibai we see all manner of creepy, crawly Japanese ghost stories brought to life in all their sickening glory. If you like your scares without a heaping helping of unnecessary gore and violence, but still want to be thoroughly creeped out, then this is absolutely the show for you.

Pet Shop of Horrors

Image: Sentai Filmworks

What is it about buying mysterious pets from archaic shops in Chinatown? It didn’t end well in Gremlins and it certainly doesn’t end well in Pet Shop of Horrors. (To be fair, it’s right there in the title.) This eponymous pet shop will sell you all types of rare critters, but there’s a catch: if you break one of the rules they lay out at the time of purchase, your chances of winding up dead increase exponentially. Now it’s up to a homicide detective to try and figure out how these seemingly random strangers died and their connection to said pet shop. It’s kind of like Rex Banner trying to find the Beer Baron on The Simpsons, but way more murdery.

Vampire Hunter D

Image: Asahi Sonorama/Yoshitaka Amano

This is the D you’ve been waiting for. This is the D that your body craves. This is the D that takes place in a far-flung, post-nuclear hellscape where vampires, werewolves, and all manner of things that go bump in the night reign supreme. With gorgeous designs by Yoshitaka Amano, a weird talking hand, and an excellent mix of violence, gore, and creepiness, Vampire Hunter D is the real D, by which I mean “deal,” as in “you won’t be able to deal with how rad this anime is.” And that statement applies to both the 1985 anime OVA and its 2000 sequel, Bloodlust.

Deadman Wonderland

Image: Funimation

When Ganta Igarashi’s school class is en route to a prison amusement park called Deadman Wonderland, they all wind up brutally murdered, save for Ganta himself. But then again, Deadman Wonderland isn’t your average theme park; it’s a place where convicts are made to perform all manner of dangerous deeds for the visitors’ pleasure. Instead of getting detention, Ganta gets framed for their murder and imprisoned in Deadman Wonderland, where he is forced to compete in a series of deadly games in order to clear his name. If you thought your high school experience was bad, then just wait ’til you see what Deadman Wonderland has in store.

Tokyo Ghoul

Image: Funimation

Life in the big city can be a scary proposition, but it can be even scarier if you live in the Tokyo of Tokyo Ghoul because that city is overrun by creatures known as ghouls that pretend to be humans so they can feed their need for sweet, delicious human flesh. When a shy college student named Ken Kaneki gets attacked by a ghoul, he winds up becoming a half-ghoul, half-human hybrid and must learn to live in both worlds. It’s creepy, it’s bloody, and it’s ghoulishly fun. Just be careful what you eat while you’re watching.

Death Note

Image: Viz Media

“Dear diary, today I wrote someone’s name down in my notebook and then they straight-up died!” That’s basically the logline of Death Note, a creepy occult thriller about a genius high school student named Light Yagami who discovers a cursed notebook called the Death Note. It allows the owner to kill anyone in the world, provided they know the name and face of the target, simply by writing their name within its pages. What follows is a teenager playing judge, jury, and executioner as he elevates himself to the position of a living god while a detective from Interpol races against time in a desperate bid to stop him. It’s more cat-and-mouse suspense than out-and-out frightfest, but it is well worth your time this Nerdoween for a twisting, turning story of twisted morality and murders most foul. 

What are your favorite horror anime? Let us know in the comments below!

More thrills and chills await you…

Welcome to Nerdoween! Throughout the month of October, we’ll be celebrating everything spooky, macabre, and just plain weird. Nerdoween 2017 is presented by  Alpha, our interactive membership service, which offers you exclusive content from Nerdist and Geek & Sundry, as well as a 10% discount on all of our merch.

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Dan Casey is the senior editor of Nerdist and the author of books about  Star Wars and  the Avengers. Follow him on Twitter ( @DanCasey).

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