Despite the fact that there are literally thousands of excellent horror anime episodes and films, we've chosen and selected ten of the that. There is something for every phobia here, from supernatural serial murderers to paranormal thrillers, psychological nightmares to vampiric epics. For additional top recommendations, see our list of the greatest anime ever.
10. Theatre of Darkness: Yamishibai (2013)
These episodes each last for around five minutes, but that doesn't diminish how deeply they'll penetrate your skin. If you're a fan of telling creepy campfire tales and loved shows like Goosebumps or Are You Afraid of the Dark as a child then you'll love Yamishibai. But compared to the traditional children's chillers, these ghostly stories are far more bizarre. The wonderfully animated pieces tackle a variety of horror clichés, such as eerie phone calls and the perils of isolated settlements, but do so in original and unexpected ways. The best part is that these bizarre animated urban tales already have nine seasons to keep you up at night.
Based on the Sui Ishida's manga, the sci-fi horror film Tokyo Ghoul is just as spooky as its inspiration. Kaneki is just a normal student living in a high-tech alt-reality where humans are increasingly threatened by flesh-eating "ghouls". Kaneki's life is changed by a fortuitous meeting with a "ghouls. He was killed and turned into something He must adjust to his new life and protect his human pals from what he has become after finding himself unexpectedly caught between two worlds. This is an angst-filled joyride through cannibal monsters and otherworldly threats, beautifully rendered, profoundly gloomy, and full of brutal action.
Read more: The 10 Scariest Anime Protagonists, Ranked
8. Devilman Crybaby (2018)
One of the most balls to the wall outrageous horror shows of all time, Devilman Crybaby is like nothing you've ever seen before. Adapting Go Nagai's famed manga Devilman, this gore-filled horror story is darkly humorous but never lets you escape the wrenching dread at its core. Best friends Ryo and Akira are swept into a blood-filled world of demons when the latter becomes the titular Devilman. Soon they're pitted against all kinds of chaotic creatures, but there's something rotten at the core of their friendship and this unbelievable journey will push it to its breaking point. Divisive on release but now seen as a contemporary classic, this trippy tale of friendship has one of the most shocking endings in a long time and it'll take you a while to shake it off.
7. Paranoia Agent (2004)
The first of two works by Satoshi Kon on our list, Paranoia Agent was motivated by story beats and concepts that Kon couldn't incorporate into his filmmaking, leading to the creation of this Rashomon-style series. As this once again explores some of the late auteur's favorite themes, including paranoia, the thin line separating fact and illusion, and the crushing weight of social expectations, it is an origin that makes a lot of sense. A young man attacks a woman with a golden bat to start it all off. Similar attacks and speculations as to why they are occurring soon erupt across the city. Two investigators are dragged deeper into the bizarre world of the attacker "Bat Boy" as they attempt to solve the case. and what could be driving his inexplicable crime spree.
Melding body horror with sci-fi, Parasyte is one of the most addictive horror anime on our list. Created by mangaka Hitoshi Iwaaki, the story follows 17-year-old Shinichi Izumi. His mundane life in Fukuyama, Hiroshima is upturned after an invasion of parasitic aliens targets Japan. When one of the monstrous aliens accidentally implants itself in Shinichi's hand instead of his brain, he has to learn how to share his body with his new bodily neighbor. This turn of fate ends up becoming a tool for survival as Shinichi must survive other parasites in this high school horror story that mixes coming of age with body horror and big questions about the nature of being human.
We recently highlighted the 2005 OVA Hellsing Ultimate in our best vampire anime list. But when it comes to pure horror we have to stick with this classic. In an alt-history version of England where vampires run riot, the mysterious Hellsing organization is the only line of defense against the bloodsuckers and a dangerous new substance that looks to blur the line between vampire and human once and for all. Luckily, the Hellsing organization and its leader--the daughter of the famed vampire hunter Van Helsing -- have a secret weapon, the vampire Alucard. Unforgettable and ferocious nightwalker action makes this a horror anime for the books. And if you grew up in the '90s or '00s then it'll likely also instill a hefty dose of spooky nostalgia in you.
Satoshi Kon is one of the masters of anime storytelling. And while he has made multiple classics, his haunting psychological thriller Perfect Blue is one of his most influential and impactful films. After leaving her J-Idol group to pursue her dreams of becoming an actress, singer Mima Kirigoe's life begins to fall apart. The lines between real life and fantasy begin to blur as she's stalked by a super fan and struggles to separate her idol-self from her new career. Brutally brilliant, this is a true horror of the mind that will keep you guessing until the very last moment. But beware, this is arguably the most horrific and violent entry on our list, so don't go into this one expecting anything other than a deeply troubling watch that you'll never forget.
3. Boogiepop Phantom (2000)
After a strange light appears in the sky, unexplainable events begin to plague a group of high school students in this atmospheric and entirely unique entry on our list. A sprawling ensemble story, the characters are connected together by a folkloric figure known as Boogiepop. Rumored to be the personification of death, the urban legend looms large over these bleak tales as a spate of brutal murders inspire a renewed interest in the mythic Boogiepop. Though the episodes are connected with an overarching mystery, you can enjoy it as an anthology of sorts, with each vignette drenched in creepy vibes and immaculately skin-crawling storytelling.
This time-looped variation on folk horror follows Keiichi Maebara, a young kid who lives in the idyllic-looking rural community of Hinamizawa. But there are mysterious things going on that appear to be related to an odd government endeavor. Things become progressively worse in this really violent story as Keiichi becomes more and more engaged in the mystery. You probably already like this famed anime series if you enjoy puzzle-box narrative and slasher-style killings with a hint of conspiracy. The show's 2006 version is now quite difficult to locate, however a straightforward 2020 remake is presently accessible on Hulu. You may also look at the preque if you truly like that one. the remake which came out in 2021.
There's a reason why Death Note is a classic. In this wish-fulfillment horror film, audiences are introduced to the world of Light Yagami, a brilliant kid who makes a startling and transformative discovery. Light embarks on a Nazi mission to eradicate crime after discovering the Death Note, a mystical notepad that gives him the power to kill anybody whose name he writes on its pages. As judge, jury, and executioner, Light turns into one of the scariest anime villains ever. But the intriguing and perceptive investigator known only as L is committed to figuring out the bizarre string of global fatalities that are all connected to Light. Death Note is a genuinely iconic horror anime that is a darkly enjoyable mystery that raises important concerns while remaining dependably entertaining.