Horror movies

Popular Japanese Horror Films to Chill and Thrill

Japanese horror, or J Horror, has become part of the pop culture. It is widely recognized for its spine-chilling storylines, with the occasional Western influence.

Japanese horror movies tend to concentrate on the psychological aspects of horror, contributing to build-up of tension toward the climax. The plot can involve almost anything—folktales, exorcism, ghosts, precognition, and a wide array of supernatural beings. Classic Japanese horror, also known as kaidan, can be traced to the Edo Meiji Period. “Kaidan” is a kanji word with two components: “kai” meaning strange, mysterious; and “dan” which means talk or recited narrative.

Some of the scariest Japanese horror movies:


Ringu, 1998. Lauded as the highest grossing horror film in Japan (12 billion yen!), the story is about a cursed videotape that kills those who watch it unless they show it to someone else.The dramatic scenes are packed with suspense and scary visual effects. The movie is based on a best-selling novel by Koji Suzuki, who is hailed for single-handedly raising the bar in horror films in Japan. In 2002, Ringu was made into a Hollywood movie entitled “The Ring,” which also became a hit.


Audition, 1999. A cult classic by director Takashi Miike. It’s a psychological horror film based on a Ryu Murakami novel. It centers on a middle-aged widower who is convinced by his son to start dating again. He becomes attracted to a former ballerina, who turns out to be a lunatic who tries to kill him and his son.


Uzumaki, 2000. A sort of Japanese-style Tim Burton film. Uzumaki means “spiral.” The film focuses on the paranormal, with spirits appearing in a town in the form of vortexes and swirls, and threatenening to take over humanity. It is based on Junji Ito’s manga comics of the same name.

Horrors of Malformed Men

Horrors of Malformed Men, 1969 – this belongs to the erotic-grotesque sub-genre and is directed by Teruo Ishii. More notable cinematic productions, with various influences ranging from notable author Rampo to butoh, a diverse dance technique. The story revolves around a disfigured scientist who creates an army of half-human hybrids against the “normal” population.

People fled from the theaters in disgust when it was first released, but is considered a haunting and dream-like theater experience. In 2007, Horrors of Malformed Men was mass released in the United States and Canada.