Asia might be a little behind Hollywood in matters of horror or movies in general but unlike the United States, we have some very interesting plotlines and pop lore of our own. One such film industry that has excelled at the art is the Japanese film industry. So take a look at some of the scariest Japanese films made till date.
1. Suicide Circle
Known as the Suicide Club outside Japan, Suicide Circle is an indie horror movie, released in 2001. Directed by Sion Sono, the movie revolves around multiple suicides being investigated by a detective named Kuroda. The movie has received international fame for its extreme gory representation and exceptionally controversial theme. The movie begins with a mass 54-person suicide when school girls jump in front of a train.
Fans of the Hollywood horror genre will know about this as the original Grudge movie. It is directed by Takashi Shimizu, who later went on to direct its English remake, The Grudge. Set in a classic horror film background, it is about a family moving into a new house, where a gruesome murder had taken place previously. The family finds itself possessed and influenced by the spirits in the house. The sheer feeling of being trapped in a haunted house whose evil will follow you wherever you go sets you for two hours of bone-chilling horror.
Directed by Tsuruta Norio, the film is based on the Manga comics by Kiro Tsunoda. Like the name suggests, the movie deals with the one’s power to predict or see the future in some way or the other. The plot revolves around Hideki and his wife Ayaka. All goes to shit when Ayaka while returning with his family from a vacation finds a newspaper clipping with the news of his daughter’s death by an accident. Moments later, the car in which her daughter is seated in, is crushed by a speeding truck. And thus the movie begins.
4. Teke Teke
A young lady finds out the about the evil that had taken her friend’s life in a gruesome manner. The urban legend that went by the name of Teke Teke talks about a woman with no legs. When she visits the spot that her friend in, she comes in contact with Teke Teke, but managed to escape narrowly. However, she finds out that the legend proclaims her death in 3 days.
A detective by the name of Yoshioka is sent to investigate the murder of an unknown woman in a red dress, who had been drowned. He starts looking for clues, only to find that they all point towards himself. His fingerprints are found on her body, while a button found at the scene of the murder is the one missing from his court. A few days later the woman in the red dress appears to him and screws his life up. If this premise did not peak your interest, understand this that this is just another textbook horror, this is like being stuck in a limbo of horrifying incidents that make you want to kill yourself but the devil doesn’t allow you to.
A famous actress Miyuki Goto plays the protagonist in a play based on a ghost story. She also managed to get her boyfriend cast in the movie. Meanwhile, the other performers Rio and Jun are attracted to Miyuki. However, both of them cannot differentiate between love on and off the screen and this leads of blurring of reality. When it becomes clear that the love wasn’t meant to be, it turns into a grudge match that levels the entire concept of humanity.
Most of us have seen The Ring and we have loved it. Well, few of us know that the English version was a remake of the Japanese movie, Ringu. Directed by Hideo Nakata, Ringu is a psychological horror film, released in 1998. The plot revolves around a reporter Reiko, who finds herself at the receiving end o a VHS tape, which curses you to die within 7 days of watching it.
Kirie one day, observes her boyfriend’s father videotaping a snail. He takes no notice of her but she doesn’t mind. However, a few days later, he develops an obsession with spirals and commits suicide inside a washing machine, where his body turns into a spiral. Days later, other inhabitants of the town also get infected with the obsession.
The story begins when a young couple is kidnapped off the street after having their first date. They wake up shackled to a basement where a man sadistically tortures them, mutilates them and then rapes them one by one forcing the other to watch. The man, who seems to be without purpose, sometimes stops to provide medical care for them. If you are a fan of blood and gore, this is a must watch for you.
250 years ago in Japan, Soetsu was a moneylender who was killed by a Samurai by the name of Shinzaemon. His body had been dumped in the Kasenga-Fuchi river. However, fate makes Shinkichi, Shinaemon’s son and Soetsu’s daughter Toyoshiga fall in love. Shit hits the fan when they realise, the spirit of Soetsu is very much alive and pissed AF.
11. Shibuya Kaidan
People in horror movies never seem to watch horror movies themselves. This is exactly why a group of young people decide to test the legend of a coin locker in a train station. What happened next was that they started dying one by one in horrifying ways.
12. Noriko no Shokutaku
A teenage girl runs away from her home to meet internet sensation Kumiko. She becomes involved with Kumiko and her family, which takes a dark turn after the mass suicide of 54 high school girls.
Dr Hattori and her husband watch CCTV footage of brain surgery experiments on guinea pigs which had been found in the basement of a hospital. They turn around to see their kids, Miyuki and Kaori staring at the light. Years later Miyuki disappear. While, her sister Kaori, with the help of Motojima and detective Hirasawa, are looking for her, we find out that Miyuki, along with the other kids had been experimented on by Dr Hattori with undesirable results.
14. Ju-Rei: The Uncanny
This has a similar premise as the Ring. Japanese schoolgirls start dying after seeing a man in a hood. The movie is promising and is sure to keep you hooked till the end. Think of this as Final Destination, with a twist of The Ring.
A small town in Japan faces the urban legend of a woman with a slit mouth. The woman is intent on kidnapping the children for reasons unknown, The story is based on an urban legend where a Samurai sees his wife cheating on her and slits her mouth open. The woman is a regular feature in Japanese pop culture, where she is seen with a surgical mask on her face. The people she meets are asked if she is beautiful. If they say yes, she opens her mask and says “even like this” before killing them.
The story is set in a classic cursed object premise, where hair extensions come to life and start haunting the people who wear them. The movie starts when customs department seized a bag full of human hair along with the body of a shaved woman, whose organs had been harvested. Everyone who uses the hair extensions taken from such victims is then haunted by the spirits of these women.
17. Tsumetai Nettaigyo
Syamoto lives with his second wife and his daughter from the first wife in an unhappy home. When his teenage daughter is caught shoplifting, he and his wife go over to the shop to resolve the issue. However, a man and his wife help them with the case and offer them to let the daughter work in their fish store, to which Syamoto agrees. When all seemed too well, Syamoto starts doubting and finds out the horrific truth about the couple.
18. Tales of Terror from Tokyo and All Over Japan: The Movie
You guessed it from the name. Well, the movie is about 8 stories, Yakei no hôkokusho (The Night Watchman), Zan’en (Wisps of Smoke), Tebukuro (Gloves), Omoi~tsu! (The Weight), Sugatami (Full-Length Mirror), Shisen (Line of Sight), Yakusoku (The Promise) and Hisao. The movie comes in 8 episodes of continuous terror that is bound you give you all kinds of nightmares.
19. Kuroyuri Danchi
Asuka and her family have just moved in into a new complex. On her very first night in the building, she wakes up due to a strange scratching noise from the apartment of her neighbour. When she tried to investigate, she finds out the old man had died from malnutrition. Whats worse was that he had been trying to claw his way into her room.
The 1964 classic was so good that it had been nominated for the Oscars. The film revolves around 4 different stories, “Black Hair”, “The Woman in the Snow”, “Hochi the Earless” and “In a Cup of Tea”.
You will never be on the internet the same way after watching this horror flick. The movie is about two groups that find out evidence that point out to the theory that spirits could be trying to invade the human world, through the internet.
22. Koroshiya 1
From legendary Japanese filmmaker, Takashi Mike comes this gory gem. When a yakuza enforcer comes to the city searching for his missing boss, he finds himself across Ichi, a repressed psychotic murderer who is capable of inflicting pain that is only heard in stories.
Shigeharu Aoyama is a widower that grieves the loss of his wife and raises his son Shigehiko Aoyama alone. A few years later, when his son is grown up, he wants him to remarry and manages fake a movie project to get the one his father likes. However, the one, Shigeharu loves is not what she appears to be.
24. Dark Water
Following her victory in the court, leading to her starting a new life with her daughter, Yoshimi moves into a new apartment. But her apartment is always dripping with water. Huge stains start to show up on the ceiling and after the landlord refuses to help her, she decides to find the origin of the water.
A freelance cameraman obsessed with fear and its origins investigates an urban legend that haunts the subways of Tokyo. Things go to shit when he finds a young naked woman on the subway and brings her home.
So sleep with your lights on, maybe?