35 Scariest Horror Anime To Wet Your Pants Watching (Series & Movies)This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
There’s never a bad time to check out some scary anime. Halloween might be the ideal time, but if you’re a horror fan then every day can be Halloween.
Only trouble is, which anime to watch next?
Here we’ll be going over some of the most genuinely scariest anime, be it movies or TV series, from the entire history of all of anime! Daunting, I know.
Make sure the lights are on and the attic door’s locked tight, then let’s dive right in.
Knowing humanity’s luck, Shiki is just a prediction of what is yet to come in the 2020s.
In short, an epidemic strikes and people start dying left and right. One girl in particular, Megumi, not only seemingly kicked off the whole thing, but is now also haunting our antisocial boy Natsuno Yuuki.
He and a young doctor, Toshio Ozaki, form a makeshift partnership and start looking for answers.
Let’s just say that it has something to do with vampires.
And not your Tumblr sexy edgelords, but living nightmares with fangs and a dead look that will send you packing.
34. Mi Yu Xing Zhe
A group of people wake up to find themselves on a deserted island full of diseases, and less than friendly tribes.
And no, it’s not BTOOM because they don’t have bombs, okay!
Our MC also has amnesia. Still not BTOOM.
And they have to figure out how the hell they ended up on this island and how exactly can they survive on said island.
The island survival trope is nothing new. But the mystery surrounding the whole thing is pretty intense.
And the R-rating isn’t just for show.
It’s also in Chinese, so if you’re an anime snob that will be horrific enough for you.
In terms of form, Memories is quite the oddball in the anime world.
It’s a collection of three movies that all tell different stories, even in different genres.
The only aspect that stays consistent throughout the movies is a very eerie and tense atmosphere. So it is definitely in the psychological camp of horror.
The first movie, Magnetic Rose, is by far the most interesting. It uses a very eye-catching color pallet, and the sci-fi setting of the movie fits the general narrative quite well.
This collection will hardly make you jump from fear. But it will have you on the edge of your seat as paranoia sets in.
32. Perfect Blue
This is a movie that is painfully realistic, and yet visualized as something out of this world.
The core concept is just a girl who wants to become an idol.
Things get a lot more difficult after a stalker starts breathing down her neck, and people start getting murdered for unknown reasons.
This is where the psychological horror show kicks in, as we see the lines between what’s real and what’s a delusion get blurred. And an ominous veil falls over the screen, blocking out any glimmer of optimism or happiness.
So if you like the “ye old mind coitus” treatment, this one is a must-watch.
The most important aspect of Another is its atmosphere. This is comprised of two main things: the sense of urgency, and the sense of mystery.
Because of an unknown curse, people start getting killed in every way imaginable. And usually the most grotesque ways, too.
The only way to stop the rampant death is to solve a mystery that has been long forgotten. And that’s the constant atmosphere of the show.
You never know at what point someone else is going to die. But the mystery surrounding it all just keeps slipping away.
You get the feeling that the very walls are closing in and it’s only a matter of time before they get you, too.
30. Hell Girl
Hell Girl is a show that will have you fear humans more than the literal devil.
In its universe, anyone who holds malice in their heart can access a specific site at midnight and wish for one person to be killed, no questions asked.
The only catch is, the person who made the request has to sell their soul to the devil.
It’s an episodic show so each episode tells a different story of the many people who had visited this specific site, and made sure someone had to dress in black.
The only constant is Hell Girl herself, an eerie little presence that does her job regardless of who she has to kill each time.
29. When they Cry
I’m just going to say it: do not trust the beginning of this show.
I know it looks like some ecchi show with a hint of mystery, but it is far off from mystery clubs and detective roleplay.
Every four years a murder is committed in the village of Hinamizawa. And our protagonist, Keiichi, takes a crack at the mystery.
That’s all I want to tell you regarding the plot, because believe me if you go into this show blind you will need at least three hugs a day to be able to look at another human being again.
It is absolutely insane.
It is as graphic as you can possibly get, too.
Keiichi deserved better than this, and I want to sleep tonight.
28. Corpse Party: Tortured Souls
So this is a group of four OVAs that bring you the Corpse Party goodness you felt in the games.
All together it’s about two hours long, and at least an hour and a half is filled with pure despair.
After telling some ghost stories, our characters are sucked into a world where stories are more fact than fiction.
From there on out it’s a collection of grotesque imagery, psychological trauma, and brutal murder.
Just a reminder, the protagonists are kids. So if you have a sensitive stomach be sure to skip over this one.
The world of Berserk is definitely a cruel and unforgiving one.
I’m taking particularly about the 1997 series as it is by far the best.
The later movie sequels can scratch your Berserk itch if you don’t take issue with CGI.
The very beginning of Bersek is in some ways the cruellest and most horrifying, as you’re basically going into this innocent. You can still imagine a semblance of happiness and hope.
So when it’s all taken away in one swoop, you can’t help but clench your eyes.
There is definitely enough gore and demons to justify the horror tag.
But honestly, the scariest part is the underlying psychology of that world, and perhaps our own.
26. Happy Sugar Life
This show is a bit all over the place honestly.
If you only watch certain scenes and turn away from others, it just looks like a slightly pessimistic slice of life show where the protagonist gets bullied from time to time.
And if you watch those “other” parts, you think that Yandere simulator is finally finished.
So the combination of the two is definitely not something I had originally expected. But the pure tomfoolery that is the protagonist’s mental state gives the entire show a very menacing vibe.
25. Psychic Detective Yakumo
I mean, it literally is what it is, the protagonist is called Yakumo and one of his eyes is red and allows him to talk to the dead.
It’s a very episodic show where every episode is a little ghost story that the protagonists have to crack.
However, there’s an overarching plot that moves forward with each case.
And it’s admirably complicated and unpredictable.
So if you’re a fan of ghost stories and old police dramas then this anime series should be right up your alley.
24. Mirai Nikki (Future Diary)
This is scary for one reason and one reason only, Yuno.
Like come on, I know yandere characters are unhinged. But Yuno really takes the cake when it comes to “terrifying past, terrifying present, I WILL BE YOUR FUTURE” characters.
Outside of the devil woman, it’s this battle royal type gig where the only rules that apply are to kill everyone, to not trust anyone, to not help anyone unless they’re a crybaby about it, and to not check the closet.
And by the end of the show, everything you thought you knew goes out the window.
23. Bio Hunter
A virus hits the world and everyone affected turns into a demon, void of any emotion.
Oh and this comes with a hunger for human flesh.
Our MC duo are both doctors desperately searching for the cure.
But then fate pulls a Walking Dead on them, and one of the doctors gets infected with the virus.
He doesn’t immediately turn into a blood-craving monster… so he keeps doing research, now painfully aware of the clock that’s ticking down before he loses control and devours everyone around him, even his loved ones.
22. Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
Typical to the Vampire Hunter D formula, this movie is all about violence, gore, and long action scenes.
The plot can be summarized as this:
Rich people want to get their daughter back from a vampire.
She ends up with a bit of Stockholm syndrome and now it got a bit more complicated.
That is all you really need to know plot-wise.
If you’re itching for some of that old fashioned spooky action with limbs flying everywhere then be sure to give this one a watch. Or at least bookmark it for a rainy day.
21. Kakurenbo: Hide and Seek
This twenty-five minute short takes the one fear of a children’s game and makes it into a concept.
What if you hide, but are never found?
And let’s just say that it wasn’t because the kids were just that good at hiding. There is something evil at play here.
It might not be a total gore-fest. But the mystery surrounding the disappearances, alongside the age old question of “who’s next?” make this a great quick-spook movie.
20. Seoul Station
We had to cross over into zombie territory at some point.
And where better than with the prequel, but not really, to Train to Busan?
Narrative-wise, Seoul Station is as zombie movie themed as you can get. With baddies waddling at you from all sides, society crumbling, and the everlasting question of “are my loved ones still alive and human?”
This movie in particular does some noteworthy stuff when it comes to how the zombies look. They get very creative, very creepy, and become lowkey nightmare fuel.
19. King of Thorn
Only after finishing this list did I notice how many virus-related narratives there were on here.
So yeah, a virus starts spreading throughout the world at an alarming rate. Worried that they couldn’t cure it in time and that humanity would go extinct, 160 people are frozen in capsules in order to survive.
However, the world they wake up to is far from the one they left.
They find a world where everything is overrun by thorns (hence the title) with strange beings that attack the second you start moving about.
It’s definitely a thriller at heart, with a decent amount of gore to go along with it. But absolutely worth checking out.
18. The Empire of Corpses
This one is definitely more spooky and thought provoking than it is scary.
It’s an homage to Frankenstein, but with a steampunk setting and John Watson as a character.
So even some Sherlock Holmes action here.
In the world of The Empire of Corpses, dead bodies are used as tools to do menial work.
However, what happens when one of the corpses suddenly develops a soul?
Should it be considered alive?
What is the difference between life and death anyway?
Again, it’s more on the hmm side of things, than it is in the booo category. But plenty of horrific scenes to go around.
17. Wicked City
Wicked City will make you terrified to ever sleep with a woman, I’m just putting that out there.
So, the premise goes that there exist two worlds: that of humans, and that of demons.
The two sides have formed a pack not to mess with each other’s business.
However, a small crack in that contract is formed. And all hell breaks loose as demons start wreaking havoc.
Our two protagonists, one of which is a human and the other a fever dream I once had, now have to control the situation and make sure that the contract is put into place once again.
Usually you only fear creatures like sharks in the open sea, right?
Well get ready to throw that assumption out the window.
As just like a traveling circus, they’ve arrived at a city near you.
Fifty percent fish, fifty percent machine, and one hundred percent sushi haters, these creatures have overtaken the town.
And they’re leaving the smell of an aquariums, with a hint of human blood, in their wake.
If you watched Jaws or Sharknado you might as well watch Gyo too.
15. The Junji Ito Collection
Don’t let the MAL score scare you off. The collection is based on a very successful horror manga series, and just didn’t do it justice, I guess.
But if you have not read the manga you should have no problems watching.
It’s a collection of horror stories, which vary in degree, regarding everything fear inducing.
Never-escaping nightmares, deadly curses, slugs growing in your mouth, you know the usual stuff. Basically like Twilight Zone, but scarier.
And if it doesn’t scare you, it might just make you laugh, believe me on that one.
14. Ajin: Demi-Human
Have you ever thought about how cool it would be to be immortal?
Well, have you also thought about the societal ramifications of immortality? Thought so.
Well this anime kind of answers that question as people become Ajin, immortal humans.
As you can imagine, they don’t care too much about justice since there’s no real way to punish them.
The show is psychological, action packed, the Ajin look spooky. And the CGI will scare you if nothing else will.
13. Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories
As the title would suggest, Yamishibai is a collection of Japanese ghost stories.
They are very short, only a few minutes long, and conclusive.
But they have an amazing vibe to them.
The show took an interesting approach to presenting these stories, as a character within the show is telling the story to some children.
And he’s illustrating what he says on the scrolls he has with him.
This not only makes us feel like a mere audience member (and thus are more involved) but the arty style and “slower” animation of the scrolls make for an excellent spooky atmosphere.
12. Boogiepop Phantom
“Hilarious name, terrifying show” is the official review I would give it.
But let’s expand on that a little more.
So this phantom called Boogiepop is supposed to be death itself, or at least like an urban legend, I’m honestly not too sure it’s murky.
I do know that she gets blamed for a bunch of ritualistic murders.
So does one go in search of Boogiepop?
Especially considering the story goes that whoever sees her will never be seen again.
Well, only one way to find out!
The story of Mushi-shi is one giant “ignorance is bliss” tabloid.
In its universe, Mushi exist. They’re spirits that most people can’t see.
And not the happy, Spirited Away spirits. But rather the “voices inside of my head are telling me to end it all right now” spirits.
One man, Ginko, can see the Mushi. And has taken it upon himself to banish as many of them as he possibly can.
Personally, the true horror of this show is the possibility that the real world works like that. And that anti-depressants are like Mushi-poison or something.
10. Paranoia Agent
Just think of CSI, only it’s got a way more difficult kind-of supernatural aspect. And the culprit is a bit out of the ordinary.
Because instead of the usual tall and handsome psychopath, or the femme fatale with a knack for poison, it’s a kid on rollerblades armed with a crooked golden baseball bat.
And it isn’t a single victim, either.
But rather dozens of people are being beaten by this devil called Lil’ Slugger.
Can the detectives crack the case before he makes a home run?
9. The Promised Neverland
Man, this refuses to lighten up. To such a degree that I nearly popped a blood vessel watching it.
If you have not seen Promised Neverland, don’t read the rest of this section. Just so you can get the full shock value if you do decide to watch.
We follow a group of kids who initially just seem like your average orphan rascals.
However, everyone is a genius and they’re actually on a farm, with hungry monster-looking dudes excitedly waiting to eat their brains.
I swear it’s just a never-ending brain game between the children and the woman who’s stationed there, and tasked with making sure none of the merchandise goes missing.
Oh, what is this? A slice of life looking anime with a horror tag next to it?
That must be some kind of a mistake, right?
Maybe it just has a horrifying rating like School Days or something. Believe it or not, but that was actually fairy representative of what this show is about, minus the last part.
Because in a world devastated after a zombie apocalypse, a group of high school girls have to pretend like everything is still fine.
And that there’s a life still worth living out there.
I mean, just that prospect alone is scary. Let alone the whole zombie thing.
7. Danganronpa: The Animation
Another cult classic that was originally a video game.
This takes a very interesting route to the battle royale trope by adding a lot of sneaking around and deceit.
You see, fifteen students are trapped in a school and can only go home after everyone else has died.
But instead of just killing others on the spot, you have to be secretive about it.
Because if the rest of the class figures out that you killed someone, you’re getting hanged.
So yeah, the paranoia in this show is off the charts.
After you die, you would think you’d go to Heaven, Hell, or to a black screen, right?
Well in the world of Gantz it’s a type of Hell. But with just the tiniest dash of optimism.
You basically get trapped in a video game world where you have to kill aliens and survive.
If you manage to do everything the black ball wants you to, you get to live. But don’t be fooled, this is no family friendly isekai show. All of the nudity, profanity, torture, and gore you’d ever want are in this anime.
Horrific to say the least.
5. Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress
Think Attack on Titan, but replace the goofy looking titans with nightmare fuel.
And then add a buttload of steam-punk and you have this show.
Humans live inside fortified walls while the outside is overrun by steam-punk zombies that look like my sleep paralysis demons.
Of course, the people want to adventure outside of the walls. And the zombies want to eat.
So prepare for lots of death.
I think it’s a tad less suspenseful than Attack on Titan, but definitely a lot more scary.
4. Devilman Crybaby
Now Devilman Crybaby is a drug-induced lucid dream where everything is trying to kill you.
Running looks ridiculous, rapping is the main form of communication, and mob mentality is as brutal as it can get.
As far as plot goes, I honestly don’t even know how to explain it other than demons exist, demons are usually bad, the protagonist is a good demon, but people don’t like demons.
Take that description, add like ten R-ratings and a lot of religious subtext and you get one hell of an anime.
3. From The New World
From The New World takes quite the interesting crack at the dystopian world concept.
There’s no super technology, but rather a small community. To be more precise, a village, and the existence of psychokinesis.
The show does a great job at shaking you up in three ways.
First, the psychological side, as everything you thought you knew about morals is put under the microscope. It becomes an ocean of grey.
Second, the supernatural aspect. I mean, beings apart from humans that roam this Earth honestly give me the heebie jeebies.
Lastly, the unpredictability of it all.
Because the show contains so many plot twists that you never feel truly safe. And the life of your favorite characters is always at stake.
2. Elfen Lied
When it comes to human experiments, I’d say that anime scientists and most people during WW2 just can’t get enough of it.
But as the story usually goes, it backfires tremendously and we’re given one of the biggest bloodbaths of a first episode that I have ever seen.
Their subject, Lucy, can control invisible noodle hands. She uses these to rip people to shreds.
Lucky for humanity, Lucy gets amnesia. So their demise is delayed, but for how long?
As far as psychological horror goes, this is a cult classic.
A person often feels safest in their dreams.
But that also makes them the most vulnerable.
So imagine a world where people invented the technology to access one’s dreams, but it got into the hands of some questionable people.
Now everyone is being terrorized in the one place they thought was out of reach: their dreams.
The movie is visually stunning and the methods they use to portray dreams and their overlap with reality is sure to make your skin crawl.
It’s unsettling, to say the least.
Paired up with some pretty heavy themes, a horrifying concept, and some brilliant OST music, this all makes Paprika a must-watch for anime horror fans.