I’ve put together a few horror recommendations from Japanese movies I’ve watched over the years. Not all of these have a supernatural element because the scariest thing to me is anything supernatural, I can watch any gorey movie but as soon as you get the supernatural element I usually nope right out of there. Have you watched any of these? Are there any you want to check out for this spoopy season? Do you have any recommendations for me?
Battle Royale (Batoru Rowaiaru)
In the future, the Japanese government captures a class of ninth-grade students and forces them to kill each other under the revolutionary “Battle Royale” act.
I first watched BR soon after it’s release in early 00’s and it is still one of my all time favourite movies that I could watch again and again. It is more shocking and violent than scary but I think this adaptation of Koushun Takami’s novel was done incredibly well and stands the test of time. I would recommend everyone to watch this at least once.
Would you be able to kill your best friend?
A widower takes an offer to screen girls at a special audition, arranged for him by a friend to find him a new wife. The one he fancies is not who she appears to be after all.
I watched this back in early 00’s and remember it being very shocking. It is more violent than scary but there are moments that are incredibly disturbing, this adaptation is based on the short novel by Ryu Murakami which I have yet to read.
Probably the most well-known Japanese horror movie, it actually took me until a couple of years ago to finally get the courage to watch this for the first time. It felt like a movie that would haunt me for a long time but actually turned out to not be as scary as I bad built it up to be in my head. It is for sure creepy as heck but I have seen scarier movies. The movie is based on the novel by Kôji Suzuki which is a 4 book series, most of which were also adapted to movies.
This movie was on my radar for a long time before I finally watched it a few years ago, the opening scene is a mass of school girls jumping in front of a subway train so this movie is more graphic than scary. We follow a detective and a girl as they try to figure out the cause of the more frequent suicides and if they’re linked to a J-pop group, there is a villain in this that is completely OTT, it also has some musical moments. Watch for the randomness.
Trigger warning for rape.
Ichi the Killer (Koroshiya 1)
As sadomasochistic yakuza enforcer Kakihara searches for his missing boss he comes across Ichi, a repressed and psychotic killer who may be able to inflict levels of pain that Kakihara has only dreamed of achieving.
This movie is bloody bizarre. As adult as a movie can get in my opinion, a lot of gore, torture and sexual assault. Go into this one with caution but if you do decide to watch it you’re in for a trip.
Trigger warning for rape.
This is the one movie that has scarred me for life, I vividly remember renting this on VHS tape and watching it with my best friend before bed and I have never recovered from such a traumatic experience. The scenes in this are so creepy, the way she walks and the noise she makes is the most terrifying thing in the world to me. No thanks, but please feel free to watch it for yourself haha.