10 Most Savage Japanese Horror Films Ever

10. Shogun's Sadism (1976)

Toei Company

An absolute jaw dropping film due to its graphic depictions of torture, violence and all kinds of highly nasty activities, Shogun's Sadism is 1970s Japanese ero guro (erotic films with heavy violence) at its finest.

The film features two tragic romances set in the feudal era in Japan. The first one concerns the ill fated affair between a young Christian girl and a Samurai. The next story is centred around the shenanigans between a brothel towel boy who is in love with one of the prostitutes. Happily, she reciprocates his affections and they elope, but can they evade the merciless authorities who are chasing them?

What to say about this transgressive cinema masterpiece? The movie is also known as Oxen Split Torture, which gives the viewers a strong indicator as to the spirit of the film. Decapitations, forced abortion, crucifixion, being roasted alive, limb removal in the most extreme manner and so many variations of horrific yet inventive torture, you will probably begin to feel slightly nauseous if they are further detailed here.

The most surprising aspects of Shogun's Sadism are the good acting, solid plot, convincing effects and the production values - which are definitely higher than what you would expect of an exploitation film of its time and ilk. The aesthetic of the film could con the viewer into thinking that a fairly lavish but innocuous soap opera is about to unfurl on the screen.

And naturally this veneer of quality considerably amplifies the degree of barbarism in the film when the brutality kicks off. It is a curious film for these reasons, but highly recommended for viewers who like to investigate the bowels of Japanese cinema.


My first film watched was Carrie aged 2 on my dad's knee. Educated at The University of St Andrews and Trinity College Dublin. Fan of Arthouse, Exploitation, Horror, Euro Trash, Giallo, New French Extremism. Weaned at the bosom of a Russ Meyer starlet. The bleaker, artier or sleazier the better!