10 Terrifying Japanese Horror Movies You've Probably Never Seen

The best Japanese horror movies you've never seen - Spiral, Kwaidan & more!

Over Your Dead Body
Shout! Factory

Western horror is a mixed bag when it comes to generating scares. Although there's plenty of terrifying titles out there, a large assortment of horror movie fanatics find that familiarity can breed contempt.

There are a tonne of tropes and trends that crop up in the genre, and this can lead to a lot of movies feeling predictable and mundane. Consequently, the biggest fans often crave different experiences that Hollywood can't always provide and, one fantastic place to look is Japan.

The land of the rising sun has a phenomenal history with the macabre, as can be seen in the work of manga artists, filmmakers and folk tales. Some of the scariest movies in the world have come from Japan as well, and it's hardly surprising that US markets often choose to remake these international successes.

Thanks to the country's rich history of folkloric spirits and cautionary tales, filmmakers have plenty of haunting material to borrow from, creating flicks unlike anything you've seen in western cinema.

While you're likely familiar with classic names like The Ring, The Grudge, Pulse and more, there is a plethora of Japanese horror flicks that you've probably never seen, but will make you consider buying a nightlight.

10. Over Your Dead Body

Over Your Dead Body
Shout! Factory

You might be familiar with the name Takashi Miike. This infamous director is responsible for some of the genre's most disturbing movies, such as Ichi the Killer, Imprint and Audition. But the horror icon has made far more titles than you've probably heard of, and one that deserves a larger spotlight is Over Your Dead Body.

This film takes place in the rehearsal room for a new play based on Yotsuya Kaidan - a ghost story about love, betrayal and revenge. The protagonist of the performance is played by a popular actor called Miyuki Goto, who uses politics to get her lover a key part. Soon, tensions amongst the cast and crew rise, and the line between fiction and reality begins to blur, in a supernatural way.

The movie's repurposing of this classic folklore tale makes it incredibly unique, as two narratives are being told. The first is the original story, and the second concerns the supernatural effects that retelling it causes. It makes Over Your Dead Body incredibly ambitious from a storytelling perspective, as it brings folklore into the 21st century, blending classic and modern forms of horror.

Miike is known for his fantastic visuals, gore and metaphorical storytelling and this film is no exception. It's aesthetically stunning, and the slow pace and constantly-eerie atmosphere results in some massive scares.

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Michael is my name, overanalysing comedy is my game! I’m a Bristol-boy who moved out to Surrey to get his BA and then moved on to get an MA from the Guildford School of Acting. I am your bog-standard freaky geeky lad.