We had a list last week where we talked about some great Halloween movies, so I figured it would be apropos to talk about horror in other mediums. Here are some of my favorite horror anime that should give you some thrills and chills in the coming weeks.
While we’ll be talking about Elfen Lied in more specific detail soon, this is one of my favorite series. I regularly rewatch Elfen Lied around Halloween, as it has some pretty scary shit in its 14 episode run. Alternating between a college-age man-child with a spotty memory and a horned woman with incredibly powerful spectral arms, Elfen Lied is both a story of the horrors of humanity and the complexities of love. Its characters are fundamentally broken, coming together to try to weather the storm of their remaining lives. Their traumas range from loss of family and sexual abuse to being incarcerated for vast expanses of their lives. It does terrible things and it does beautiful things. Watch it.
If Elfen Lied is the quick action horror flick, Shiki is the impending terror that slowly takes your town while you’re powerless to do anything. After a rich family moves into a large house on a hill, people start dying in a small town and people report seeing them coming back at night. As time goes on, there are less people alive during the day and more appearances at night. A vampire story that takes its sweet time to develop its story, Shiki does a great job of making you care about the inhabitants of its town, so when they’re inevitably tested or killed, you care. As the tides turn and the vamps start to outnumber their living compatriots, the lengths that the humans go to save themselves makes you wonder who the real monsters are.
Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
Bloodlust is a visual feast. It has some of the most impressive scenes put to animated film, which will make you forgive its rather basic story. A half-human, half-vampire hunter named D is hired to save a woman kidnapped by a vampiric noblemen and he runs into
another group of hunters while he’s going about his business. While the movie takes a couple of unexpected turns, it’s worth watching for the ghoulish visuals and the excellent production values.
Here we have another story of creeping inevitability, but on a smaller scale than Shiki. A boy moves to a town with a dark history at its high school. Every class in a particular room has somebody who is dead in the room. If there isn’t a chosen student who is ostracized in class to make up for the added head, a curse will cause dozens of students to be killed. Not quite understanding what’s going on, this new guy violates the taboo and his classmates start dying in some pretty terrible ways. Of course, if you can find the ghost, or the “Another,” and kill them, then you can stop curse. Of course, how would you know who the added person is? Another nails its town and the pervasive feeling of paranoia that exists in small towns, with some solid animation and music to make things extra creepy.
Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni
Talk about harsh U-turns. The show starts off as an innocuous harem comedy, but shifts into a psychological horror movie three episodes into its run. Then, by the fifth episode, nearly the entire main cast is dead. And then everybody is back to life at the start of sixth episode. Welcome to Higurashi, an anime that is based off a visual novel that is split into “Question” arcs and “Answer” arcs. While the stories of the “Question” arcs differ pretty drastically, they all share the same characters with the same backstories. Each arc will give you more insight on why each of the characters act the way they do, while the “Answer” arcs in the back half of the season will show you the consequences of their actions. The first season ends on an ominous note, but don’t fret. The season that follows does wrap up the complicated story. Just be sure to pay attention, because the details count here.