Halloween is just around the corner and there’s nothing better than meeting up with friends and having a good old-fashioned horror marathon to get the festivities going. Of course, you can always start with the traditional Saw or Paranormal Activity to get the blood pumping, but with anime becoming a rising powerhouse in streaming, why not try something different this year?
From Tokyo Ghoul to Demon Slayer, there have been more than a fair share of titles in the horror anime genre with both the power to entertain and the potential to disgust. Thanks to their popularity, even streaming platforms like Netflix have jumped into the race to build up their anime libraries, giving viewers access to prime originals that will provide fresh takes on the horror genre, plus many well-known titles.
Right now, Netflix is without a doubt the best platform on which to watch both. So why not call up your buddies, fill a bowl with candy corn, and trip out on some recommendations that are sure to inspire amazing cosplay ideas for your neighbor’s Halloween party? You can do so with this handy list of the best horror anime currently on Netflix.
If you follow the popular video game series from Konami, then Castlevania is going to be a horrific treat for you. Even if you don’t, it flows easily enough that you’ll understand what’s going on. The series follows the infamous monster hunter Trevor Belmont as he travels throughout the land of Wallachia fighting the demonic and vampiric hordes of Count Dracula. With the sorceress Sypha Belnade and Dracula’s half-human son Alucard by his side, Belmont ruthlessly tears through monsters of all kinds in a way that is so graphic, you’ll start to wonder if this was appropriate for an animated series.
Castlevania‘s animation is beautifully drawn and heavily influenced by Ayami Kojima’s artwork from the popular video game series, so you’re going to see a lot of Japanese and mid-century elements in the overall visual aesthetic. The action sequences are fast-paced and well-choreographed for intensely energetic fight scenes that will keep your eyes locked on the screen until it’s over.
Warning: the gore is extremely graphic. The sight and sound of flesh ripping from bones or someone getting their head bashed to bits is sometimes a bit too bone-chilling, even for an anime. If you want to watch something that will have your company cringe and leave them in awe at the same time, then this is a good one to add to your list.
Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness
This is another hot horror title. If you’ve played the popular video games or seen any of the nine live-action films starring Milla Jovovich, then you already know what Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness is basically about. Who doesn’t love a good zombie story, especially when it’s centered around the famous characters from the actual game?
If you don’t know, Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness follows federal agent Leon S. Kennedy and TerraSave staff member Claire Redfield as they investigate a zombie outbreak that attacks the White House. Set in 2006 between the events of the Resident Evil 4 and 5 video games, Infinite Darkness reunites Kennedy and Redfield for a CGI horror anime that is incredibly graphic. The only problem is that it’s quite short.
The four-part miniseries is unfortunately only 26 minutes an episode. With Netflix’s formula of filming everything at once and dividing it into parts, you’re basically watching a movie that’s a little over an hour and a half. Aside from the time, the storytelling has a great flow and the impressive CGI sequences are gratuitously violent enough to keep your eyes glued to the screen. If you’re looking for a horror anime title that everyone in your company can relate to, then this is definitely another good one for your list.
Based on the popular Devilman anime, this Netflix adaptation is a psychedelic rollercoaster of gory violence. A modern and more artistic remake of the original, Devilman Crybaby once again follows the story of high school student Akira Fudo as he is possessed by the demon Amon and is somehow given supernatural abilities. With the help of his best friend Ryo Asuka and longtime crush Miki Makimura, Akira learns to use his newfound curse to fight a war against the rest of demonkind to protect humanity as the hero Devilman.
You might be thinking that this plot sounds cheesy, but Devilman is anything but. It’s actually heavily sexually suggestive and explores puberty and LGBTQ identities while mixing it with the most grotesque and graphic horror scenes ever shown in anime. Filled with dismemberment, excessive slaughter, and tragic death, Devilman Crybaby is going to be more than enough to satiate your bloodthirsty appetite.
Though this is really geared towards horror fans, the show also boasts a great story that lines its series’ pockets. The action is twisted and fast-paced, providing a unique visual feel that is creepily entertaining. Fair warning: you may want to get some tissues when you watch, because there are going to be some real tearjerker moments, especially at the end. Devilman Crybaby is sure to be the pinnacle of your horror anime viewing, so it’s best to save this one for last.
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Parasyte: The Maxim
Looking for some really twisted and disgusting weirdness to ring in the Halloween spirit? Then Parasyte: The Maxim should be the next title you put on your marathon list.
Created by Hitoshi Iwaaki, Parasyte: The Maxim follows the story of 17-year-old Shinichi Izumi as he’s unknowingly infected by an alien parasite while asleep in bed. Part of an alien invasion aimed to control and butcher humans, the Parasyte, named Migi, enters Shinichi in an attempt to take over his brain, but is instead trapped inside his right hand. Now, as two separate minds that share the same body, Shinichi and Migi bond together to survive the other Parasytes looking to eat them both. Determined to fight back, Shinichi strives to use Migi’s Parasyte abilities to protect the humans from a possible onslaught.
Parasyte: The Maxim is a monstrous suspense sci-fi thriller that is not for the faint of heart. The Parasyte-human hybrid that Shinichi and Migi encounter usually take grotesque forms that rip and tear human faces apart in very nasty ways, which makes for a unique and nauseating horror concept. Not only that, but the scenes in Parasyte: The Maxim are truly horrifying when those same faces are slicing and dicing through bodies like they’re carving Thanksgiving turkeys. A good horror anime on par with a live-action horror, Parasyte: The Maxim is a title that you absolutely do not want to ignore.
Attack on Titan
This one is a no-brainer. Created by Hajime Isayama, Attack on Titan centers around humanity’s fight to survive being massacred by giant humanoid monsters known as Titans. The main protagonist, Eren Jaeger, joins the Scout Regiment with his friends Armin and Mikasa to hopefully turn the tide of humanity’s battle to survive. However, the young cadets come to find out that there’s more to the Titans than they know, and Eren could be the key to ending it all.
Attack On Titan is not as graphic as Parasyte: The Maxim or Devilman Crybaby, but it does get the same point across. Like a real horror film or show, it does a great job of getting you invested in the characters so that the impact perfectly hits home when they are tragically killed off in horrifying ways. The Titans themselves are creepy with their big human faces, making it even more horrifying when they’re snacking on mangled human bodies like they’re pieces of candy. The storyline is a perfect mix of suspense, horror, and action that will keep you engaged from beginning to end. Your guests may need to devote some of their own free time to really get into this one, but of course, it doesn’t hurt to show the first few episodes to get them started.
Created by Kentaro Miura, Berserk is a bloody marathon with demons, ghouls, and vampires that really captures the essence of Halloween. Set in a European medieval fantasy world, it follows the story of the mercenary Guts as he travels the Midland Kingdom in search of the Femto, an archdemon responsible for the hordes of darkness that have ravaged the land. Accompanied by a ragtag group of warriors, Guts slices his way through supernatural warriors and demonic armies in the hopes of getting an opportunity to kill Femto to heal wounds from their mysterious shared past.
The Berserk series may be too mature for some viewers, so make sure that you’re absolutely prepared to accept the high level of sexual content and violence it contains. Every fight scene is a graphic gore-fest and is highly detailed enough that you can easily envision them being replayed in a live-action setting. Often dark and haunting, Berserk is another horror anime title that your friends will be talking about for the next few weeks.