Instead of frolicking in the beautiful autumn outdoors, how about celebrating the season inside by watching anime? Check out 22 of the darkest, scariest, ghost-filled animated splatterfests straight from Japan–spooky anime perfect for Halloween viewing. Don’t forget your nightlight.
1. High School of the Dead
Every zombie diehard should see this anime. When zombies overrun Japan, a group of high school heroes, including a rich brat, a samurai, and a firearm otaku, take to the streets for survival.
2. AJIN: Demi-Human
Dying is scary, but in AJIN: Demi-Human, living forever is even worse. After falling victim to a fatal car crash, Kei discovers that he has the power to regenerate and revive no matter how he’s killed. From then on, he gets caught in a mortal feud between the government forces that seek to torture and exploit him and a militant group of fellow ajin who seek to rule the world.
Akira holds the status of classic in the eyes of dedicated anime fans and film critics alike. It earns its praise with marvelous animation on both a technological and artistic level. Movie lovers simply must watch this dystopian cyberpunk masterpiece.
4. Call Me Tonight
This obscure short film combines horror, comedy, and romance. Call Me Tonight follows the blossoming love life of a man who transforms into a different hideous alien monster every time he’s aroused. Impress animation friends by watching this little-known movie.
5. Deadman Wonderland
After being falsely convicted of mass slaughter, high school student Ganta Igarashi must compete for his life in the maximum security prison/amusement park Deadman Wonderland. The true terror comes from characters losing ownership of their lives and their bodies in this cruel prison system.
6. Death Note
There’s little scarier than the godly power of death held in the hands of a human being. Light Yagami wants to create a new world order using the Death Note, with him sitting on the throne. Anyone looking for a spooky anime series this October with a dark atmosphere, cerebral conflicts, and piles of bodies, look no further.
7. Neon Genesis Evangelion
Neon Genesis Evangelion drills in fear, both internal and external. Shinji and the rest of the cast must contend with the death and devastation the angels wreak upon Tokyo III. But they must also battle their inner demons as the psychological toll of being human becomes too much to bear.
8. Ghost Stories
In Ghost Stories, viewers find a group of elementary school students who protect their city from evil ghosts with the help of their demon-possessed cat. However, most fans remember this series for its hilarious English dub that twists the original story into a South Park-style parody of itself.
The horrors of the deep come to the surface when killer fish on mechanical legs overrun Japan. This feature-length adaptation of Junji Ito’s most gross-out manga has all of the terror, comedy, and visceral disgust of the original.
10. Belladonna of Sadness
Welcome to a psychedelic anime film so critically acclaimed that the Criterion Collection recognizes it. The horrors of feudal French society weigh so intensely on the film’s protagonist, Jeanne, who finds making a deal with the devil a preferable option.
11. Demon Slayer
Tanjiro Kamado joins a secret society of demon slayers to avenge his murdered family and find a way to turn his demon sister back into a human. Demon Slayer has set the anime world on fire since its release, and the Halloween season is the perfect time for anime lovers who haven't seen it.
12. Parasyte: The Maxim
Parasyte has everything needed to keep someone at night: an alien invasion, body horror, and devastating combat. Shinichi forms an unlikely alliance with a shapeshifting alien parasite, Migi, which bonds itself to his right hand. Together, they must defeat the rest of Migi’s species before humanity falls.
13. Mob Psycho 100
Even with psychic powers strong enough to take over the world, middle school student Mob would rather have a few more muscles and a few more friends. From the mind of One Punch Creator ONE comes a series famous for its experimental animation and powerful emotional resonance. Watch Mob battle ghosts, demons, and youthful awkwardness.
14. Perfect Blue
Instead of ghosts and demons, the monster in Perfect Blue is fame. Satoshi Kon’s masterpiece explores the psychological cost of a life in the spotlight that has only become more relevant in the decades since its release.
15. Spirited Away
As a Studio Ghibli film directed by Hayao Miyazaki, Spirited Away stands as a masterpiece among masterpieces. Chihiro finds herself indentured in a witch’s bathhouse for spirits and must find a way to escape and save her parents before it’s too late. Viewers will love this film at any time of the year, but especially in autumn.
16. Attack on Titan
Humanity has become cattle as they cower behind their walls, fearing the giant titans that roam the land. Eren Jeager wants to change that. He'll remove humanity from the lunch menu by becoming the monster he hates. Viewers should watch on an empty stomach.
17. Knights of Sidonia
Even when living among the stars, humankind still faces the danger of extinction. The last of the species lives on the massive spaceship Sidonia, constantly hunted by an alien species known as the Gauna. Audiences that enjoy horror in the deep darkness of space should check this spooky anime out.
Picture a goofball college student, self-identifying as a “mad scientist” who accidentally creates a time machine from his microwave oven. That sounds lighthearted, but prepare for a dark story with powerless victims of a murderous conspiracy hellbent on creating a nightmare dystopia.
19. Yu-Yu Hakusho
After sacrificing his life to save a young boy, delinquent punk Yusuke Urameshi gets a second lease on life. As a spirit detective, he keeps the peace in both the human and demon realms. Audiences that like tournament arcs will find the best in all of shonen anime right here.
20. Chainsaw Man
Devils powered by fear infest every corner of the Chainsaw Man world. Their worst enemy: a teenage boy named Denji. He transforms into the all-powerful Chainsaw Man with a pull of the ripcord in his chest. This series balances extreme gore and crude humor with paralyzing tension and heartbreaking emotional moments.
Hope’s Peak Academy students live in captivity under the sadistic Teddy Bear Monokuma. Anyone who wants to leave must simply murder a fellow student without getting caught. Easy, right? This series of murderous mysteries and despair-inducing killing games will make viewers think their own tormented high school experiences tame by comparison.
22. Soul Eater
Weapon-wielder Maka Albarn and her scythe Soul Eater Evans know their mission. Eat 100 souls, including the soul of a witch, to create the ultimate weapon for the grim reaper, Lord Death. Soul Eater's whole aesthetic fits perfectly with Halloween, so watching it might become a yearly tradition for any spooky season-lover.