13 Horror Anime Movies and Series to Watch This Halloween, From Spooky to Terrifying

Including “Attack on Titan” and “Death Note”

"Tokyo Ghoul," "Perfect Blue," "Death Note" (Studio Pierrot, Rex Entertainment, Madhouse)
"Tokyo Ghoul," "Perfect Blue," "Death Note" (Studio Pierrot, Rex Entertainment, Madhouse)

This Halloween season, you may turn to the classics like “A Nightmare on Elm Street” or even “Hocus Pocus.”

But if your desire is to be scared, startled or completely spooked out, we present some horror anime options. Anime can take thrills, twists and gore to a level that live-action can’t.

Adding to all the witches, ghosts, killer pumpkins and vampires — yes, this list includes vampires — there’s also kid-sized crimefighting detectives, demon slayers and some man-eating giants.

Here’s a list of 13 anime series and films you should check out this spooky season.

1. “Tokyo Ghoul” (2014)

"Tokyo Ghoul" (Photo credit: Studio Pierrot)
“Tokyo Ghoul” (Photo credit: Studio Pierrot)

“Tokyo Ghoul” will take you into a dark, shadowy, gloomy world that illuminates its creepy characters with crisp artwork and vibrant colors. Beware, there’s lots of gore and unsettling storylines, but that all works for the Halloween season, right?

What’s it’s about:

“Tokyo Ghoul” blends sci-fi, fantasy, action and horror all in one creepy series that’s centered on a schoolboy named Kaneki who lives in technology-based world where human-eating “ghouls” inhabit the land. After a life-changing event, Kaneki embarks on a mission to protect his friends from the monsters, and maybe himself, while straddling two societies. The series was adapted from its manga of the same name, which was created by Sui Ishida.

Where to watch:

Crunchyroll, Funimation, Prime Video and Hulu

Watch the “Tokyo Ghoul” intro:

2. “Attack on Titan” (2013)

"Attack on Titan" (Photo credit: Wit Studio)
“Attack on Titan” (Photo credit: Wit Studio)

If non-verbal, human-eating giants don’t make your skin crawl, add the fact that some of them possess super speed, are built like enormous beasts and, at one time, may have be someone you once loved.

What it’s about:

Without giving too many details away, “Attack on Titan” tells the heartbreaking story of Eren, a child who has lived his entire life behind massive walls due to his community’s fear of what lies beyond. After a swarm of titans (the aforementioned giants) break down the walls, Eren witnesses his mother get devoured right in front of him. When he grows up, he promises to avenge his mother’s death and swears to take down all titans. However, he soon finds out truth behind the titans that he hates so much isn’t exactly what he thought it was. “Attack on Titan” is adapted from the award-winning manga, which carries the same name, and was written and illustrated by its creator Hajime Isayama.

Where to watch:

Crunchyroll, Netflix and Hulu

Watch the “Attack on Titan” intro:

3. “Parasyte: The Maxim” (2014)

"Parasyte" (Photo credit: Madhouse)
“Parasyte” (Photo credit: Madhouse)

The show’s subtle colors and calm scenery invites you into what looks like an everyday story about a teen boy, but beneath the surface the series plays with body horror and packs a full punch of powerful action scenes and storybook-like characters.

What it’s about:

After an invasion of of parasitic aliens wreaks havoc on Fukuyama, Hiroshima, Japan the lackluster life of 17-year-old Shinichi Izumi changes forever when one of the creatures embeds itself inside his hand instead of his brain. Shinichi must now navigate this new co-existence while avoiding the other parasites. The series was created by Hitoshi Iwaaki, and was adapted from the manga “Parasitic Beasts.”

Where to watch:

Crunchyroll, Hulu, Roku, Prime Video

Watch the intro:

4. “Death Note” (2006)

"Death Note" (Photo credit: Madhouse)
“Death Note” (Photo credit: Madhouse)

Imagine having the ability to kill anyone just by writing their name down in a book. That’s pretty much the gist of the popular one-season-only anime “Death Note.” Aside from its frightening world and plot, this would also make for a great starter anime for beginners. The series was adapted from its manga, which was written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata.

What it’s about:

“Death Note” centers in on high-school genius Light Yagami who comes across a mysterious notebook called the “Death Note,” which used to belong to a deity named Ryuk. While the show is only 37 episodes long, it makes for a quick and terrifying watch that provides viewers with uniquely-designed characters, an adventurous and dark story plot and sharp animation. Plus, Tetsurō Araki, the director of the first three seasons of “Attack on Titan,” directed the full season of “Death Note.”

Where to watch:

Hulu and Netflix

Watch the “Death Note” intro:

5. “Demon Slayer” (2021)

"Demon Slayer" (Photo credit: studio Ufotable)
“Demon Slayer” (Photo credit: studio Ufotable)

There may not be a more gruesome, dark and twisted anime that is just as enjoyable to watch because of its beautiful and pristine animation and its hilarious and lovable characters than “Demon Slayer.” Don’t let the latter send you off, it does not go light when it comes to inflicting fear in its viewers.

What it’s about:

Set in the early 20th century Taishō era of Japan comes the tale of 13-year-old Tanjiro Kamado, a boy who enlists in the teachings of first-class demon slayers with a mission to avenge his family who were slaughtered while he was running errands. The only person he has left is his sister, who has been turned into a demon. The two embark on a journey to find the Demon King, Muzan Kibutsuji, alongside fellow demon slayers Zenitsu and Insosuke.

Where to watch:

Crunchyroll, Hulu, Netflix

Watch the “Demon Slayer” intro:

6. “Perfect Blue” (1997)

"Perfect Blue" (Photo credit: Rex Entertainment)
“Perfect Blue” (Photo credit: Rex Entertainment)

Stepping away from some of the downright horrors…well, kinda, is this psychological thriller “Perfect Blue.” It’s anime mastermind Satoshi Kon’s feature film debut, and the story was adapted from Yoshikazu Takeuchi’s novel “Pafekuto Buru.” The amount of grisly violence might throw you off by how soft and delicately its drawn. But be ready, it’s going to take you on a shocking and twist-filled journey.

What it’s about:

“Perfect Blue” is about a singer named Mima Kirigoe who just left her J-Idol music group to pursue acting. While trying to live her new life as an actress, she notices a stalker has been on her trail, and her certainty over what’s actually real starts to dwindle.

Where to watch:

The Roku Channel, Shudder, Spectrum TV, Prime Video

Watch the “Perfect Blue” trailer:

7. “Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of Macabre” (2023)

“Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of Macabre” (Netflix)
“Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of Macabre” (Netflix)

Let’s just start with the name of the creator: Junji Ito. The most prolific horror manga artist’s most notable works include “Tomie,” a series that follows an immortal girl who drives her admirers into madness. When it comes to spooky and scary, Junji definitely takes the cake, and he will serve up all the terrifying goodness you need this Halloween. And he put all of his most popular stories into one anthology series.

What it’s about:

Popular manga horror writer Junji Ito brings his most horrifying manga stories into a 12-episode anthology-based season, featuring some of his most popular works, including “The Hanging Balloons,” “Sōichi” and “Tomie.”

Where to watch:


Watch the “Juni Ito Manic” intro:

8. “Chainsaw Man” (2022)

"Chainsaw Man" Photo credit: Mappa)
“Chainsaw Man” Photo credit: Mappa)

As you might be able to imagine by its title, a lot of blood is spilled in this comedic yet sanguine series. It’s dark, gritty and full of action-packed fighting scenes. It’s a true body horror-based anime with a crude and raunchy ensemble of characters that will leave you struggling to figure out who is more gross.

What it’s about:

This dark shonen series centers on an impoverished teenage boy named Denji who is down on his luck and homeless after picking his parents’ mountain-load of debt after they died. After a near-death encounter, he makes a deal with a chainsaw devil named Pochita to fuse their bodies together leaving him with the ability to transform his limbs into chainsaws. He eventually joins forces with a team of devil hunters on their quest to take down the infamous gun devil. The series was adapted from Tatsuki Fujimoto’s manga series of the same name.

Where to watch:

Crunchyroll, Hulu, Prime Video, Roku

Watch the “Chainsaw Man” intro:

9. “Hellsing” (2001)

"Hellsing" (Photo credit: Satelight)
“Hellsing” (Photo credit: Satelight)

When you think of vampires shows and films, “Hellsing” will definitely give you that same feeling. There isn’t much brightness in this series, as it perfectly built a world surrounded by chaos and trauma.

What it’s about:

In a world inhabited primarily by vampires, the organization of Hellsing sends out its mightiest and most powerful vampire Alucard and Seras, who must protect the queen and the country from vampires, the undead and other supernatural forces. The series was created by Kouta Hirano and adapted from his manga series of the same name.

Where to watch:

Crunchyroll, Funimation, Hulu, Funimation, Prime Video

Watch the “Hellsing” intro:

10. “Case Closed”

"Case Closed" (Photo credit: Viz Media)
“Case Closed” (Photo credit: Viz Media)

Who doesn’t love a good murder mystery? Especially when a series references the stories of Arsène Lupin, Sherlock Holmes, and the samurai films from Akira Kurosawa.

“Case Closed” takes crime-solving to a new level, giving viewers plots that include cleaver-wielding killers who hide in the woods and confident murderers who take their victims’ lives in broad daylight while riding a rollercoaster. Yep, that happens in the first episode. If not for the murders themselves, trying to find out who the culprit is will leave you on the edge of your seat.

“Case Closed” is centered on 17-year-old highly-skilled detective Shinichi (in the anime, Jimmy) Kudo who gets transformed into an elementary school-aged version of himself while investigating a strange organization. Until he can find a way to change himself back, he lives with his childhood best friend Rachel and her father Richard, continuing to solve mysteries, which he does by tranquilizing Richard so he can impersonate him. “Case Closed” was written and illustrated by Gosho Aoyama.

Where to watch:

Crunchyroll, Crackle, The Roku, Freevee and Fubo

Watch the intro:

11. “Elfen Lied” (2004)

"Elfen Lied" (Photo credit: Genco Vap)
“Elfen Lied” (Photo credit: Genco Vap)

Before starting “Elfen Lied,” realize that you are about to watch one of the bloodiest, violence and gruesome shows ever seen in anime. From limbs being ripped off to its beautiful-but-oh-so-creepy opening, it’s really in a class of its own.

What it’s about:

“Elfen Lied” focuses on the emotional and tragic story of a teenage Diclonius girl named Lucy, who is a mutated human that has horns and telekinetic powers. After being rejected by humans, Lucy — who has a split personality — seeks revenge. She can either choose between being docile and gentle Nyu or murder everyone she’s surrounded by.

Where to watch:

Prime Video

Watch the “Elfen Lied” trailer:

12. “Death Parade” (2013)

"Death Parade" (Photo credit: Madhouse)
“Death Parade” (Photo credit: Madhouse)

The concepts of heaven and hell has been visualized on screen in many different ways, but imagine the fate of your destination depending on a series of games. That’s the concept of “Death Parade,” an anime miniseries created by Yuzuru Tachiawa.

What it’s about:

In this psychological thriller, humans either go to heaven or hell. But some are sent to a bar called Quindecim once they die. After they arrive, they must go participate in painful games, in which the true core of their hearts will be tested. The series came out on March 2, 2013.

Where to watch:

Crunchyroll, Hulu

Watch the “Death Parade” intro:

13. “Devilman: Crybaby” (2018)

"Devilman: Crybaby" (Photo credit: Aniplex)
“Devilman: Crybaby” (Photo credit: Aniplex)

Even though “Devilman: Crybaby” is grotesque and scary, it’s also hilariously silly and provides viewers with a lighter option on this spooky list.

What it’s about:

After being told by his best friend that ancient demons are coming to take the world back from humans, Akira joins forces with a demon and transforms into half-demon and half-human. Now possessing the powers of demons while still retaining the soul of a human, Akira is tasked with protecting the Earth from evil. The series is based on Go Nagai’s manga “Devilman.”

Where to watch:


Watch the “Devilman: Crybaby” intro: