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10 Scariest Horror Movies Inspired By Manga | ScreenRant

While horror manga continues to be an extremely popular form of entertainment, for whatever reason, big-screen adaptations continue to be far less prolific than small-screen ones. Moreover, live-action horror films inspired by manga are made less frequently than long-form anime TV series, leaving relatively few genuinely scary movie options to choose from.

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That said, some of cinema's most preeminent international horror directors have adapted horror manga stories to the big screen, including Takashi Miike, Park Chan-Wook, Shinsuke Sato, and more. With excellent source material and expert directorial stylings, the most frightening horror movies based on manga offer a little something for every genre fan to cower away from in fear.

10 Tomie: Unlimited (2011)

Often hailed as the best Tomie movie adaptation ever made, Tomie: Unlimited capitalizes on the titular terror created by Japanese horror master and manga scribe Junji Ito. Directed by Noboru Iguchi, the Japanese helmer lends his trademark gonzo gore extravaganza that bombards viewers with relentless bloodshed.

Despite the incoherent plot, the film faithfully retells Ito's classic story of two sisters who find themselves in a horrific situation following a tragic car crash. Aside from Ito's mortifying tale, the movie's indefatigable onslaught of hyper-gory violence, dreadful atmosphere, and deeply unnerving performance by Miu Nakamura as Tomie is sure to give viewers goosebumps.

9 Helter Skelter (2012)

Based on the Kyoko Okazaki manga published in 1995, Helter Skelter is a deeply disquieting psychological horror movie directed by Mika Ninagawa. The story traces Lilico (Erika Sawajiri), a top fashion model who undergoes plastic surgery to retain her beauteous visage. When her body begins to deteriorate, Lilico begins violently lashing out to those around her, leading to a string of mysterious suicides.

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Aside from the harrowing body horror inflicted in the film, the true terror is derived from Lilico's own nightmarish descent into her own insatiable psyche, where her perfect image and resulting fame and success become the only thing that matters. The well-observed satire of the cutthroat fashion industry lulls viewers with its candy-colored imagery, only to shatter the illusion with repulsive epidermal scarification.

8 Gantz (2010)

Inspired by Hiroya Oku's manga of the same name, Gantz is an extremely visceral action-horror film sure to strike fear in the heart of viewers everywhere. Directed by Shinsuke Sato, the story entails two teens who awake in a mysterious room with a large cryptic black orb ordering them two murder a rash of hidden aliens on Earth.

While the film is designed as a big-budget, two-part action-horror blockbuster, the horror works far better in the small, intimate, and claustrophobic moments of inescapable dread brought on by ingenious and never-before-seen monsters. The exorbitant gore and slimy ick factor is sure to revolt many, but the freaky big-budget FX provides enough of a scintillating spectacle to balance the cerebral and abstract giant sentient black ball.

7 As The Gods Will (2014)

What starts as a fun and seemingly harmless high school game turns into a deceptively deadly and frightening affair in As The Gods Will, Takashi Miike's underrated horror-sci-fi adventure inspired by Muneyuki Kaneshiro's manga. In a sadistic cross between Battle Royale and Saw, Shun (Sota Fukushi) is forced to participate in a series of kids games that result in death for the loser.

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What makes the movie so scary is Miike's expert misdirection and virtuosic puppeteering of the audience's expectations. With a preternatural understanding of how to slowly mount genuine dread and suspense, Miike's delivers moments of levity that are immediately anchored by teenagers being vaporized, eviscerated, chopped in half, and more, the alarming combination of which leaves viewers' mouths agape.

6 Lady Snowblood (1973)

Based on the manga series of the same name by Kazuo Koike, Lady Snowblood is a trio of hyper-violent revenge pictures. In addition to earning some of the best reviews of any live-action manga adaptation, the frightening level of violence is only outmatched by the lead character's motives for exacting it.

Yuki (Meiko Kaji) is an orphan who grows up to learn that the three men that killed her father also brutally raped her mother before she was born. Conceived with the sole purpose of avenging her mother and father, Yuki grows up to be a ruthless female assassin who honors her mother's dying wish. Toshiya Fujita handles the pulpy material and gory bloodshed with a high-artistic 1970s auteur style, giving the film an elevated look and style on par with the best and scariest horror movies of the 1970s.

5 Death Note (2006)

Based on the beloved Tsugumi Oba manga, Death Note is perhaps the most popular big-screen adaptation of a manga series. The story fuses horror, fantasy, and drama to tell a wholly original and engaging story that is at times extremely scary and at times genuinely uplifting. Either way, it's a must-see for manga and horror movie fans alike.

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Light's (Tatsuya Fujiwara) overwhelming responsibility and the burden he feels to use his newfound powerful notebook to kill the world's most dangerous criminals provides an endless source of fear, anxiety, and uncertainty, all of which the audience can palpably feel as they watch the film. The alarming interactions with the likable Ryuk and the violent street scuffles with criminals also provide legitimate chills.

4 Parasyte (2014)

Adapted from the Hitoshi Iwaaki manga, Parasyte is a piercing and petrifying two-part horror film directed by Takashi Yamazaki. The skin-crawling creature feature follows Izumi Shinichi (Sometani Shota), a teenager who harbors a parasitic entity where his right hand used to be, which provides him clues to the global death spree known as the "Mincemeat Murders."

Often praised as one of the best manga adaptations, the film boasts top-notch visual FX and practical makeup in its unique monster creations, many of which will mortify a viewer at first sight. However, the real terror comes from the parasitic aliens worming their way into human hosts and turning them into mindless zombie ghouls, making everyone paranoid and untrustworthy of each other while struggling to remain alive.

3 Oldboy (2003)

Masterful Korean filmmaker Park Chan-Wook adapted Oldboy from the Garon Tsuchiya manga of the same name, delivering one of the most terrifying, upsetting, and indelibly scarring cinematic experiences on record. The ultra-violent, gory, and controversial revenge tale follows Dae-Su (Choi Min-Sik), a kidnapped man who is given five days to get revenge against his captor of 15 years.

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The bruisingly excessive violence in the film is handled with such extremity and realism that it's visibly hard to watch at times. While that doesn't inherently make a movie scary, the way in which Chan-Wook viscerally immerses viewers into the nerve-shredding duel between the two leads is shocking and terrifying as can be.

2 Ichi The Killer (2001)

Based on the Hideo Yamamoto manga, Takashi Miike's Ichi the Killer is among the best and scariest horror movie adaptations of its kind. Darkly humorous, oddly perverse, and deeply disturbing, the film follows Kakihara (Tadanobu Asano), a sadomasochistic yakuza who meets his match in the form of Ichi (Nao Ohmori), a brutal and torturous murderer with his own bizarre quirks.

Not for the squeamish or the faint of heart, Ichi the Killer's scariness is derived from Miike's unmitigated eruptions of grisly bloodshed, unspeakable acts of body mutilation, and breathless mayhem that never lets the viewers come up for air. While it lacks the trenchant commentary of his other films, Miike adapts Yamamoto's manga with great fidelity to its sinister, scary S&M spirit in a way sure to appeal to fans of the original.

1 Guinea Pig Series (1985-1990)

Based on Hideshi Hino's manga series of the same name, Guinea Pig is a five-part series of unspeakably scary Japanese horror films produced between 1985 and 1990. Guinea Pig 2: Flower of the Flesh and Blood was so realistic and controversial that it was taken off the market when viewers believed it was a real snuff film. That's how authentically terrifying the movie feels.

Infamous for its extreme depictions of violence, the films really have no plot whatsoever. Instead, they play like one long documentary montage of unrelated violent scenes somewhat akin to the Faces of Death movies. Regardless of their lack of narrative cohesion, no horror movies adapted from mangas have left viewers in an irreparable state of mortified shock than the Guinea Pig series.

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