Horror movies have been around since the beginning of cinema, and their execution and tropes have shifted with time. The best-known early horror movie was made by George Méliès in 1806 and was titled Le Manoir du Diable, and it may even be considered the earliest horror film. In it, a historic castle is under siege by a mischievous demon and his jokes. Horror films then began to evolve as the medium continued to grow, and even Thomas Edison’s Edison Studios made their horror film with a 1910 adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Animated movies were not yet in vogue until the release of Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937, but this marked new territory for horror movies.
Animation allows a sense of wonder to the eye and mind that a regular movie cannot offer, so it seems only natural to take on fantasy and certain horror concepts with these kinds of films. Within the horror genre, animation allows certain freedom that allows filmmakers to create something inhumane, terrifying, and not human. These are the best animated horror movies, ranked.
7 Seoul Station
Seoul Station is the prequel to the much-beloved zombie film Train to Busan. While Train to Busan was not an animated film, Seoul Station chooses animation to tell how the zombie outbreak began in the original movie. It begins with a homeless man who passes away around Seoul Station, and he quickly revives as a zombie. There are three main characters in this movie, and each has their specific motives and will do what it takes to achieve them, even if it means killing someone. The movie is loaded with social commentary about contemporary issues in South Korea even if its main focus is surviving the zombie outbreak.
6 Monster House
Considered both a comedy and a horror film, Monster House came out in 2006 and was a commercial success. After a twelve-year-old boy is left in the care of a babysitter, a disliked elderly neighbor is found dead. His house then comes alive and tries attack and eat anyone who tries to come close to it. The neighborhood kids, whose possessions were taken by the deceased neighbor, try to take back their things and must venture inside the house, figuring out its secrets and defeating it in the process. Monster House is refreshing due to its humor and handling of its subjects, as well as its visuals.
Released in 2009, Coraline is an adaptation of a Neil Geiman novel of the same name. After moving into a new home, a young girl named Coraline discovers a door to a parallel universe. There she meets versions of her parents that she likes better and gets whatever she wants. What seems to be an innocent portal to another world quickly turns terrifying as Coraline unravels the secrets behind this world and the sacrifices made to inhabit it. Coraline is a movie that consists of nightmares, of sinister witches lurking under the guise of something once familiar to us.
4 Watership Down
Watership Down is often a book reserved for English literature classes, but this animated adaptation of the novel was an instant success. It was no boring homework assignment, that’s for sure. The movie is about a group of rabbits that leave behind their home to escape a terrible fate, and they must navigate the world above on their own. While the topic of the movie is simplistic and seems geared towards kids, the gory, bloody violence depicted in the movie is not suited for young children.
3 The Plague Dogs
The Plague Dogs was written by the same author of Watership Down: Richard Adams. The same director for the Watership Down movie, Martin Rosen, returned to direct this film. The Plague Dogs carries similar themes to its predecessor, as the story is about two dogs that escape a research laboratory. There they were heavily experimented upon, and when they head out into the real world, they must face the reality that actually is quite cruel. The Plague Dogs is horrifying because of its glimpse into animal experimentation and torture.
2 Wicked City
The Japanese horror and dark fantasy film Wicked City is a wild ride throughout. Set in the late 1900s, every day humans are not aware of an alternate dimension filled with demons. There is a peace treaty between the two worlds, and an organization called the Black Guards maintains order. After a human accidentally has sex with a radical demon, it sets off a very violent and sadistic chain of events. The film can be quite misogynistic at times, but it is a fairly solid horror movie.
1 Perfect Blue
Satoshi Kon’s Perfect Blue predicted life with social media and the Internet before it even happened. A Japanese pop idol named Mima quits her career to become an actress but finds herself tangled up with a stalker that seems to know her every move. People around her start being murdered, Mima slowly becomes more paranoid, and reality begins to warp with fiction. Perfect Blue is an unsettling film when combined with today’s knowledge: this becomes even easier with social media.
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