Do horror mangas give you spooky dreams? One might think so, as horror manga takes readers into a world of horror and terror. In horror manga, the reality is often warped or distorted to create the most haunting scenes imaginable. Whether they’re dealing with vampires, zombies, ghosts, or other supernatural beings from Eastern folklore, horror manga artists have no problem creating a nightmare for their readers! So if you want to get your scare on without having to go out this Halloween season (or any time of year!), check out our list of the 9 best horror mangas that will give you spooky dreams!
1) Hellsing by Kouta Hirano
Hellsing is a horror manga written and illustrated by Kouta Hirano. It tells the story of a secret vampire-hunting organization, as led by Integra Hellsing, along with her reluctant servant, Seras Victoria. The series primarily focuses on Alucard (the original “Dracula”), who works for Hellsing under Integra’s command.
Hellsing revolves around the adventures of three different characters; Alucard, formerly known as Count Dracula; Seras Victoria or Sergeant Major Victoria in some versions; and Integra Wingates Hellsing II overtime in their battles against supernatural forces that threaten to destroy Great Britain.
2) Highschool of the Dead by Daisuke Sato
What is horror? It’s when something happens in the story that makes you want to scream or run away. The best horror stories are those that make you think, “What if this happened to me?”
And what could be more frightening than a zombie apocalypse happening at high school!? That’s exactly what Highschool of the Dead is about! The manga follows a group of students trapped inside their school as they try to survive against zombies. They are full of horror because it doesn’t matter if they know how to fight zombies or not, they still have no way out. And there are also some other factors making them scared because it may be possible for people who die from being bitten by zombies can come back alive…
So, do you think they’ll live happily ever after?
3) Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba
Death Note is a horror manga series created by writer Tsugumi Ohba and illustrator Takeshi Obata. The story follows Light Yagami, a high school student who discovers a supernatural notebook from which he can kill anyone simply by writing their name in it. He begins to use the book to punish criminals he deems unworthy of life, while an international police organization tries to stop him with L’s help. Death Note was first serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump magazine between December 2003 and May 2006; the 108 chapters were later collected into 12 volumes published between 2004 and 2006. In 2007, Death Note became an anime television series aired on Nippon Television for 37 episodes, which was adapted from the original manga series’ 12 volumes. A live-action film adaptation followed in 2006 and a second anime series was produced that covered the events of the manga series.
4) Uzumaki (Spirals) by Junji Ito
Spirals are a horror manga series by horror manga artist Junji Ito. In the horror, spirals represent the curse of living too long. The characters in the horror have been cursed to live for eternity or at least until they find a way to break free from their curse. One character is named Kurama and he has a spiral on his back that never stops growing as it absorbs everything around it which means that all plants, animals, buildings, and people become part of him. He becomes more powerful with each passing day but also more insane because his conscience will be lost forever if he does not stop absorbing things including other humans who make up 1/5th of his body mass.
5) Kami no Kodomo (Child of God) by Usamaru Furuya
Kami no Kodomo is a horror manga series by Usamaru Furuya, who also created the horror manga series, Cat Soup. The story follows a young girl named Chiko as she and her friends explore an abandoned house where they find out that it belonged to one of their teachers. They end up meeting with some ghosts who tell them about how they died and try to warn them not to go into the basement because there’s something down there that could hurt them.
The ghosts then take over the bodies of Chiko and her friend Keiichi for a brief period to show what happens when someone goes into the basement without being warned first. When they stop possessing them, all three children are left traumatized by what happened and start losing their minds.
6) Parasyte by Hitoshi Iwaaki
Parasyte is a horror manga written by Hitoshi Iwaaki. It was serialized in Kodansha’s Afternoon magazine from November 1988 until August 1995, with the chapters collected into 18 tankōbon volumes. An anime adaptation of the series aired on Nippon Television (NTV) from October 8, 2014, to March 19, 2015, and was released in Japan on DVD and Blu-ray Disc volumes containing two episodes each. The manga was published in North America by Tokyopop from 2006 to 2010, while the anime adaptation has been licensed by Sentai Filmworks.
Parasyte centers on a 17-year-old male named Shinichi Izumi, who lives with his mother and father in suburban Tokyo. One night, worm-like aliens called Parasytes invaded Earth, taking over the brains of human hosts by entering through their ears or noses. One Parasyte attempt to crawl into Shinichi’s ear while he sleeps, but fails since he is wearing headphones, and enters his body by burrowing into his arm instead, taking over his right hand and is named Migi.
Iwaaki said that he wanted to create horror manga that is “unconventional” and “isn’t stereotypical or cliché.” He decided on the alien infection theme because he felt it was a scenario not typically used in horror stories. Because Shinichi is an average teenage boy, Iwaaki believed readers could more easily relate to him rather than someone who was a horror story “expert.” Migi was meant to be a horror element that created “a rift between the reader and the main character,” which would keep readers unsettled. Iwaaki added that horror manga typically uses a “more manipulative” approach in portraying horror, so he wanted a more subtle type of horror where there is no clear threat to the characters, and he also wanted elements to occur which are “too sudden” for horror manga. Iwaaki said that horror stories typically end when the horror element is destroyed but found it more frightening if no clear resolution was presented; because of this, he added Migi to the story despite only planning on using him for one chapter.
7) Hell Child (Jigoku Tsuushin) by Mitsuhisa Tamura
Hell Child is a horror manga by Mitsuhisa Tamura. The story follows a young girl named Rin Okumura who, after being attacked by demons, learns she is the daughter of Satan. As such, she uses her newfound abilities to fight against evil forces that try to take over the world.
Unlike many horror mangas which rely on gore and violence for their horror factor, Hell Child relies more on psychological horror as it delves into what it means to be born with an ungodly lineage. It also explores the moral ambiguity between good and evil in its focus on humanity’s capacity for both kindness and cruelty.
The most frightening aspect of Hell Child may not be the monsters or ghosts themselves but rather how human beings are often the most psychologically terrifying horror of all.
8) Kurozu-Cho (Black Blizzard) by Junji Ito
Junji Ito is one of horror manga’s most influential artists. His works are characterized by horror and death, often with a heavy emphasis on the body’s physical reactions to fear or horror, like screams and blood splatterings.
Kurozu-Cho (Black Blizzard) is about an old mansion in the middle of nowhere that has been abandoned for decades after mysterious murders occurred there. The protagonist suspects it might be haunted, but investigates anyway because he hopes to find some gold coins hidden inside. What he finds instead are bodies frozen in time, corpses with their limbs outstretched as if they were running away from something…or someone. He realizes that this place was once a psychiatric hospital during World War II where patients were tortured and murdered. He must find a way to escape before he becomes the next victim of Kurozu-cho’s curse.
9) Tokyo Ghoul by Sui Ishida
Tokyo Ghoul is a horror manga that will give you spooky dreams. Tokyo Ghoul, also known as Tokyo Zombie in the UK, is horror manga series written and illustrated by Sui Ishida. The story takes place in an alternate reality where ghouls live among humans and act like them to avoid being detected (they only eat human flesh). The protagonist of the story is Ken Kaneki, a college student who was half-ghoul after undergoing surgery following a traffic accident. His meeting with Rize Kamishiro triggers his transformation into a one-eyed ghoul. Throughout most of the series, he struggles between staying alive or becoming what’s known as “half-human.” He has been ranked number one on “Manga’s Strongest Uke” and “Uke of the Year” Lists.