Movie Feature

5 Scariest Asian Horrors

By Wang DexianMovies - 22 July 2011 11:09 AM | Updated 11:30 AM

5 Scariest Asian Horrors

For many, Asian horror cinema is everything conventional Hollywood horror movies are not. Eschewing the Hollywood staples of cheap scares and over produced images for the thrill of psychological horror and influences of ethic myths and legends, Asian horror cinema has built up a stable of loyal fans that’ll attest to their superiority over Hollywood fare every single time.

The way we’ll explain Asian horror to someone would be: If Hollywood represents instant scares and gratification; then their Asian counterparts are all about the slow burn. Plant that seed in the audience’s mind and they’ll freak themselves out in due time.


Battle Royale

One of the most controversial films of all time, Battle Royale was reportedly labelled "crude and tasteless" by members of Japanese parliament and other government officials after a pre-release screening. An apt description for this film would be an ultra-violent school boy/girl free for all that’s fun, exciting and disturbing all at the same time. This film was one of the first few to kick start the extreme movement in Asian cinema and also mirrors the world’s incredible thirst for reality television.

Scariest Scene: The “hell hath no fury like a woman with a switchblade knife” scene. Watch as Chigusa goes nuts on a guy for scarring her and insinuating they should have sex before they eventually all die. Getting stabbed in the nether regions… that sent shivers down our spines to the edges of our pants. Yikes.

Fear Factor: NNN



We generally regard any movie that can serve as the basis for a crappy Hollywood remake as almost certainly bound to be good. Yep, we just revealed our criteria for judging movies. With that said, the combination of one of the most unlikable lead characters in a film combined with the nice technique of photography to reveal ghosts makes this a highlight for us. Lesson learnt: Don’t photograph your friends raping someone, especially if she’s your then girlfriend. That usually doesn’t go down well with anyone.

Scariest scene: Well hello there, automated blanket. What should have been the first sighting of one of the world’s most innovative products ever, instead turns into a sighting of the main character’s ex-girlfriend as a ghost! The look on Ananda’s face as the blanket slowly moves down… priceless.

Fear Factor: NNNN


Ju-On: The Grudge

Capitalizing on the success of the late 90s horror classic The Ring, Ju-On followed up with yet another tale of the classic Onryo (vengeful spirit). Set in six parts, the story tells an incredibly angry plot about how the spirit of someone who dies with rage and sorrow can leave a stain on a place… resulting in well, the scary mess that takes place in the film. Oh, it got remade too. Sigh.  

Scariest scene: If a bloodied and distorted woman crawling down a flight of stairs towards you with a kid making weird squealing noises isn’t scary… we’ll just have to pat you on the back. Good job, bro.

Fear Factor: NNNN


A Tale of Two Sisters

The highest grossing Korean horror movie ever, we vividly recall staring at its poster and being freaked out of our minds. And of course, you know the drill by now… this movie also inspired another critically despised American remake, so you know it’s good.  An absurd horror film that also has elements that you’d expect from a Shakespearean family tragedy featuring people doing nasty things to the people they love, Tale is a darn stylish and dark movie.

Scariest scene: Thanks to this scene, we learned the best way to liven a fairly boring dinner was to collapse into a fit and choke. And then act like nothing happened. That being said, don’t tell stories that no one else remembers. That usually leads to bad things. And don’t look under the kitchen sink either. New dining etiquette rules, everybody.

Fear Factor: NNNN


The Eye

This film didn’t just inspire a Hollywood remake; it also resulted in Naina, a 2005 Indian remake. Now whenever you have a film with an organ transplant storyline (like the upcoming Tell Tale), we immediately think of the original Eye film. At the heart of the film was a memorable performance by Malaysian actress Angelica Lee and a simple plot by the Pang brothers that still afforded the film some innovation in a relatively stale genre.

Scariest scene: Claustrophobic? Don’t like people with faces that look like they’ve been bludgeoned with a sledgehammer? This scene plays off one of man’s most common fears, claustrophobia, and combines it with a floating ghost. Pump it up with an anxiety causing soundtrack and it just works. Pretty simple. Pretty scary, too.

Fear Factor: NNNN


Also check out the following articles in our scary movie series!


Top 10 “I See Dead People” Movies

The best (and creepiest) films that delve with talking to the dearly departed… and beyond.




The Decade’s 5 Scariest Hollywood Horrors

Our list of scary films doesn’t just scare you. It will haunt you for life.