Top 10: Asian Horror

I absolutely adore Asian horror. There’s just something about which is completely different from American or European horror and over the years there have been some great films to come out of the Far East. Here is my personal Top 10 List:

10. Ringu (1998)


In my opinion this is better than the American version but I do understand that I am probably in the minority here. At any rate it’s such a brilliant concept and, in the interests of fairness, both versions do do it justice. A real creeper of a film! (

9. I Saw The Devil (2010)

i saw the devil

You could argue that this is a thriller film but I think there are enough aspects of horror in this to at least class it as a crossover. One man’s quest for revenge leads to a rather serious game of cat and mouse with the sort of unnerving gore that you would expect from any decent Asian horror flick. The only reason this film isn’t higher on this list is that at a solid 140 minutes plus, I do feel that there are a few sections which could have been shorter and at times it can drag. Nevertheless it’s one you should definitely seek out. (

8. Battle Royale (2000)


Another crossover film here. Although not the best film I’ve ever seen I thoroughly enjoyed this as it has a really great balance of dystopia, action, gore and some great characters and acting. An all-round success. (

7. Infection (2004)


Probably one of the less well-known titles on this list but one worthy of its inclusion. A good, old-fashioned J-horror concept with some rather bizarre and over the top gore at times, this is a well-crafted piece with a really great ending. I won’t say anything more here to avoid spoiling it for anybody who hasn’t seen it yet. (

6. Audition (1999)


Takashi Miike’s first entry on this list. The slow build-up is well-worked in this adaptation and in my opinion builds successfully on the original short story by Ryu Murakami (which I would also urge you to read). It’s worth sticking with, as the ground work that is laid in the first two acts makes the third act that much more chilling and creepy. Comparisons have been drawn between this and Stephen King’s Misery and it is probably one of a relatively small number of films where the bad guy is actually a bad woman! This is one not to be missed. Kiri, kiri, kiri, kiri… (

5. A Tale Of Two Sisters (2003)


The second South Korean film on this list has become an instant cult classic since its release a decade ago. Great characters, superb acting (particularly from the relatively young, titular sisters), a fantastic plot and script and a good dollop of gore thrown in for good measure. This is a film that will keep you guessing right to the bitter end and is one you will want to watch again and again – if for nothing else than to work out what the Hell was going on! (

4. Oldboy (2003)


Another South Korean horror flick – the industry just keeps getting stronger and stronger over there. Probably more well-known than its fellow Korean entries on this list, Oldboy is simply put a fantastic film. If you haven’t seen it yet, what are you waiting for? Go and watch it now! You will not be disappointed. (

3. Ju-On (2000)


Forget the Sarah Michelle-Gellar remake, in fact forget the later Japanese remake this is the original and the best. Just about the scariest film I have ever seen, it really is only for serious genre fans. You can read more on why I love this film on my list of ‘Top Real Scares’. (

2. Ichi The Killer (2001)


Takashi Miike’s second film on this list – he is one of my all-time favourite horror directors. This film is absolutely insane, there really is no better way to describe it. ‘Gore and fap galore’ is how I’ve described it to friends in the past – strangely enough it hasn’t convinced them to watch it with me! Nevertheless, it’s one of my favourite films of all time and if you like Asian horror this is one not to miss. (

1. Noroi: The Curse (2005)


Like Ju-On this film is also on my list of ‘Top Real Scares’ (see here: A sort of Japanese version of The Blair Witch Project but in my opinion far scarier, better crafted and with a much fuller and richer backstory. As the found-footage sub-genre is starting to become slightly over-saturated in the modern market it’s worth taking a look at this film to remind yourself that there are some really great films in amongst the rubbish. (

Honourable Mentions:

Silk (2006) is a half-decent effort from Taiwan that has some interesting new takes on the standard ghost story (

Tokyo Gore Police (2008) has to be seen to be believed. I’m currently planning a list of ‘Top Gore Fests’ on which this film would most definitely feature. That is pretty much the only reason I didn’t include this film in my final Top 10.

The Host (2006) is South Korea’s answer to Godzilla. Although I didn’t enjoy it quite enough for it to find itself on my final list I would still recommend it as a fun and very well-made film. (