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5 underrated Japanese horror movies

Japanese culture is known all over the world. It is often emulated and unconventional and the Japanese approach to horror is no different. With iconic images such as pale girls with long black hair and a common theme of persecuted women, Japanese horror is often easy to spot. There are also plenty of Japanese-made horror films that don’t live up to the standard and have diverse and often strange sides to Japanese horror cinema.

This list looks at 5 of the weird and scary things service from Japanese horror genre which may have gone unnoticed. There are surreal musicals, scene nightmares, and bloody feminist rallies, meaning there’s something for every fan of the genre to discover.

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RELATED: What makes Japanese horror movies so horror?


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Directed by the legendary Takashi Miike, As the will of the gods sees a classroom full of students pitted against each other and an evil Darumaka as they compete in games designed to kill people. Shun Takahata is lamenting how boring his life is but soon regrets his words as he and the rest of the school are fighting to win a game featuring giant lucky cats, doll with telekinesis, and a cunning polar bear. It is revealed that Shun and his friends are not the only ones participating, students across the globe are also facing similar challenges.


As the will of the gods was released in 2014 and features exploding heads, buckets of blood, and piles of bodies. The design of each game is fun, ridiculous, and grotesque with cool effects and arch-enemies. It’s reminiscent of Battle Royale, but a lot less serious in itself and worth it watch Darumaka sing alone.


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Labels started as it meant continuing with an entire bus full of students shrunk in half by what appeared to be a gust of wind. The only survivor is Mitsuko, who is struggling to come to terms with what she has just witnessed and experienced. As the movie goes on, all the other women die wherever she goes. The scenarios change, but the results don’t. Is it the fate that only Mitsuko survives or is something more nefarious going on?


Filled with symbolism and strange scenarios, Labels It may look a bit rough around the edges but its premise and idea are solid. There are some interesting notions about removing male control and taking back control of your actions. Fate is yours to create its and no matter how many times you get stuck there is always a way out in the end. Also, don’t mess with girls.


Lovely house

1989 Sweet House has been credited as an inspiration for Resident Evil game franchise. A television crew is investigating an abandoned mansion that belongs to the famous artist Ichirō Mamiya. They hope to uncover the secrets of life, death, and possibly some hidden masterpieces in the process. Things go sideways when they find they can’t leave and house full of ghosts and the vampires and every inch of the building wants them dead.


Dark and atmospheric, it’s easy to see how Sweet House affect the early days of Resident Evi, and it also had a joint release with a game of the same name. The house itself is a big trap and there are puzzles to solve to get out. There’s a lot of vanishing people, living shadows, and vengeful ghosts and the movie deserves a Blu-ray release in the near future.


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Another weird movie from director Takashi Miike, Katakuris’ Happiness combines musical, murder and molding to create something truly unique. The film follows the Katakuri family who live and run a bed and breakfast far away. Money is tight, guests are few and far away because the nearby road has not been widened. Meanwhile, the newly divorced eldest daughter meets and falls in love with a man who claims to be a US Navy Officer and is extremely eccentric. When a guest knocks on the door, he commits suicide in his room. Not knowing what to do, the family panicked and threw the body and cleaned the room. Unfortunately, things only got worse from there for Katakuris.


Random scenes go into musical numbers, there are strange clay modeling scenes, threat from volcanic activity, and zombies. This is really a movie that merges genres together and somehow manages to land. The landing was very strange.


Noroi-the-curse

Documentary style footage found Noroi: Curse is a truly terrifying exploration of folk rituals, traditions, and paranoia. Masafumi Kobayashi is a paranormal researcher who has been creating a documentary about strange events around the country for many years. However, before finishing his latest movie, Kobayashi disappeared. What follows are the remnants of his investigation as he pieced together terrible events that all seem to be related.

The events all seem to originate in the same place, a town called Shimokage seems to be performing rituals to appease a demon named Kagutaba. The village was demolished to make way for a dam, could this be the reason the souls are restless? Noroi dripping with horror, a slow and scary movie that builds to a truly astonishing ending.

THAN: This Japanese horror movie is a psychedelic nightmare



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