Daphne’s Den of Darkness: 5 Horror Manga You Should Read

I’ve written before about the rich history of horror in Asian cultures, and the world of manga is no exception. These graphic novels from Japan range across all genres, but horror manga are truly in a class by themselves. Incredible art, unique concepts, and an approach to horror where nothing is too extreme make horror manga a must-read for any horror addict.

Devil’s Line by Ryo Hanada

Vampires are real, but they aren’t the sexy demons of the night that we know from pop culture. Known as Devils, these creatures turn into vicious monsters that are incapable of stopping their blood lust. Some Devil’s try to live in peace with humans, but risk putting their loved ones in danger with their mere existence. Filled with twists, murders, and love, Devil’s Line is a great vampire manga without too much gore.

Uzumaki by Junji Ito

Uzumaki details the story of a town cursed by supernatural spirals. Increasingly bizarre and frightening events follow the characters as they try to escape their town and fates. If you want stunning art and a Lovecraftian storyline (without all the racism), check out Uzumaki.

Parasyte by Hitoshi Iwaaki

Aliens come to Earth, burrowing into human brains to take over their bodies, then eating other humans for sustenance. A high school boy manages to prevent an alien from taking him over, causing the alien to inhabit just his arm. This series is big on body horror and explores heavy themes like humanity and morality.

Ajin: Demi-Human by Tsuina Miura (Story) and Gamon Sakurai (Art)

A small group of humans, the Ajin, are capable of incredible regenerative abilities, making them immortal. Others see them as monsters, but the government sees an opportunity. They use the Ajin for horrific experiments. When some of the Ajin escape, they are hell bent on revenge.

Tokyo Ghoul by Sui Ishida

After his date tries to eat him (literally), Ken Kaneki finds himself transformed into a Ghoul, a creature with super strength and healing that must feed on human flesh to survive. He must now navigate his new life while keeping his darker desires in check.

Have you read these? What would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments!

Daphne’s Den of Darkness: 5 Horror Asian Dramas You Can Watch on Netflix Now

By now, Horror Addicts are familiar with the strong tradition of horror in Asian films (Train to Busan, Parasite, The Ring, etc.). But, with the advent of streaming, we have access to a wider array of movies and shows than ever before. My favorite discovery are Asian dramas, particularly those focused on monsters, ghosts, and death. While these series may not pack in the scares the way a movie might, they’re chock full of atmosphere. Check out what I’ve put on my watch list:

The Ghost Bride (Taiwan/Malaysia, 2020)

This Netflix backed series is based on the book by Yangsze Choo. Li Lan is offered the opportunity of a lifetime: live in security and luxury as part of an illustrious family. But in order to do so, she must become a ghost bride and marry their recently deceased son so he can find peace in the afterlife.

Filled with mystery and danger, this series is compelling and visually astounding.

The Guest (South Korea, 2018)

A powerful demon called The Guest arrives from the East Sea. It possesses the weak, causing them to kill their loved ones and then stab themselves in the eye. Twenty years ago, the demon brought together three children in tragedy. Now that those children are grown, the demon is back and they must do everything in their power to stop it.

The Guest is tense and terrifying from the very beginning. It doesn’t shy from the gruesome acts of violence that characterize the demonic possession (though they are blurred a bit per Korean decency laws). You don’t want to miss out on this tale of terror.

Bring It On, Ghost! (South Korea, 2016)

Bong-pal works as an exorcist, saving up money to eventually get a procedure that will take away his ability to see ghosts. While trying to exorcise a high school, he meets Hyun-ji, a ghost with no memory of who she is and no idea why she can’t move on to the afterlife.

There are some creepy moments scattered throughout, but mostly this is PG rated horror. Part action, part comedy, part romance, Bring It On, Ghost! isn’t scary, but it is a fun ride.

Sweet Home (South Korea, 2020)

Residents of a rundown apartment complex are trapped inside when the apocalypse starts. Monsters of all sorts invade the world around them as the hodgepodge collection of people do their best to survive.

This one’s for the true horror fans. From the beginning, you know you’re in for some gross and menacing monsters. Tense and scary, Sweet Home is a wild ride where no one is safe.

All About Love (Taiwan, 2018)

Ghosts inhabit our world, but for the most part, keep to themselves. Only when a spirit is bent on revenge does it begin to affect the humans around it, and not in a good way.

If you’re looking for a series that really brings the drama, All About Love is for you. Multiple complex storylines interconnect to create a mystery worth watching.

What about you? What are your favorite Asian series on Netflix? Are you there for the scares, the romance, or the drama?

Asian Horror Month: Chilling Chat: Jess Chua

chillingchat

Jess Chua is a writer and editor for a personal development podcast. Her micro-fiction was a runner-up in the Mysterious Photograph contest at Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. She enjoys yoga, healthy cooking, and spending time with her pets.jess_bnw_wc

NTK: How old were you when you discovered horror?

JC: I was possibly five years old when I first started learning about ghosts. I’ve been savoring taking my own sweet time exploring the genre since then.

NTK: What is your favorite horror movie?

JC: Hmm, it’s hard to pick just one. Some of my favorites include Psycho, The Shining, Pet Sematary. The Stepford Wives (1975). Alien, Silence of The Lambs, and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974).

I recently added some Asian horror movies (like Third Eye and 23:59) onto my Netflix queue and look forward to checking those out.

The Ring (Japanese; 1998) was very creepy, too! I watched a little bit of it long ago and will need to finish watching it someday…

NTK: Do you have a favorite horror television show?

JC: I was very drawn in by Bates Motel and Kingdom (South Korean). I found the latter’s portrayal of zombies refreshing.

NTK: What is your favorite horror novel?

JS: Psycho was a slim book that packed a punch. I enjoyed the pacing and range of human emotions in Pet Sematary.

Aside from novels, I enjoy short stories in this genre as it allows me to check out different worlds and characters in a short amount of time.

NTK: Who is your favorite horror author?

JS: I’ve been a big fan of Edgar Allan Poe since I was sixteen. His haunting tales of the macabre stay with me long after I’ve finished reading them.

I almost have the full collection of out-of-print books by the late Singaporean writer Damien Sin, so he’s definitely another one of my favorite horror authors. I appreciate the originality and authentic, local flavor of his writing.

NTK: What inspires your writing?

JS: The highs and lows of the human psyche and human behavior.

NTK: If you were to meet a reader for the first time, and they asked for a recommendation from you about one of your works, what is the one book or story you would recommend to them?

JS: I would probably recommend a dark fiction chapbook that I’d like to compile in the near future. It’d be a convenient way for a new reader to check out my writing style and ideas.

NTK: Do your characters have free will? Or do you plan their every move?

JS: I think a 50-50 approach is fun to take. The characters sometimes have free will within a set idea that I have beforehand of what I’d like them to experience or be like. Visualizing the scenes they’re in is always a creative and analytical exercise.

NTK: What is your favorite monster?

JS: The Pontianak (a malevolent female spirit in Malaysian and Indonesian folklore), King Kong, or Godzilla.

NTK: As an Asian writer in the horror community, how has your experience been?

JS: As a writer of mixed ethnicity (Chinese-Eurasian) who has lived in different countries, it’s sometimes difficult to find the right balance in a story or piece of creative work. It can become very anxiety-inducing to think about whether the characters or story is inclusive enough to readers of different cultures and backgrounds. I try to stay focused on the plot and characters, and if race or geographic setting is integral to the story, then I do my best to write about it in an authentic way.

NTK: What does the future hold for you? What works do HorrorAddicts have to look forward to?

JS: I’d like to continue working on short stories and reading the horror anthologies on my bookshelf. One of my stories will be published in a Gluttony-themed anthology and I have some Singapore-based ghost stories in mind. Southeast Asia has a rich variety of paranormal lore which have stayed with me, even though I’ve lived halfway across the world for over a decade now. Thanks for checking out my interview–and best wishes for 2021!

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Enjoy Last Call a short story by Jess Chua at HorrorAddicts.com on January 8, 2021