Movies – Junji Ito: 10 Horror Movies Fans Will Love
Junji Ito is responsible for some of the most horrifying and creative inventions ever featured in manga, and quite frankly, pop culture history. His works contain grotesque monsters and abominations, supernatural occurrences, stomach-churning body horror, and extremely twisted scenarios that one couldn’t even imagine happening in their nightmares. His work has been adapted into live-action works a few times, but none have totally matched the original stories in terms of pure terror and faithful recreations.
Thankfully, fans of this master of horror have plenty of movies from several decades to check out that will surely fulfill their need for Ito-like horror.
10 Kairo (2001)
A depressing watch, Kairo (Pulse in English) is a bleak take on technology affecting humans, and spirits invading the world by feeding off the loneliness and despair caused by it. People are seen through webcams in creepy dark rooms, soulless and possessed, which results in suicides and death. Several characters become affected by this plague, and thus begins the mystery in figuring out why this is happening all around the world. The sheer unnerving feel of the movie, along with the total apocalyptic despair and terrifying ghosts that haunt it, makes the viewing of it all the more creepy and will make viewers want to immediately queue up something light and comforting afterward.
9 The Thing (1982)
One of the classic films of body-horror and horror sci-fi, John Carpenter’s The Thing has influences in every genre of horror and entertainment medium. A team of researchers in Antarctica stumble upon an alien lifeform that can impersonate any living organism, and then completely transform and alter their bodies at will into a grotesque alternate abomination. The number of inventive effects and creature designs in this movie is still unmatched and is some of the most creatively horrifying pieces of work in cinema to this day. Adding sharp teeth, tentacle appendages, or spider legs to a body part that doesn’t typically have them is definitely an effective way to creep out generations of audiences, and the movie is also just a rollicking good time as well.
8 Suspiria (2018)
Most horror fans would objectively agree that Dario Argento’s original 1977 movie is the preferred version, but the 2018 remake by Call Me By Your Name’s Luca Guadagnino is definitely a worthy, and more brutally violent, film for fans of Ito to check out. A female dance academy is led by a secret coven of witches looking for a new human vessel to contain the host witch, who currently exists in an aged, worn body.
They are capable of supernatural powers, such as torturously contorting a dancer’s body during a horrific sequence, and the bloody climax of the film contains most of the witchy mayhem with bodies being gruesomely mauled as dancers are transfixed in a nightmare ritual.
7 Eraserhead (1977)
A seminal work in experimental, surreal filmmaking, Eraserhead was directed by David Lynch, his first feature film, and features a timid, nervous man and his girlfriend, who are trying to care for their newborn baby, which happens to be a humanoid-like worm creature. To explain Eraserhead simply would miss the point, and not do this absolute maniac of a movie justice. The film contains dreamlike and nightmarish scenarios, such as the main character’s head getting his head detached from his body and having it turned into a pencil eraser, and a woman with large chipmunk cheeks dancing on a stage while stomping on small, slimy pod-like creatures. In his works, Ito hints at uncertainty and fear surrounding lifestyle changes and loving relationships, and Eraserhead built a large breeding ground for metaphorically exploring these themes through bizarre stories and imagery.
6 Oculus (2013)
Director Mike Flanagan, responsible for the hit Netflix adaptation of The Haunting Of Hill House and several Stephen King adaptations, directed this little horror film that has gotten more attention in recent years due to his rise in popularity. Oculus features a family torn apart by a demonic mirror, which causes ghostly possessions and terrifying spirits to torment the household. Eerie cinematography and a timeline that jumps between the past and present helps the film to add layers to just how truly horrifying the feeling of one’s family being utterly destroyed by a haunted piece of reflective glass can be. Fans of Ito will respect the attention given to an inanimate object that is responsible for so much terror.
5 It Follows (2014)
What makes It Follows such a memorable horror movie years after its release, is that by the end, there is still no answer as to how and why it exists. A paranormal curse is passed from person to person through sex, and when the main character Jay is suddenly made aware of some “thing” coming for her, the movie becomes a constant state of panic as it could be anywhere, and looking like anyone. The fact that the villain of the movie is a moving, shapeshifting being looking to kill with no rhyme or reason, is an exercise in unbridled, unimaginable horror, and the sky is the limit.
4 Color Out Of Space (2019)
Nicolas Cage and H.P. Lovecraft are the 2 big names that will make any horror fan flock to this movie, featuring colorful performances, creative effects, and a truly insane ending. A family that lives in an idyllic country home is suddenly affected by a meteor that crashes into their lawn, illuminating in a color that is undescribable by anyone that witnessed it.
Soon enough, bizarre happenings occur, behaviors change, and the humans and animals start to… transform. A truly psychedelic experience awaits during the climax, and Ito fans will appreciate the sheer insanity of it all.
3 The Dark And The Wicked (2020)
Supernatural terror and family dynamics are a theme for this list, as Ito fans are aware of the potentials that are introduced to horror with these elements intersecting. The Dark And The Wicked features a family brought together by a dying father, and the horrifying presence that lingers around their grief. In an isolated farmhouse, devilish circumstances start to surround them like a dark cloud, and pure insanity takes over. The film contains several high-profile scares, with nightmarish imagery, frightening demonic chaos, and shocking moments of violence. Not for the faint of heart, this movie is a worthy addition to the list for any Ito fans to check out.
2 Prince Of Darkness (1987)
The second John Carpenter entry on this list, Prince Of Darkness deserves much more attention. Dealing with classic themes such as religion versus science, a professor and his students are brought to the basement of a church that contains a mysterious green liquid. Upon researching, it is determined to be the embodiment of Satan, and all hell literally starts to break loose. Classic rock legend Alice Cooper cameos as one of the crazed people that start to mysteriously surround the church, drawn to its dark power. Throughout the film, people start to have message transmissions through their dreams, featuring a tall figure in a cloak standing in the doorway, and the way the dreams are filmed is very found-footage like. They are extremely effective in making the viewer feel like they themselves are witnessing a dream, as the film delivers on all fronts in a spooky, manic fashion.
1 Jacob’s Ladder (1990)
Popular for being the film to directly influence the Silent Hill video game series, Jacob’s Ladder is a look at extreme PTSD through the eyes of Jacob, portrayed by Tim Robbins. He is plagued by visions, witnesses terrifying monstrosities, and is constantly unaware of his state of being. Nothing is what it seems in the movie, and the character is driven mad by his own demons as several others all surround him. One of the most famous sequences in the movie features Jacob being wheeled on a gurney through a terrifying hospital, containing several unwell patients that get more and more otherworldly the further they go in. Eventually, the floors become splattered with blood and body parts litter the way, and doctors surround Jacob as they try to convince him that “he’s home.”
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