Animated films aren’t restricted to kid-friendly stories and go beyond just watching Scooby-Doo marathons. Horror is a genre well-tapped by the world of animation, and contrary to what most people believe, it does get scary. Be it multi-film franchises, old players like Disney, new entrants, or classic icons, well-made animated horror flicks deserve a round of applause.
Since everyone’s tastes are different when it comes to consuming horror-based content, we’ve picked films that are unique, stunningly-made, and have something for everyone. The films will get scarier than what you expect, so be sure to tuck inside your blanket while watching. Violence, suspense, eerie creatures and psychological humour, the movies will surely keep you entertained and on the edge of your seats.
1) Vampire Hunter D (1985)
Animation studio: Madhouse Studios
In this animated film, the future is bleak for the world’s remaining humans, who inhabit a vast wasteland and spend the majority of their time trying to get rid of blood-sucking vampires and other demonic beings. A supernaturally-skilled swordsman known as D, who is half vampire himself, is hired by mortals to track down the villainous Count Magnus Lee, who recently attacked a local girl. When D rides into Lee’s secret dugout, a bloodbath follows.
Vampire Hunter D is a gothic piece of work. Long shots of old broken buildings and foggy outdoors make the film true to its concept and quite interesting to view. It has a good understanding of what makes any worthwhile horror film work, which is its atmosphere, and does everything it can to deliver the best. With vampires, werewolves, and all other things you’d spot at night, this film is a classic watch that mustn’t be missed.
2) Van Helsing: The London Assignment (2004)
Animation studio: Universal Cartoon Studios
This animated prequel to the 2004 summer blockbuster Van Helsing finds the titular monster hunter heading to London to try and stop the horrific Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Hugh Jackman provides his voice to the film, with David Wenham, Alun Armstrong, and Robbie Coltrane also reprising their roles. The animation was produced by Sunwoo Entertainment.
The film is amazing and boasts some good animation. It is almost like a James Bond or Sherlock Holmes mystery. You’d see evil deeds happening throughout, mysterious ladies walking at night, and shrivelled corpses. The gothic theme put together with the anime style of art and the ghastly visuals make Van Helsing: The London Assignment a very satisfying watch.
3) Corpse Bride (2005)
Animation studio: 3 Mills Studios
Victor (Johnny Depp) and Victoria’s (Emily Watson) families have arranged their marriage. Though they like each other, Victor is nervous about the ceremony. While he’s in a forest practising his lines for the wedding, a tree branch becomes a hand that drags him to the land of the dead. It belongs to Emily, who was murdered after eloping with her love and wants to marry Victor. Victor must get back above-ground before Victoria marries the villainous Barkis Bittern (Richard E. Grant).
As expected from a Tim Burton movie, Corpse Bride is gruesome, visually imaginative, and emotionally bittersweet. The animated horror flick classifies as a light family entertainer but also gets scary at regular intervals. An excellent mix of rot and romance, you will love how Corpse Bride combines the two most-loved film genres – romance and horror. The animation is exquisite, the songs are captivating, and the film is both spooky and sweet.
4) Monster House (2006)
Animation studio: DreamWorks Animation, ImageMovers
In the fun film’s plot, the adults do not believe three youths’ assertion that a neighbouring residence is a living creature that aims to cause them harm. With Halloween approaching soon, the trio must find a way to destroy the structure before the innocent people of the friendly neighbourhood meet ghastly ends.
One of the best animated horror movies, Monster House is the most enjoyable family entertainment. With a script that is sharp, scary, funny, this makes a good watch for the kids as well. The dialogues are fresh with some sequences that take the viewers on an excursion into fears of places you don’t want to walk past at night. The tween-oriented family film unabashedly manages to frighten you at times, but doesn’t bring the house down.
5) Dead Space: Downfall (2008)
Animation studio: Film Roman, the animation unit of Starz Media
In this animated masterpiece, miners labouring at an outpost in deep space unearth a bizarre alien artifact. After captain Matthius dispatches a team to bring the artifact on board for scientific study, a series of horrifying and unexplainable deaths happen with members of his crew. In an atmosphere of growing paranoia, security head Alissa Vincent struggles to determine the cause of the mysterious rash of violence spreading through the ship.
There’s nothing bright and sunny about Dead Space: Downfall. The film is brutal, savage, and unrelenting. You will see torn bodies, horrifying beings, blood-soaked spaceships and tons of other pertifying elements that make the film unsuitable for kids. The animation is well done, the use of colours is smart as you’d find nothing vibrant, and the visuals set the mood for a perfect horror watch.
6) Coraline (2009)
Animation studio: Laika Pandemonium Films
While exploring her new home, a girl named Coraline discovers a secret door, behind which lies an alternate world that closely mirrors her own but, in many ways, is better. She rejoices in her discovery, until her other mother and the rest of the parallel family try to keep her there forever. Coraline must use all her resources and bravery to make it back to her own family and life.
Entertaining, funny and suspenseful, Coraline is the perfect movie that calls for a good family time together. It is meant for all age groups and the best part about the film is that it never stops taking artistic risks. The story is a winner and the cinematic technology is brilliant too. The film is dark, understated, and wonderful. Coraline includes both bone-chilling and emotionally scarring moments. The animation is eye-popping and the twists are sure to keep you glued.
7) Frankenweenie (2012)
Animation studio: Walt Disney Pictures, Tim Burton Productions
Young Victor Frankenstein is a science nerd and outsider at school, but he does have one good friend – his dog, Sparky. But then, tragedy strikes, and Sparky is no more. Victor is heartbroken, but his science teacher gives him an idea of how to bring Sparky back to life. The experiment is successful, and all goes well, until Victor’s fellow students steal his secret and use it to resurrect other dead animals that leads to monstrous consequences.
Yet another Tim Burton masterpiece on our list, Frankenweenie is thoroughly enjoyable. Less eccentric and more classic in style than some of Burton’s acclaimed earlier works, Frankenweenie justifies the genre and brings back the filmmaker’s old dark magic. It happens quite rarely that a horror flick brings out the child in us, but surprisingly, Frankenweenie is successful in doing that endearingly. Quite keeping up with his obsession with dead beings, Burton’s horror classic is a treat to watch from start to finish.
8) Mad God (2021)
Animation studio: Tippett Studio
Mad God is a stop-motion animation horror movie about a masked character called The Assassin. The film chronicles The Assassin’s journey through nightmarish landscapes that are populated by monstrous creatures. The film is unique and has almost no dialogue. The plot is well-defined and reinstates the fact that not every film is driven by a narrative. Phill Tippett’s genius work successfully creates a ghostly world with wretched creatures and tortured souls.
Feeding all the horrors of the subconscious mind; every shot, every creature, and every set that is a part of this masterpiece is beautifully animated. Full of creativity, the film serves as an excellent tribute to the timeless art of stop-motion animation. Fans of both horror and the sci-fi genres will have a great time indulging in this imaginative film. The visual effects are stunning and surreal.
~ Hope you enjoyed the list!