Horror movies recommended to scare away summer heat

By Kay

It’s a fact of life that summers in Japan are hot and humid, and the Japanese people have a long history of trying to find ways to cool down in hot weather. One tradition that has come about as a result is the telling of terrifying horror stories in the summer, for the purpose of getting “chilled with terror”. And right now with the summer in full swing in Japan, we are indeed in need of some “chilling.”

Well, to help those of us desperate to feel just even a little bit cooler, Japanese entertainment group Culture Convenience Club (CCC), which operates Tsutaya, one of the largest DVD rental chains in Japan, has released a list of the 20 most-rented horror movies in Japan over the past three decades (1983 to 2012 to be exact). So, let’s see which movies made the list.

Below is the list published by CCC – they’ve even rated the “scare factor” of each film on a scale of one to three stars, with three being the scariest.

  1. “The Sixth Sense” starring Bruce Willis, directed by M. Night Shyamalan ★★★
  2. “Constantine” starring Keanu Reeves, directed by Francis Lawrence ★
  3. “Van Helsing” starring Hugh Jackman, directed by Stephen Commers ★
  4. “Juon“ (Japanese version of “The Grudge”) starring Megumi Okina, directed by Takashi Shimizu ★★★
  5. “Ring" (Japanese version) starring Nanako Matusushima, directed by Hidoe Nakata ★★★
  6. “Chakushin Ari" (One Missed Call) starring Ko Shibasaki, directed by Miike Takashi ★★
  7. “Paranormal Activity” starring Katie Featherston, directed by Oren Peli ★★★
  8. “28 Days Later…” starring Cillian Murphy, directed by Danny Boyle ★★
  9. “Rasen” (second movie in the Japanese Ring series) starring Miki Nakatani, directed by Hideo Nakata ★★
  10. “The Blair Witch Project” starring Michael C. Williams, directed by Daniel Myrick & Eduardo Sánchez ★★★
  11. “The Others” starring Nicole Kidman, directed by Alejandro Amenábar ★★★
  12. “The Ring” starring Naomi Watts, directed by Gore Verbinski ★★
  13. “Dawn of the Dead (2004)” starring Sarah Polley, directed by Zack Snyder ★★
  14. “Juon 2″ (Japanese version) starring Noriko Sakai, directed by Takashi Shimizu ★★
  15. “Chakushin Ari 2 (One Missed Call 2) starring Mimura, directed by Renpei Tsukamoto ★★
  16. “Sleepy Hollow” starring Johnny Depp, directed by Tim Burton ★★
  17. “Underworld: Evolution” starring Kate Beckinsale, directed by Len Wiseman ★
  18. “Silent Hill” starring Radha Mitchell, directed by Christophe Gans ★★
  19. “Ghost Ship” starring Julianna Margulies, directed by Steve Beck ★★
  20. “Freddy vs. Jason” starring Robert Englund, directed by Ronny Yu ★★

So, what do you think? It’s not surprising to see movies from the "Ring" series, both the Japanese version and American version, make the list. There are some thoroughly terrifying classics like “The Exorcist”, “The Omen” or ”The Shining” that aren’t on the list, but I guess it’s difficult for older movies to rank high on a DVD rental list.

One movie I’m surprised is not on the list is “Cube” – now, that is one seriously scary movie which I would recommend to anyone who loves horror. I would also have expected to see “Saw” on the list, as the series was quite popular in Japan, but maybe the movie is a bit too gruesome to have mass appeal. Well, I’m sure you all have your favorite horror movies. Do let us know if there are any you can recommend to chill us to our bones on a hot summer night. Source: ITmedia (Japanese)

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reading the crime section is horror enough for me, and half the movies are action movies, why no dark water(japanese version). the pulse, uzemaki etcetera

2 ( +3 / -1 )

How about any Michael Moore movie?

Ring was scary, especially when that woman crawled out of the TV set, lol!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Really? Setsuden measures at their worst. Scary movies usually trigger conditions similar to fight or flight reflex, which increases metabolism and therefore increases body heat rather than reduce it. Worst of all, it can trigger increased sweating, which in Japan's humidity just shuts down the evaporation of sweat.

If you want to watch a movie to stay cool, go to a movie theater with air conditioning and don't complain about not using your own AC.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

How about finding a FOREIGN boyfriend, and help with the HISTORICAL LOW birthrate ? I'm READY and WILLING to assist with this national crisis.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Inside. Silent House. Insidious. I Saw the Devil.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I agree with YongYang, they need Insidious on this list. By far one of the scariest ghost films I have seen. The term 'horror' movie is quite broad though. There are like 10 different sub-genres of horror and they are all quite different. Seems to be a mixture of slashers, thrillers and paranormal themed films on this list.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I agree with some on this list , but ''Sleepy Hollow'' ''Underworld'' movies and Van Helsing''? The anime'' Hellsing'' is more scarier than that movie.

My tastes in horror movies do vary , My choices are:

1) ''The Exoricist'',

2) Suspiria - Dario Argento :if you don't know him, please try his movies.

3) Last House on The Left- the original Wes Craven one, not the remake.

4)Ju-on- The first one

5) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre- Leatherface and cannibal hillbillies..

6)Dead Snow- A nice little treat from the Norwegians

7) Ring- the original, because the sequels bordered on the ridiculous.

8) The Cabin in the Woods


10) Glitter- Nothing is scarier than watching Mariah Carey act. Okay, I'm kidding. ''Wrong Turn''.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Oh I forgot and I kick myself for forgetting to add to the list ''Poltergeist''.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

'Jacob's Ladder' is my favorite American psychological horror.

For Japanese movies I would add 'Kairo' (Pulse).

The Korean film 'A Tale of Two Sisters' was also very good.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Practically any movie watched in air conditioned theatres could keep you cool for atleast a couple of hours. One could then have lunch at some restaurant sitting right under the aircon. Then head to cool-off@book-off and try and read some books and again choose a perfect location under the aircon. Finally, try to window shop in a dept. store. Finally tired of doing nothing? No worries, it's time for a cool dinner in a cool restaurant. Ah, last but not the least, ice-cream at ice cream parlour will definitely cool off. Is it too early to head back home? Oh don't worry, circle once in Yamanote line. Now that you are so cool, please head back home and maybe watch horror movies listed above (just for courtesy).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Don't agree with a lot of the movies listed, but I do agree with horror being awesome (so long as it's on film).

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Ravenous definitley belongs on the list, what's "cooler" than cannibals in the snows of the Sierra Nevada wilderness?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Ring" and "Joun" are pretty scary, yes, but I would also add "Dark Water", "Poltergest" and the original "The Haunting" to that list.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

You kidding me? Those aren't scary..and blair witch is on that list lol. Sixth Sense is ok though. One Missed Call 1 and 3 I liked better. I can recommend some good horrors, I been watching ton of great Thai horror lately. "The Scare," and "White Curse," but I guess they aren't going into the really gorey hardcore thrill stuff.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I agree with Kairo and for Thai horror, "Shutter" (the original, the American version took all the scarey parts out.) and "The Ghost of Mae Nak".

TokyoHipHop - I've not seen "The Scare" or "White Curse." Thanks. I look them up.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There's not really much point commenting on the contents of the list (apart from surprise at wrong expectations) as it's just a list of the most rented films, it has nothing to do with the horror factor/rating but is simply the mass appeal factor, like the author says.

Having said that, I'm surprised at Constantine being no.2. Never even heard of it but it seems to have been popular here. Was it any good?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"The Exorcist" Mike Oldfield wrote a classic with Tubular Bells.

Followed by Omen(Original).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Surprising the list don't include "Ring" and "Spiral" the japanese original versions which are superior to the hollywood ones.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's Me

The original Ring is there isn't it? At no.5.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


My bad haven't slept for 43hrs and looks like I won't for the next 16hrs either.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

i'd definitely recommend constantine, sleepy hollow and the ju-on series, maybe not scary, but definitely worth watching

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's Me

Sounds like a horror movie of your own. Don't need any of these!

0 ( +0 / -0 )


Used to it not the longest stretch I have done. Just moving another client (who is outsourcing to us) in-house both hardware and software.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Attack of the you don't have an air-con!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Van Helsing? Really? I watch John Carpenter's 'The Thing' every summer- so chilled. Also, the Finnish film 'Let The Right One In' will keep your inner core cool; it's American remake 'Let Me In' is also pretty good and easier to track down.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

no no no!!! juon and 1 missed call are good BUT WHAT ABOUT SAW?!!! CHUCKY???!! CANDY MAN?! hellraiser? hostel? ju on lady in white? (so good), the uninvited had a cool twist. dude come on~ add some gore to the list! lol

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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