Horror anime is good, but there is just a certain essence to horror that you just can't transfer onto the television screen. Probably because the censors just wouldn't allow it in most cases. Horror manga gives you the entertainment of pictures while still keeping the rich and detailed stories of writing. More than any other genre of manga, horror manga often flies really quite low under people's radar. At a certain point in the horror genre, you stop getting well woven stories and scares and start getting into guro. Guro is essentially just highly sexualized ultra-violent torture manga, some people have delved too far and it turned them off horror manga forever. Here are some good suggestions that wouldn't stain your mind and eyes forever.
I have also provided recommendations for horror animes as well, most of which have very decent mangas as well. However, for the sake of variety, I have left them off this particular list.
While on his way home from a class trip, the train that Teru and his class were riding violently crashes and is trapped in a tunnel under a mountain. It seems that the only other two people that are alive are Ako and Nobuo, two of his classmates. They attempt to dig themselves out of the bleak situations and stay alive. However, the lack of light, food, and the ever growing stench of the dead is driving one of them insane. With the sudden earthquakes that keep shuttering the tunnel, it suggests that the outside world is no safer than being trapped in a tunnel with an insane little boy.
Dragon Head is a head first dive into the psychological. At first, you think it is going to be a simple survival story, but then it becomes a deranged post apocalyptic adventure full of insane people and deadly landscapes. it is a great story that really makes you think about the psychology of people when the world has ended or when they are trapped in the dark. There is vivid imagery and it is quite the thought provoking story.
Ookami no Wolf Guy
Middle aged teacher Aoshika is going out of her mind trying to figure out what happened last night. She swears she saw a young high school student brutally beaten and hit by a car, however the student Inugami is perfectly fine and sitting in her class. What Aoshika did not witness was Inugami transforming into a werewolf like beast and slaughtering all those thugs en masse.
This is probably my favorite manga on this list. I enjoy a good werewolf story, emphasis on the good, and Wolf Guy does deliver. It delivers with devastatingly beautiful art as well, which sometimes makes it hurt all the more as there are some very heart breaking scenes in this one. I enjoy Wolf Guy because it deviates from the typical tortured and brooding werewolf stereotype. Though inugami is fairly brooding, he has a very pleasing sense of humor.
After a strange earthquake, an elementary school completely disappears leaving only a black hole deep into the Earth. Police and parents believe that the students and staff of the school have all perished somehow. However, the school was actually transported into a barren wasteland. Seeing this, the school erupts in a panic. Sho Takamatsu and his friends attempt to find out what happened while trying to stay alive.
Drifting Classroom is probably one of the most engaging stories in a horror manga that there ever was. In this manga, you think you get used to one situation and then BAM the situation changes completely and the survival rates change as well. The author really gives you some great insight into the minds of both adults and children when put into utterly stressful situations. This is not a manga for the light hearted as there are quite a few scenes of graphic violence.
The small town of Kurozu-cho is cursed. It is not cursed by some being, demon, spirit, person, or what have you. It is cursed by a pattern--Uzumaki. Uzumaki is the name for the spiral pattern and it is all over this town. At first it is seen on inconsequential things like seashells or ferns. However, the spirals begin to mark people's bodies. This pattern is leading to a madness that is settling over the town. As the madness spreads the inhabitants of this small town are pulled deeper into a whirlpool in which there is no return.
Uzumaki is so utterly chilling and artful, it was even named one of the American Library Associations' Top Ten Graphic Novels for Teens in 2009. Uzumaki is kind of like the perfect bit of horror, keeping true to what makes Asian horror movies so much more chilling. It has very little violence and uses intense imagery and storytelling to create a chilling affair. Which is why is also spawned its own live action horror movie. Be prepared to be freaked out by all the spiral shaped human beings.
There is a sinister game being played around Japan referred to as 'Rabbit Doubt'. In this game you pretend to be a bunch of rabbits in a colony, however one rabbit is chosen to be the wolf and each night kills another rabbit. The rabbits must then decide who is the wolf before it is too late. Some kids choose to meet up and play this game in real life. For a group of kids, the do just that. However, whomever was chosen to be the wolf has taken it too seriously. they are killing for real. Can these kids discover the wolf before they all meet an unpleasant end?
Doubt is a great horror mystery with some really creepy rabbit heads to boot. This is a short manga, like Uzumaki and was really quite popular when it was released. what really makes this special is that it has more twists and turns than an M. Night Shyamalan movie. Some murder mysteries like this the murderer is completely obvious, however in Doubt they keep you utterly perplexed right up to the end. Doubt is kind of like reading a Saw movie as well, since there are some very creative deaths.
These are just a few of the best selected from my personal manga library. If you have been fortunate to see all of these or have a specific sort of manga in mind, leave a comment. I can give more suggestions if you want them!