Thursday, October 4, 2018

Horror Movies Based on True Events

Here is a collection of horror films that claim to be based on or inspired by true events, whether you believe the accounts these films did make an impact and are some of the most popular horror films of their time. 

Psycho (1960)

Psycho tells the story of a young woman who embezzles money from her job and is murdered by the owner of the isolated motel she stays in. Inspired by the Robert Block book, Pyscho was based on the infamous deeds of the Wisconsin farmer Ed Gein who was suspected of murdering a number of women and turning their bodies into household items and clothing. 

The Exorcist (1973)

The most shocking movie of 1973 centered around two priests who try to exorcize an evil spirit that has taken over the body of a teen girl. The movie was inspired by a 1949 account of a young boy who was given an exorcism after psychiatrists and psychologists could not help. 

Deranged (1974)

This 1974 horror film would use the crimes of Ed Gein to tell the story of a farmer who dug up bodies to provide his deceased mom with companionship. His activities would lead him to seek out local women to murder and add to his macabre collection. 

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Inspired by the grisly crimes of Ed Gein, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was one of most shocking movies in its day and has remained one of the most famous horror movies based on a true story even if it was only inspired. The tale of Leatherface and his cannibal family have spawned numerous sequels, reboots and a dedicated horror convention held annually in Bastrop, Texas. 


 The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976)

In 1946 the town of Texarkana was in a state of fear after a masked individual murdered five young people who were parked in isolated quiet areas. The one survivor would describe a masked individual but no one was ever arrested for the crimes and to this say the identity of the killer remains a mystery. The fictionalized accounts of these murders would appear in a pair of movies that would be released in 1976 and 2014. 

Eaten Alive (1977)

This 1977 Tobe Hooper film has a swamp-dwelling hotel owner who feeds people he kills to his crocodiles. The movie is based on the true story of a Texas man named Joe Ball who was a bootlegger and saloon owner who built a pond to hold 6 alligators that he used to feed his victims to. He is suspected of killing 20 women.

Amityville Horror (1979)

The most infamous house on Long Island became a national story with the release of Jay Anson's novel about the Lutz family and the horrifying ordeal they encountered. The movie would be a huge success and spawn over a dozen sequels and remakes. There is doubt about the truth of the Lutz's story but their harrowing tale would make for a shocking and popular horror film.

 Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Wes Craven was inspired to make his movie by a newspaper story about a young boy in Cambodia who's nightmares seemed so real he was afraid to sleep. His fate was doomed when his parents found him dead after he was unable to stay awake. Freddy Krueger may be a fictional creation but something scared that that boy to death.

Childs Play (1988)

The story of a doll that comes to life and murders people was inspired by a real-life child's doll named Robert that witnesses claim would move, change its facial expression and make noises it was not able to do. The doll was said to have caused car wrecks, accidents and bad luck to museum visitors who don't pay him proper respect. 

Dead  Ringers (1988)

David Cronenberg's 1988 thriller about twin gynecologists who ruin their careers after performing unorthodox medical procedures on their female patients was inspired by the real-life Marcus brothers who were troubled doctors that would die young as a result of drug abuse.

Fire in the Sky (1993)

In 1975 logger Travis Walton was struck by a bright light and afterward left for dead while his co-workers fled the scene. Five days later he is found alive and recalls a terrifying encounter onboard an alien ship. The 1993 movie presents these events and shows viewers the torturous ordeal Travis endured while he was missing.

Dahmer (2002)

Jeffrey Dahmer was a notorious serial killer who targeted young men and boys often cannibalizing them for his sadistic pleasure. Dahmer was portrayed by Jeremy Renner in this 2002 film that presents a fictionalized account of some of his murders.

Open Water (2003)

The fear of sharks has long been one used in a number of horror films set in the ocean yet Open Water showed another genuine peril when a couple scuba diving is left behind by accident. What happens to them is pure speculation by the producers of the film but it is for certain that realization they were left behind would weigh heavily on them.

Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

A young German woman named Anneliese Michel would die after numerous exorcisms were performed.  Her death would inspire this 2005 movie that presents a fictionalized account of the trial of a priest who attempted to exorcize evil spirits from a 19-year-old girl named Emily Rose.

Wolf Creek (2005)

Three backpackers traveling in the Australian outback encounter a sadistic hunter named Mick Taylor who captures them and releases them so he can hunt them. The movie was inspired by the real-life murders of a pair of tourists in the 1990s.

Borderland (2007)

A trio of friends go to a Mexican border town to party, get drunk and look for action. Instead, they find themselves the target of a death cult led by a local drug lord. Borderland was inspired by a real-life kidnapping and murder of an American student who was in Mexico to celebrate. The events of the movie are fictionalized yet do instill enough terror to make one want to avoid crossing the border.

The Girl Next Door (2007)

Jack Ketchum's novel about the death of a young teen girl as a result of the cruel treatment by her aunt would inspire this 2007 film that shocked audiences even if the true accounts were even worse than portrayed. Sylvia Likens was tied up in the basement and mistreated by her aunt and neighboring kids until she died as a result of mistreatment and lack of medical attention. Easily one of the most disturbing movies of the first decade of this century.

Zodiac (2007)

In the late 60s and early 70s, a mysterious serial killer who would be dubbed the Zodiac would kill his victims, send taunting messages to the police and create coded ciphers sent to the newspaper that he claimed would offer clues to his crimes. The 2007 thriller Zodiac would show the crimes and attempts by the police to solve the crimes that to this day remain unsolved.

The Strangers (2008)

The director Bryan Bertino speaks of a childhood incident when some strangers knocked on his door and asked for someone who did not live there. This creepy encounter would be the inspiration for his 2008 home invasion thriller that would become a big hit and be followed by a sequel in 2018.

The Haunting in Connecticut (2009)

Another movie inspired by the investigations of Ed and Lorraine Warren, this time they visit the fictional Campbell family in Connecticut that has been invaded by demons. The real-life Snedeker family would provide the true account shown in this movie. 

The Possession (2012)

An antique wooden box found in a yard sale would be the harbinger of evil spirits contained within in this 2012 film inspired by an eBay listing for a Jewish Wine Cabinet.

The Conjuring (2013)

Ed and Lorraine Warren were two of the most famous psychic investigators in the 1970s, and their account of ghostly events in an 18th-century farmhouse is portrayed in the 2013 movie The Conjuring. The movie was a big hit and has been followed by sequels that focus on a number of their other ghostly encounters.

The Sacrament (2013)

The real-life tragedy of the Jonestown massacre would be the inspiration for the 2013 film by director Ti West. In that film, a man travels to find his sister and bring her home from the cult she has joined. The hospitable treatment will soon give way to far sinister things when he is unwilling to join their ranks.

Annabelle (2014)

One of the more creepy stories involving Ed and Lorainne Warren involves a Raggedy Ann doll named Annabelle that they have locked in their home. The 2014 movie involves a more realistic looking porcelain doll that is cursed after a violent crime by a satanic cult. The events that follow will be a prelude to the events shown in the first Conjuring movie.

Veronica (2017)

A 15-year-old Spanish girl who attends a Catholic school must face off against demons that target her siblings after she played with a Quija board in the 2017 Spanish horror movie directed by Paco Plaza. The real-life account of her death would be delayed by a year with police unable to explain her death. 

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