20 Horror Movies Based on True Stories

20 Scary and Horror Movies Based on True Stories

Horror movies are not for the fainted ones especially when they are based on true events. If you a fan of horror and scary films that are based on true stories, here we have mentioned the 20 horror movies that were inspired by real events.

Horror Movies Based on True Stories

Here is a list of some of the scariest movies that draw inspiration from real-life events. These movies delve into the darkest corners of human experience, bringing terrifying tales to the silver screen.

1. The Amityville Horror 

Amityville is considered one of the scariest movies based on a true story that was released in 2005 and starred Ryan Reynolds.

It tells the story of a family who moves into a house where there has already been a family tragedy. Little by little, the father goes mad and kills his whole family.

The real story took place between 1974 and 1976 on Long Island. On the night of November 13, 1974, Ronald Junior, the eldest son of the DeFeo family, murdered his parents and 4 siblings while they slept with guns.

The Lutz family, who then buy the house, have indeed reported witnessing some strange phenomena, but that doesn’t end with a second family drama like in the movie!

2. Slender Man

The 2018 film was inspired by the “creepypasta” of the same name. Young girls try to call Slender Man, then one of them disappears.

The producers never admitted it, but many believe this film was based on the 2014 attempted murder of two 12-year-old girls by their classmate. The girls said that Slender Man asked them to kill their friend. Fortunately, the victim survived.

3. A Nightmare on Elm Street 

This’ 80s classic stars a killer who takes hold of his victims in their dreams, so how can that be based on a true story? Well, Wes Craven, the director, said he was inspired by the story of a young boy from Cambodia who refused to sleep because he was afraid of dying in his sleep.

After weeks of having seizures every night, he finally fell asleep. In the middle of the night, her parents heard a scream. When they arrived in their son’s room, he was dead and the cause was never explained.

4. The Exorcist

This film which traumatized an entire generation tells the story of a young girl possessed by a demon, and of her mother who tries to save her. In real life, it was more of a 15-year-old boy who was allegedly possessed after playing with a game of Ouija board.

In the film, the priest who tries to exorcise the young girl dies, while in real life he is said to have been injured by the boy. Less intense, but still disturbing!

5. The Conjuring 

This series of films follows a couple of paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren. In the very first chapter, they try to help the Perron family, whose house is said to be haunted. Ed and Lorraine did exist in real life, just like the Perron family.

The Perrons have reported a host of paranormal events in their Connecticut home. They were sure she was haunted by Bathsheba Sherman, a woman who had lived on the same land hundreds of years earlier.

6. Annabelle

The sequel to La Conjuration is also inspired by a real fact. In the film, a couple is attacked after buying a retro doll, and the doll becomes possessed.

It would have terrorized a young woman and her friends for years. Rumor has it that this doll was haunted by the ghost of a little girl who died at the age of 7 years named Annabelle. Ed and Lorraine Warren investigated this case and the Annabelle doll can be found in their museum today.

7. My Friend Dahmer 

This film starring Ross Lynch chronicles the youth of serial killer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer. This one really existed and he murdered at least seventeen young men between 1978 and 1991. In addition to committing murders, he consumed parts of his victims … hence the nickname of the cannibal killer.

8. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile

The film gradually reveals the beginnings of the love story between the killer Ted Bundy and his longtime girlfriend Liz Kendall and, at the same time, we see him in prison awaiting his death sentence.

Ted Bundy is of course real, and he assaulted and murdered many young women and girls during the 1970s. He was known to be handsome and charismatic, which would explain how he could lure his victims in subtle ways.

9. Silence of the Lambs 

In the film, a young FBI agent, Clarice Starling, is called upon to investigate “Buffalo Bill”, a serial killer who cuts the skin of his victims. To do so, she interviews Hannibal Lecter in prison.

Buffalo Bill is inspired by Ed Gein, a real serial killer who, too, made furniture and clothes from the skin of his victims.

Some also believe that Hannibal would be inspired by Ted Bundy for his charismatic and intelligent side, and by Jeffrey Dahmer for his cannibalistic side!

10. Chucky or Child’s Play 

This film shows a young boy who receives a doll as a gift, without knowing that it is haunted by the spirit of an adult serial killer.

The real story is different, but it also involves a doll. In the 1900s, a young boy was given a doll named Robert.

Strange incidents began to occur, hinting that Robert would be possessed. Today the doll is in a museum and anyone who takes a picture of it without asking permission experiences a tragedy shortly after.

11. Scream 

In the fictional town of Woodsboro, a young woman named Sydney Prescott is terrorized by a serial killer who wears a “Ghostface” mask.

Equally terrifying is the story that inspired the director of this film series. This is the Gainesville killer, Danny Rolling, who killed 5 college students the same night.

12. The Strangers 

A couple rents a cottage in an attempt to find each other, but their evening is completely disturbed when 3 strangers enter the house and attack them.

The film was sold as being “based on a true story”, without ever specifying which one. Some believe it was in fact the unsolved murder of the town of Keddie in California.

In 1981, a woman rented a cottage to save herself from her abusive husband. During the night, she, her son, her daughter, and a friend of her son were murdered in cold blood. Strangely enough, 3 other children were in the house, asleep, but they were spared.

13. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 

This horror movie classic shows a group of friends who find themselves trapped in a family of cannibals. It’s not a true story, but the main killer, “Leatherface”, is inspired by none other than Ed Gein, who was discussed above. He had also created a mask with the skin of one of his victims, hence the name “Leatherface” or … leather face.

14. Zodiac

In this American thriller, we follow the investigation to unmask the killer nicknamed the Zodiac in the 60s and 70s in California. The real Zodiac has never been unmasked, but several suspects have been identified. One of the most interesting is Arthur Leigh Allen, who is the focus of the investigation in this film.

15. The Exorcism of Emily Rose 

This film tells the story of a young woman, Emily Rose, who believes she is possessed and asks to be exorcised. On the other hand, she dies during the exorcism, and the priest is then sued.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose is also one of the scariest movies in the list of 20 best horror movies that are based on true stories.

The real story behind this is equally tragic. It is that of Anneliese Michel, a young woman who suffered from several mental illnesses.

Her parents refused to seek treatment for her and instead believed that she was possessed. After multiple exorcisms, she died of malnutrition and exhaustion.

16. The Mothman Prophecies 

This 2002 film follows a man who loses his wife in a car accident. Before her death, she kept drawing a strange figure with wings, which seems to be a recurring theme among many people in a small town in Virginia.

This refers to the urban legend of the Mothman (or the butterfly man), a figure who kills those who spot him.

For example, several people reported seeing the same figure shortly before a bridge collapsed in Virginia in the 1960s. This phenomenon has never been explained.

17. The Haunting in Connecticut 

A family moves to Connecticut to be closer to the clinic where their cancer-sick son is hospitalized. Their new Victorian house, which is a former mortuary, is of course haunted.

The real story is similar. A family has indeed moved to a house that was once a mortuary. The family said they were victims of multiple paranormal phenomena and claimed to have seen demons.

An exorcism was performed (by none other than Ed and Lorraine Warren) in 1988, after which the phenomena would have ceased.

18. Verónica

This Spanish film tells the story of a young woman who tries to communicate using a game of Ouija board with her deceased boyfriend. As a result, she is harassed by supernatural creatures.

Veronica is also among the list of horror movies based on true stories. The real story is similar. A young woman in Madrid has mysteriously died shortly after using a game of Ouija board.

His friends said they saw smoke entering his mouth during the session. As a result, she hallucinated and had epileptic seizures for 6 months, only to die.

19. Terror in Wolf Creek 

In Australia, 3 friends find themselves broken down during their trip across the country. A man stops to help them, but he turns out to be a cruel killer.

In the real story, it is a couple, formed by Peter Falconio and Joanne Lees, who were the victims of a killer who had offered to help out with their broken-down vehicle.

Falconio was shot, while Lees managed to escape. The killer, Bradley John Murdoch, was hunted down and arrested and was found guilty of the murder in 2005.

20. Psychosis ( Psycho )

This great, great classic of horror cinema is known to all. The story tells the tragic fate of a young woman who goes missing after a stay at the Bates Motel, run by Norman Bates and his elderly mother.

The killer, Norman Bates, is loosely inspired by, drum roll, Ed Gein! In fact, it was his relationship with his mother that inspired Norman to dress like his late mother to kill women.

In real life, Ed was so devastated by the death of his mother that he frequently wore her clothes and spoke to her.

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