Best horror movies based on true stories

Everyone is a badass when watching a horror movie until somewhere in the opening credits the words “Based on a true story” appear. Because no matter how cliché or boring a horror movie might seem, thinking about how the events unfolding in front of you more or less unfolded in real life will always be shocking and prickly. This list includes ten horror movies based on true stories that we like here The Mary Sue.

The Exorcist (1973)

The classic 1973 horror flick remains one of the highest-grossing movies of all time, but only a few will likely know that this movie based on Peter Blatty’s novel of the same name is based on real events. Blatty was inspired by the unofficial diaries kept by the priests, Father Walter H. Halloran and the Reverend William Bowdern, who had conducted an exorcism on a boy under the alias of Roland Doe (although it is widely believed that his real name is actually Ronald Edwin Hunkeler). Much of the movie depicts the same weird instances that happened in real life, such as Doe scratching, screaming, spitting, and swearing. However, it should be noted that his head did not actually rotate 360 ​​degrees, and there is no evidence that he ever vomited green ectoplasm. Roland went on to live a long and normal life. He even became a NASA engineer and contributed to the Apollo space missions of the 1960s.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

sally screaming her head in the cahinaw texas massacre

Although marketed as a “true story”, it would be more appropriate to describe The Texas Chainsaw Massacre as “inspired by true events” given that in real life there actually wasn’t a family of deranged cannibals living in a creepy house. But that doesn’t make the real details any less scary. Leatherface parallels the crimes of body thief and murderer Ed Gein, who, contrary to popular belief, actually does not “count” as a serial killer because he admitted to killing only two women. Gein also serves as the basis for other notorious horror movie villains like Norman Bates from psychology and Buffalo Bill of Thesilenceofthelambs.

The Amityville Horror (1979)

the amityville horror 1979 on an indian graveyard

Widely considered the most famous haunting in the United States, The Amityville Horror is based on a book that tells the alleged story of the Lutz family who had lived at 112 Ocean Avenue, a Dutch colonial house on Long Island for only 28 days before deciding they had moved out. Now, depending on what you believe, the story of Amityville has long been the subject of countless speculation as to whether or not it was a hoax. But the long and short of the matter is that the house located just thirty miles outside of New York has been the scene of a mass murder led by 23-year-old Ronald J. DeFeo Jr., who killed his entire family as they slept. DeFeo had confessed to the murders but claimed he was “possessed” when he committed the crime. He died last year at the age of 69 at a hospital in Albany, New York.

Currently, the infamous Dutch Colonial has passed through and been sold to an undisclosed owner for $605,000, which is $200,000 less than the original asking price in February 2017. It has also since changed address and is no longer marked “112 Ocean Avenue”. » following the initiative of the former owners who had to endure countless tourists visiting the house.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1985)

Jacob and Freddy in A Nightmare On Elm Street 5: The Dream Child

Yet another beloved classic that was surprisingly based on true events. First created nearly four decades ago by horror film master Wes Craven, the film was based on a Los Angeles Time Craven had read the story of a family who escaped from the Killing Fields in Cambodia and made it to the United States. In an interview with Vulturesays Craven,

“Everything was fine, and then suddenly the young son had very disturbing nightmares. He told his parents that he was afraid that if he slept the thing chasing him would catch him, so he tried to stay awake for days at a time. When he finally fell asleep, his parents thought this seizure was over. Then they heard screaming in the middle of the night. By the time they got to him, he was dead. He died in the middle of a nightmare. Here was a youngster with a vision of a horror that all the older ones denied. It became the centerline of Nightmare on Elm Street.”

The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

Told from the perspective of a legal drama, The Exorcism of Emily Rose is based on the possession of Anneliese Michel, whose true story was actually far worse than depicted in the film. Michel was a German girl born into an extremely devout Catholic family. When she was sixteen, she suffered a blackout at school and was noted to have been in a “trance” state afterwards. She would suffer a similar episode the following year but from there a series of disturbing events would occur. Although she sought help from science and medicine, she would believe she was possessed after suffering from numerous delusions, eating spiders, and other disturbing behaviors. Her family will eventually make the decision to have her exorcised more than 67 times. At the time of her death, she was only 23 years old and suffered from extreme malnutrition.

On a personal note, this is probably the first “real horror movie” I have the oldest and most vivid memory of seeing as an eight-year-old. This “One, two, three, four, five, six. One two three four five six.” scene will probably haunt me for the rest of my life.

Zodiac (2007)

Robert Downey Jr. and Jake Gyllenhaal in Zodiac

Based on the manhunt of serial killer of the same name, David Fincher Zodiac provides insight into some of the most famous and likely suspects behind the still unsolved San Francisco murders of the 60s and 70s. The film itself is based on the book written by Robert Graysmith (played by Jake Gyllenhaal in the movie) and is often considered one of the most faithful true crime films to date. The two remaining survivors at the time of the filming of the film had hesitated with the realization of Zodiac but one of them, Bryan Hartnell, eventually changed his mind and said in a interview, “…I knew that sooner or later someone was going to tell that story again,” he said. “So you want to put it in the hands of someone you trust. David wants to do it right. That’s all you can ask of a person.

Arguably one of the most chilling scenes in this film is when Graysmith visits a colleague of a suspect named Rick Marshall, a projectionist whose handwriting eerily resembles that of the killer. In the film, Graysmith is quickly informed by the co-worker that it was not Marshall who made the posters for the film, but rather that he was. This all happened when Graysmith was led into a basement and while there they hear footsteps above despite being told they were alone in the house. According to the real Robert Graysmith, this scene was absolutely accurate.

The Conjuring 2 (2016)

Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson) takes care of his wife Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) in The Conjuring 2

The third part of Conspiracy The franchise is arguably one of the strongest in the seven-part cinematic universe, though it could also be argued that the allegations surrounding the Real Warrens turn out to be much scarier. The Conjuring 2 opens up to the Warrens helping in another infamous investigation on this list: Amityville Haunting. They later cross the pond to the UK and help with what is now known as “Enfield Haunting”. Much like Amityville, there are still questions to this day about whether or not the haunting was another hoax after two experts from the Society for Psychical Research discovered that the children were bending spoons themselves. The real Janet Hodgson also once told ITV News that they faked things “once” or “twice” to see if any of the experts would notice and be able to tell the difference. According to her, they were still taken.

Either way, the Enfield Poltergeist case is consistently considered one of the most attested instances of supernatural activity. Recorded events include strange voices, levitations, flying objects, furniture moving through the air, and cold breezes. You can look This interview of Janet herself with her voice changing into that of the alleged poltergeist.

The Observer (2016)

The Observer's House
The Watcher’s House in Westfield. Image courtesy of Zillow.

This 2016 film is based on the mysterious “Watcher” case in the quiet, upscale town of Westfield, Jersey. The case involves another Dutch colonial who was allegedly stalked by a person known only as “The Watcher”. To this day, the terrorist remains unknown, but the Brauddus, who had received letters from the Observer, remain adamant that the culprit was probably a neighbor.

The Mauthausen Photographer (2018)

Set in the darkest days of World War II, The Mauthausen Photographer is a Spanish film that tells the story of the hero and photographer Francisco Boix, imprisoned in an Austrian concentration camp. The two-hour film shows his harrowing life in the camp and the Nazi Party’s unsettling fascination with documenting his own crimes, which Boix tries to keep as evidence.

Winchester (2018)

If you’re from San Jose, California, you probably already know all about the Winchester Mystery House. First purchased as a small, unfinished farmhouse in 1884 by Sarah Winchester, the house is now a seven-story mansion filled with dead ends, doors that lead nowhere, multiple staircases, and other odd details. Despite all this, it is technically “unfinished”. The house has 161 rooms, 47 fireplaces, 10,000 panes of glass, two basements, three elevators, and stained glass windows allegedly personally designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany himself. The 2018 film starring Helen Mirren shows Sarah’s story and the myth surrounding her fears about the ghosts of people killed by her husband’s Winchester rifles throughout her life.

What are your favorite horror movies based on true stories?

(featured image: American International Pictures)

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