Nowadays, most horror movies include the phrase “based on true events” somewhere on the poster in order to intrigue their audience and get people into the theater. In reality, most of these movies use the phrase very loosely. However, there are some movies that are loosely based on true stories because they added scenes in to make it scarier while there are other horror movies that are only loosely based on true events because they can’t tell the whole story because it would leave their audiences traumatized!
Horror movies are fun because it’s fun to be scared. That’s why there are roller coasters, haunted houses, and escape rooms. People like to be scared but they like to be scared safely; they don’t want to really feel like they are actually in danger. Horror movies that claim to be based on true stories can be even more appealing because there is an added sense of danger: if the story really happened, then maybe it could happen to you. It’s all fun and games until you’re alone in your bedroom at night and you can’t sleep because you can’t stop thinking about the real-life serial killer portrayed in the movie that was never caught.
Not all of these movies are horror movies, but they are all based on true events. What else do they have in common? Each movie was based on a true story that is even more terrifying and horrifying than the movie portrays. These gruesome scenes could not be included in the movie because it’s just too much for most audiences to handle. Think you can stomach it? We’ll see about that!
15. Anyone Want To Go On A Trip To Mexico?
Borderland is not a movie you should watch before you go on a trip to Mexico because the story centers on a group of teenagers who encounter a cult that practices human sacrifices near Mexico City. Yes, unfortunately, this movie is also based on a true story. Adolfo de Jesús Constanzo was a drug lord and cult leader of the Nacro-Satanists who kidnapped and murdered University of Texas student, Mark J. Kilroy in 1989 and officials found his brain in a caldron on Constanzo’s ranch. It is believed that the cult murdered at least twenty people for their sacrifices on the ranch where the cult leader also stored cocaine and marijuana. Determined not to go to prison, Constanzo ordered one of his followers to shoot him before the police arrived. The movie Borderland is already pretty scary but the story behind it is even more gruesome.
14. Chucky Is Based On A Real, Creepier Doll
It’s hard to believe that the character Chucky of Child’s Play was based on a true story but there is a very creepy doll from which the idea for the character sprung. According to the legend, Robert the Doll was given to a young boy named Eugene Otto as a gift from a Haitian servant who was fired unfairly by his family and. It turns out that Robert the Doll was as creepy as he looks and is actually a voodoo doll. While the doll was in the house, the Otto family began to hear laughter throughout the house and two unique voices coming from Eugene’s room, one was Eugene’s and the other was Robert’s. People passing by even claimed that they could see the doll walking around in the windows. He now resides at East Martello Museum in Key West and you can visit him, though there are some who believe that he will cause bad luck if you try to take his picture.
13. There Really Was A Girl Next Door
The Girl Next Door is about two girls who are orphaned and are sent to live with their aunt who tortures them. The true story on which the movie is based is even more frightening. The true story is told in Jack Ketchum’s novel, The Girl Next Door, and details the events leading up to the death of Sylvia Likens. Sylvia and her sister Jenny were left with a family friend, Gertrude Baniszewski, when their carnival worker parents traveled with the circus. While she was held captive, Sylvia was tortured by her “caretaker” and neighborhood children. She eventually died from the abuse when she was only 16. According to the prosecutor in Baniszewski’s trial, the case was “the most terrible crime ever committed in the state of Indiana”.
12. A Real Life Ghost Story In Amityville
There are countless horror movies that involve a family movie into a new house to find out that it’s actually haunted and The Amityville Horror is one of them. However, this particular horror movie was actually inspired by true events that were written about in a book of the same name. The book details the true story of the DeFeo family were who brutally murdered by Ronald J. DeFeo Jr. and also covers the story of the family that moved into the house after the murder. George and Kathy Lutz who moved into the house about a year after the murder experienced these events: the house was full of flies even in the winter, Kathy had vivid nightmares about the murders, they discovered a hidden room that didn’t appear on the blueprints, green ooze seeped through the walls, and George woke up every morning at 3:50 which was the estimated time of the murders. The family became so frightened that they left, leaving all of their belongings behind.
11. The 1800s Were Weird
The Disappointments Room is, in a word, disappointing. The story centers on a family who moves into a house in the country and finds out that there is a secret room where a family in the 1800s kept their disabled child in order to hide her from their neighbors because at that point in time, it was shameful to have a child with special needs. In the film, the room is haunted and Kate Beckinsale‘s character is plagued with nightmares because she accidentally smothered her child to death. Sorry for the spoiler but it’s a really terrible movie that you shouldn’t waste an hour and a half on. The story is based on true events and, though the disappointment room that the movie is based on wasn’t haunted, it was pretty creepy. The scariest part of the story is that disappointments room were fairly common in the 1800s and there are even some that are still around. There is one such example of a blind woman in Texas who was locked up in a cage in the back room of her family’s house. Horrifying.
10. Maggots, Anyone?
The Revenant may not be a horror movie but some of the events in the movie are pretty horrific. The story that the movie is based on is a true one, though there are many parts of it that may be more mythical than factual. There was a man named Hugh Glass who suffered a bear attack and survived in order to get revenge. However, he wasn’t avenging his son, he really just wanted his stuff back because it was taken when he was left for dead. In the real story, Glass did have to stuff himself into an animal carcass to stay warm and he did have to patch his wounds by burning them but a part that was left out of the movie is much more horrifying. After the bear attack, Glass had a lot of dead skin on his back so he went in search of some maggots and let eat the dead skin to remove it. Now that is hardcore.
9. The Story Behind The Strangers Is Even Stranger
The Strangers is terrifying because it combines some of our biggest fears: home invasion and being in a house in the middle of nowhere. Considering the story doesn’t contain any supernatural aspects, it’s not hard to believe that it is based on a true story–but it is actually based on multiple stories. The director, Bryan Bertino, based the movie on a time when he was a kid and someone knocked at the door and asked for someone who didn’t live there and he later found out that they were one of a few people who knocked on people’s houses to see if anyone was home and then would break in. The story was also based on The Keddie Cabin Murders which is a true event that happened in the Keddie resort in the middle of the woods. Three bodies were found in the cabin and the crime has never been solved.
8. Dracula Was Real And Also Really Scary
While Francis Ford Coppola’s cinematic retelling of Dracula is pretty close to the source material, it does take a few liberties. However, the actual character of Count Dracula in Bram Stoker’s novel was based on Vlad III the Impaler who was also called Dracula. Vlad the Impaler was one scary dude and he got his name because that wild son of a gun loved impaling people. According to the legends, he invited anyone who challenged his authority to a banquet and impaled them and would go on and eat his dinner while the bodies were still out. There are many stories about Vlad III that may not be true but we do know that he was known for being incredibly cruel and bloodthirsty – it is often disputed if his thirst for blood was figurative or literal but he inspired the blood sucking vampires that we know today.
7. Don’t Think It
It may not be hard to believe that a movie with the horrible title The Bye Bye Man didn’t do well at the box office but it is hard to believe that a true story actually inspired the movie. According to the story, the Bye Bye Man was a blind, albino man who lived in New Orleans in the 1920s. His parents put him in an orphanage and he escaped and went on a killing spree. The Bye Bye Man would carry around a bag called the Sack of Gore in which he would put different parts of his victims. However, the rest of the story details the events that happen to a group of teenagers who summon the Bye Bye Man after speaking his name. Obviously, this isn’t a true story but the author still contends that some of it is true. However, the character on which the Bye Bye Man is based may have been a real person, but we may never know the truth.
6. Don’t Go To The Bean Cave
The Hills Have Eyes is one of the most terrifying of all horror movies and we regret to inform you that it is based on true events. There is a story from the 1700s in which travelers disappeared from a road in Scotland and it turns out that they were attacked by the Sawney Bean family. Who is Sawney Bean? Alexander “Sawney” Bean was the head of a 48-member clan of inbred cannibals who killed and ate about 1,000 people in Scotland. The family lived in a cave near a local village and attacked travellers at night. The villagers were all unaware that they lived so close to the murderers for years until a couple managed to escape from the Bean cave and inform the townspeople. According to the legend, Sawney Bean and his clan were executed without a trial.
5. Incarnation Leak
The character of Audrey Rose may not have been a real person, but the movie Audrey Rose was based on a true story. The author of the book that the movie is based on, Frank De Felitta, attributed the idea to an experience he had with his own son. The six-year-old boy sat down at a piano one day and started playing ragtime music (with no previous experience) as though he had always known how to play. De Felitta contacted an occultist who told him that his son’s ability to play the piano came from an “incarnation” leak which basically meant that he had lived multiple lifetimes. Though the story of Audrey Rose is pretty creepy, it’s even creepier to think that not only is it possible to have past lives but that it’s also possible for information and skills to be carried over from one life to the next.
4. Creeps, Beware
Hard Candy is a movie starring a young Ellen Page in which she plays an adult named Hayley who is pretending to be a child. She lures a suspected pedophile named Jeff (Patrick Wilson) back to her house after they exchange some flirtatious messages online. In the movie, Page drugs, kidnaps, and tortures Jeff before getting him to commit suicide. To make it all even darker, the movie was based on a true story about young Japanese girls who would pretend to be underage in order to lure businessmen to a location where they would assault and mug them with the help of their girl gang. Yep, that’s a real thing. Of course, this story is only a scary one for pedophiles, but the idea that there are so many of these people out there that such a plan would be commonplace in Japan is pretty frightening.
3. Psycho Was Based On A Real Psycho
Like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Psycho was also inspired in part by Ed Gein but without the skin decor. An interesting aspect of Gein was his relationship with his mother Augusta who was a domineering woman and a devout Lutheran who taught her son that all women were naturally sinful and instruments of the devil. Like Norman Bates, Gein was shy and had strange mannerisms that many found off-putting which resulted in him being a loner with no friends. The only person he cared about was his mother, whom he cared for until her death. It was later discovered that many of the women who he killed or dug up in the cemetery were middle-aged and resembled his mother. Horrifying. When Augusta died, Gein said that he had “lost his only friend and one true love. And he was absolutely alone in the world.” Sound like someone you know?
2. The Guy Who Inspired Leatherface Is Scarier Than Leatherface
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is one of the most horrifying of all horror movies but the story behind it is even more horrific. The character of Leatherface was loosely based on Ed Gein (he was also the inspiration for Norman Bates of Psycho and Buffalo Bill of Silence of the Lambs) and he was one of the most terrifying figures in American history. Like Leatherface, Gein liked to make masks, furniture, and other decorations out of skin from people that he dug up in the local cemetery. Though Leatherface is based on Ed Gein, some true facts from Gein’s story were left out of the movie. One thing that was not shown in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was a body suit that Gein would sometimes wear. That’s way too gruesome even for the goriest horror movie.
1. These Fake Nightmares Were Based On Real Nightmares
It’s hard to believe that A Nightmare on Elm Street is based on a true story considering it centers on a killer who murders people in their dreams but the idea of the movie was inspired by actual events. The director, Wes Craven, admitted that the idea came from a story he read in the newspaper about Laotian immigrants who shared the same horrific nightmare and 20 of them died in their sleep while apparently having a nightmare. The scariest part of this true story is that we still don’t know what caused these mysterious deaths or how to prevent it from happening again. There is a theory that a person can become delusional and believe that something evil has befallen them and can make them very sick and even die. This bizarre phenomenon is incredibly rare but it’s even more terrifying than Freddy Krueger!