These 21 Horror Movies Are Actually Based On True Stories

These 21 Horror Movies Are Actually Based On True Stories

The only thing scarier than a good horror movie is when you find out that the movies are actually based off of a true story.

No matter how scary a horror movie is, it becomes instantly scarier when you find out that it is based on a true story. That is exactly why it is much easier to watch movies about vampires, werewolves, or other fantastical creatures as it is much easier to know that there is no fear outside of the movie theater. But, when it comes to a movie that deals with a haunting or a horrific event that is based on something that really happened, most of us spend a good amount of time or days looking over our shoulder to make sure that nothing is lurking behind us. Having said that, there are a number of fans who doubt if these stories of haunting are legit enough or not, but some facts are set in stone. It is a given that the filmmakers will take some sort of creative liberty in order to make it look more appealing to the audience. Here are 21 movies that are based on true incidents. So sit back, hit the lights, and enjoy the read. 

1. The Exorcist


The Exorcist novel, written by William Peter Blatty came out in 1971 and told the haunting story of the 12-year-old girl named Regan and two priests that tried to exorcise a demon from her body. The movie was later adapted into a screenplay and when it hit the theaters in 1973, very few people managed not to be spooked by the movie. This movie is so good that it managed to pick up the Oscar nomination for Best Picture and it is still regarded as among the best and the scariest horror movies of all time. Needless to say that it is based on a true story, this movie was inspired by the events that took place in Maryland where a young boy was exorcised of a demon from his body by three priests. 

2. The Conjuring


One of the scariest movies to come out in recent times, The Conjuring franchise follows paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren as they investigate hauntings. In this movie, they deal with the Perron family hauntings that were taking place in the Rhode Family Farmhouse. Regarded as one of the scariest movies of all time, this one has all of the jump-scares perfectly placed and will definitely have you reaching for your bedside light. 

3. The Nightmare on Elm Street


Freddy Kruger is still regarded as one of the most iconic and scary villains of all time and the movie is the same. Belonging to the slasher genre, if you love blood, gore, and knife-fingered ghosts, then the search for the perfect movie has ended. The makers of this particular flick were inspired by a group of Laotian refugees who had died because of unstoppable nightmares. The scariest part? The medical reports suggested that there was nothing wrong with them physically and the nature of their death could never be explained by any person practicing medicine. 

4. The Exorcism of Emily Rose


This movie is pretty different from a lot of other movies based on exorcism as it is the only case that was dragged to the court where a Catholic priest is tried for the death of Emily Rose after a failed exorcism. Based on the story of Anneliese Michel, who perished due to malnourishment and dehydration, during the trial of this case, the court indicated that Anneliese was suffering from schizophrenia, and also had several suicidal tendencies. She was only treated for possession and during the trial, two priests and Michel's parents were found guilty of negligent homicide.

5. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre


Ed Gein is surely one of the popular inspirations behind a lot of horror movies, and the famous slasher movie, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is also loosely based on his life exploits. During his lifetime, he had nine human skin masks in his possession. 

6. The Amityville Horror


The movie released in 1979 was based on the story of the unexplainable DeFeo murders and what the Lutz family faced in the house that made the entire family run from the haunted property in the middle of the night. Regarded as one of the highest grossing independent movies of all time, and is still considered an iconic horror film to this day. 

7. Child's Play


This movie was based on the story of a nurse who supposedly put a voodoo curse on author Robert Eugene Otto which transformed one of his childhood dolls into a cursed one. A scary movie about an entity haunting the people are scary enough, but when you throw in a haunted doll in the mix, it becomes instantly much scarier. 

8. Psycho


Regarded as one of the most iconic classic horror films ever made, this movie is directed by the Master of Horrors, Alfred Hitchcock. Psycho was probably the first slasher movie ever made. This movie shocked the audience with the unexpected twists and turns of the story, so much so that it is still regarded as one of the greatest horror movies of all time with a mind-blowing twist in the end. The character of Norman Bates was also based on the story of a real-life serial killer. 

9. The Girl Next Door


This movie is said to be based on what is said to be the most terrible crime of Indiana state where Sylvia Likens was inhumanely tortured and eventually killed by Gertrude Baniszewski in 1965. The movie draws inspiration from this real-life story and it is safe to say that this movie is full of such bone-chilling scenes. 

10. The Conjuring 2


Taken from the case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren, it is yet another story by the famous paranormal investigators. Set in England, this movie deals with the case of the Enfield poltergeist and it is regarded as one of England's most infamous hauntings. 

11. Deranged


Love can make you do some crazy things, but have you ever loved someone so much that you cannot bear the thought of parting with them even when they are dead? This 1974 movie is based on the life story of one of America's most notorious serial killers, Ed Gien. 

12. Ravenous


All of us relish a good meal, time and now, but what would be your reaction if you had to eat human flesh? It is definitely one of the most underrated movies about cannibalism and it will definitely spook you to an extent that you cannot begin to fathom. You are after all, what you eat. 

13. The Rite


Another real-life story that deals with the incidents of exorcism and the Devil, this movie is based on the life of one of the most famous exorcists of  America, Father Gary Thomas, and this movie will definitely scare the living daylights out of you. 

14. The Haunting In Connecticut


Even though the plot of the movie is not new and is marred with conspiracy, it is also based on a true story and recounts the terrifying story of the Snedeker family who bought a house that previously used to be a funeral parlor. This case was investigated by paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren and they said that it was one of the scariest cases of their lives. 

15. The Strangers


This beloved slasher movie was inspired by three separate sources. The first one being the personal experience of the writer/director Bryan Bertino where a stranger knocked on his door while his parents were away, who he later found out to be the person responsible for break-ins in the area. The second inspiration behind the movie was The Manson Family murders that follow the incident when the Charles Manson family murdered five people in a home invasion that included the actress Sharon Tate. The third inspiration behind the movie was the Keddie Cabin Murders, which involved a woman and her children staying at a remote resort in California. 

16. The Entity


This story created waves when in 1974, paranormal investigators Kerry Gaynor and Barry Taff reported that a woman is attacked and sexually abused by a paranormal entity. The movie was adapted from a novel of the same named, penned down by Frank De Felitta and is based on the true story of a woman who believed she was being raped by ghosts.

17. The Possession


Based on the real-life story of a couple that owned a cursed dybbuk box, and whoever bought this box faced severe consequences. The box is said to contain the spirit of a demon that is sealed by a practitioner witch and once you open the box, it is safe to say that you are doomed. owners of the box reported strange things happening to them on eBay and if you are looking for a movie that will keep you up at night, this one will definitely do the job. 

18. Deliver Us From Evil


This movie delivers the story of an exorcism along with bone-chilling twisted old tricks. The movie is based on the book called Beware The Night which is based on non-fictional events. It definitely will keep you awake at night for days to come after you have watched the movie. 

19. Annabelle


Horror enthusiasts knew about the haunted and demonic raggedy Ann doll for a while now, thanks to 'The Conjuring', but the movie that is based on Annabelle delves much much deeper into the story, While the creator of the movie definitely has taken quite a lot of creative liberties in order to make the movie quite interesting, but in its essence, it tells the scary story of the real-life possessed doll. It is also true that the doll is so dangerous that it is kept inside a locked cabinet in Warren's museum for all things occult and it has been said that people who taunted the doll in the museum faced near death or fatal accidents.

20. Wolf Creek


There is a reason why our parents always advised us not to talk strangers and this movie proves the point. This movie is loosely based on the true story of two men named Ivan Milat and Bradley John Murdoch and their crimes. Some described the crimes of these two men to be so heinous that it will definitely send shivers down your spine. 

21. Dahmer


Jeffery Dahmer is regarded as one of the most notorious serial killers from all over the world and is responsible for the murder of 17 men from 1978 until 1991 when he was finally caught. Dahmer was a cannibal who was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and schizophrenia, but during his trial, he was found clinically sane. There have been quite a number of movies and tv shows that were made based on Dahmer, but one stands out till now. Titled as 'Dahmer', this movie stars Jeremy Renner as the villain and he portrays the role of a socially troubled man with a troubled childhood and then proceeds to show his descent into madness. 

Recommended for you