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10 Scary Movies Based on Real Life Stories

July 13, 2018
5 min read

How many times have you while watching a horror movie said to yourself, “Oh, there’s no need to be scared because all of this is fiction”? But what if you come to know what you are seeing onscreen is inspired from real events. Does it make the film more scary? If it does, then start watching (or re-watching) the below is the list of best scary movies based on true stories or inspired from real stories. You might be able to find some of these horror movies based on true stories on Netflix, Hulu, YouTube or Amazon Prime.

10. The Girl Next Door (2007)

The film is based on the brutal murder of Sylvia Likens that took place in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States in October 1965. The 16-year-old Likens was tortured to death by Gertrude Baniszewski, Baniszewski’s children, and other young people from their neighborhood.

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9. The Strangers (2008)

The film is inspired by true events from director’s own childhood: a stranger came to his home asking for someone who was not there, and he later found out that empty houses in the neighborhood had been broken into that night. The film is also said to be inspired from Manson Family murders and Keddie Cabin Murders of 1981 that occurred in a small vacation community in California’s Sierra Nevada.

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8. The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

The character of Emily Rose was inspired by the story of Anneliese Michel, a young German Catholic woman who died in 1976 after unsuccessful attempts to perform an exorcism upon her with psychotropic drugs. The court accepted the version according to which she was epileptic, refusing to accept the idea of supernatural involvement in this case. Two priests involved in the exorcism, as well as her parents, were found guilty of manslaughter resulting from negligence and received prison time (which was suspended), generating controversy.

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7. The Amityville Horror (2005)

On November 13, 1974, Ronald DeFeo Jr. shot and killed six members of his family at 112 Ocean Avenue, a large Dutch Colonial house situated in a suburban neighborhood in Amityville, on the south shore of Long Island, New York. He was convicted of second-degree murder in November 1975. In December 1975, George and Kathy Lutz and their three children moved into the house. After 28 days, the Lutzes left the house, claiming to have been terrorized by paranormal phenomena while living there.

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6. The Entity (1982)

The film is based on Doris Bither case. Doris Bither, a mother of 4 children, had contacted paranormal investigators Barry Taff and Kerry Gaynor who came to investigate on August 22, 1974. Bither alleged that she was attacked and raped by an invisible entity which she believed were the spirits of three Asian men. She claimed two would hold her down while the third raped her. Taff claimed to have photographed orbs during the investigation.

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5. The Hills Have Eyes (1977)

The film is actually inspired from the Sawney Bean story. Alexander “Sawney” Bean was the head of a 48-member clan in Scotland anywhere between the 13th and 16th centuries, and was reportedly executed for the mass murder and cannibalisation of over 1,000 people.

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4. The Conjuring (2013)

‘The Conjuring’ is inspired by the real life Perron family who moved into a home in Rhode Island, unaware of the history of the home. They called in paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren who discovered that their property was being haunted by the malevolent spirit of a witch named Bathsheba Sheran who lived there in the 19th Century.

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3. Psycho (1960)

Psycho is based on Robert Bloch’s 1959 novel of the same name, which was loosely inspired by the case of convicted Wisconsin murderer and grave robber Ed Gein. Both Gein, who lived just 40 miles from Bloch, and the story’s protagonist, Norman Bates, were solitary murderers in isolated rural locations. Each had deceased, domineering mothers, had sealed off a room in their home as a shrine to her, and dressed in women’s clothes.

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2. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

Another film based on Wisconsin murderer and grave robber Ed Gein. The writer of the film revealed later that the film, apart from Gein, is also based on a murder case in Houston at the time that was committed by a serial murderer named Elmer Wayne Henley. He was a young man who recruited victims for an older homosexual man and would later kill his preys.

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1. The Exorcist (1973)

‘The Exorcist’ is based on a novel of the same name. Aspects of the novel were inspired by the 1949 exorcism performed on an anonymous young boy known as “Roland Doe”  by the Jesuit priest Fr. William S. Bowdern. Doe’s family became convinced the boy’s aggressive behavior was attributable to demonic possession, and called upon the services of several Catholic priests, including Bowdern, to perform the rite of exorcism.

Note: Contrary to popular perception, neither ‘Blair Witch Project’ nor ‘Paranormal Activity’ is based on a true story. If you believed so till today, it was because you got tricked by their brilliant marketing campaigns. 

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