Check Out The Real-Life Stories That Inspired Your Favorite Horror Films

Towards the end of each year, from the 31st of October until Christmas, a sort of Halloween fever takes over the whole world, and millions of people spend their Friday and Saturday nights binge-watching the greatest horror movies of all time. But have you ever wondered about the real-life stories that inspired your favorite horror movies? Well, wonder no more, cause we’ve got all the answers! Prepare yourself, and don’t miss #17, #8, and #3!

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#20. Amityville Horror

Some horror films are so unbelievably scary and morbid that it’s shocking to find out they were actually based on real-life events. Such is the case of the 1979 film Amityville Horror, which was based on a real family that lived terrifying events after moving to a haunted house.

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The original house is located on 112 Ocean Avenue in Long Beach, New York, and the real family is the Lutz. In the past, several murders had taken place in that very same building, and once the recently married couple decided to move in, they only lasted 28 days. Reportedly, they declared they were tortured by strong dark forces, and they have confirmed that all the events narrated in the film are true.

#19. The Mothman Prophecies

We can’t imagine a creepier movie than The Mothman Prophecies, and that’s the reason why it’s considered as the perfect film for a Halloween night. The movie goes around a reporter that has to travel to West Virginia to investigate a series of strange events that took place in their town, Point Pleasant. All of these events included psychic visions and dark entities.

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In real life, the residents of Point Pleasant reported having seen a lot of Bigfoot-type sightings. They also declared having seen a large creature with glowing red eyes. Although the producers didn’t include the Bigfoot monster in the storyline, they did use Point Pleasant to shoot the movie.

#18. The Shining

If we think about the greatest writers within the horror genre, Stephen King will definitely come to our minds. Some of his best novels were adapted to films, including 1980 classic The Shining. For some people, this is the best horror novel of all time, and the film is just as great! But let’s see where King drew inspiration from!

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The haunted Overlook Hotel is based on a real place where King stayed at! Believe it or not, King declared that during his nights at Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, he and his wife were the only guests in the whole building, which is strange considering its sheer size! This spooky experience inspired the author to write the celebrated novel.

#17. Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Some horror films are so horribly gruesome that it’s better not to know whether they were based on true events.  If you’ve watched The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I’m sure you’ve spent sleepless nights haunted by the last scenes.

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Although many parts of the plot are entirely fictional, the film was based on a true story. The main character is based on Ed Gein, a famous criminal that killed many people at Sawyer Place in Kingsland, Texas. In fact, Gein inspired many other horror films.

#16. The Legend Of Boogy Creek

Many horror films are based on famous legends which many believe to be true, and such is the case of The Legend of Boogy Creek. This film was one of the first successful horror documentaries ever, and nowadays it’s regarded as a cult film by fans.

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The plot goes around the “Fouke Monster”, a kind of a Bigfoot-type creature that was seen in Fouke, Arkansas. The film inspired many horror films, like The Blair Witch Project. Also, the producers of that film went to Boggy Creek to shoot some scenes.

#15. Eaten Alive

Many horror films are so incredibly gore that it’s hard to believe that they actually took place for real, and Eaten Alive is a clear example of this. Would you believe me if I told you there once was a serial killer who slaughtered his victims and fed it to his pet alligators?

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The horror film is based on the life of Joe Ball, a man who murdered many women during the 30s and fed them to his six alligators, which lived in a pond near his home. Police officers declared that Ball’s wife was among the victims too.

#14. The Silence Of The Lambs

Another classic for a Halloween night is the 1991 psychological thriller The Silence Of The Lambs, starring Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. The plot goes around a young detective that needs the help of a cannibal killer to catch another dangerous serial killer, a transexual who skins his victims.

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What you probably didn’t know was that Buffalo Bill, the film’s antagonist, was inspired by a real criminal, Ed Gein, the same man who inspired The Texas Chain Massacre. The writers declared that they used many aspects of Gein’s personality to create Bill, such as the fact that he used to keep his victims trapped in a sort of basement.

#13. The Conjuring

The Conjuring franchise is one of the latest successful terror films. Fans loved it not only because of its modern special effects and the performances of the actors but also because of the fact that it was based on a true story. The Perron family is real and all the events that are showed in the movie took place in their home in Harrisville, Rhode Island.

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When the family moved there, paranormal events and darkness forces started to torture them. Because of this, they had to call a team of paranormal investigators to help them get rid of those evil spirits. After months of suffering, they finally managed to sell the house and move out. Let’s hope the new owners had better luck!

#12. Jaws

Jaws may not be the scariest film ever, but nonetheless, it came to be one of the greatest box office hits of its time. When it was released, nobody could believe that such a simple story about a killer shark was earning so many millions of dollars.

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The events of the movie take place in the Cape of Massachusetts but the movie was actually filmed on an island called Martha’s Vineyard. Nowadays, the island has a museum and a few monuments in honor of the film.

#11. Poltergeist

Some classic horror films will never grow old, and Poltergeist is one of them. We are completely sure that if you watched it when you were a teen, you spent weeks without getting proper sleep. Did you know it was based on true events?

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The Freelings is a real family that moved to a new home in Simi Valley, California, and apparently it was built on a former burial ground. After a few days, the family started to feel strange events and unfriendly spirits. If you want to see the house that inspired the film, you can visit it in Simi Valley. The house has been completely abandoned for quite a few years… would you dare enter?

#10. Dahmer

For some reason, many of the creepiest and scariest stories that inspired the most famous horror films took place in the US, especially the ones involving serial killers. Wanna hear something crazy? Many American cities offer tours that take you to the sites where some of the most unbelievable murders took place.

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One of the cities that offers such tours is Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the hometown of Jeffrey Dahmer, a.k.a. the “Milwaukee Cannibal”. This man was famous for his more than 17 murders of boys and men, most of whom he killed at his house. Today, it’s a popular destination for many people who are into dark tourism. The house was also the inspiration for the film Dahmer.

#9. The Exorcism Of Emily Rose

We have to say that exorcisms are something common in horror films but The Exorcism Of Emily Rose is a masterpiece of this subgenre. The performance of Jennifer Carpenter made us believe she was suffering in real life.

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The film was actually inspired by the events that Anneliese Michel, a German young lady, suffered for an entire year. The film tells us the terrible things than Michel went through, and she died of malnutrition in real life too. One of the few things that were changed was the location since Anneliese lived in Western Germany.

#8. The Haunting In Connecticut

I don’t know about you, but each time I watch horror films about haunted houses, I can’t help but ask myself: why didn’t these people leave the house earlier? Well, this is exactly what came to my mind after watching The Haunting in Connecticut.

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The story is based on the lives of Al and Carmen Snedeker, who experienced paranormal events after moving to their new home in Southington, Connecticut. Reportedly, they experienced such events after they discovered that the basement used to be a funeral parlor. Of course, some parts of the plot are fictional, but it’s mostly true.

#7. Wolf Creek

Some films are super terrifying but are located in places that look very appealing, such as beaches or mountains in faraway countries. Such is the case of the horror film Wolf Creek, which was shot in the Australian desert. This is clearly a must-visit site, but let’s see if you dare go after reading this slide!

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The movie tells the story of three backpackers that are trapped in the middle of the desert and are chased by a sadist psychopathic. The film is based on the stories of Ivan Milat and Bradley Murdoch, two Australian serial killers.

#6. Scream

A Hallow’s Eve marathon would be incomplete without Scream on the list. We all remember how a teenage girl is chased by a new killer and how her friends all died, one after the other. But this is no ordinary slasher film, as its origins are darker than you can imagine.

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The film is based on the story of Danny Rolling, a man known for a 3-day spree that took place in Gainesville, Florida in 1990. He was known as “Gainesville Ripper” and he was caught after killing 5 students. I’m sure that the residents of this small town will never forget such an infamous event.

#5. Nightmare On Elm Street

Another film that should be on our must-watch list is Nightmare On Elm Street. The scariest part about this film is that the characters had no way of escaping from Freddy Krueger’s attacks, as he attacked his victims during their dreams.

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Where did director Wes Craven find the inspiration for this movie? The answer is in the newspapers! Craven told in an interview that he once read an article from the Los Angeles Times about a Cambodian family that moved to LA and whose children died during their sleep. The parents found them dead with several injuries and this horrifying piece of news inspired the director.

#4. The Rite

As we said before, exorcisms and demons are topics that are very common in horror films. However, while most of these films claim they’re based on true events, some are quite impossible to check. Very few of these stories have been verified and confirmed either by journalists or historians, and the story that inspired The Rite is one of them.

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Starred by Anthony Hopkins, the film is based on a case that took place in the US and that had a priest as a victim. Hopkins confessed that they hired a real priest, and he declared that he wouldn’t have been able to play that role without his advice.

#3. The Conjuring 2

As we’ve said before, The Conjuring franchise has been a major box office hit and has made it to the top 5 highest-grossing horror films ever. People feel appealed by the fact that both films are based on true stories, and it is said that The Conjuring 2 is the one that is truest to real-life events.

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In this second installment, Ed and Lorraine Warren have to travel to North England to help a single mother and her 4 children to survive in a house full of dark spirits. The mother’s name in real life was Enfield Case, and the famous couple of paranormal investigators had to move to Brimsdown, England, in order to help this family out. They reported all the events they suffered during their stay, and believe me, it was all too scary to be true!

#2. The Hills Have Eyes

The Hill Have Eyes is a 2006 horror film that revolves around a family whose car breaks down in the middle of the desert on their way to California. As you may imagine, they experience all sorts of misfortunes on their way and meet violent savages who will put their lives at stake.

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Obviously, these types of weird creatures don’t exist in real life, so the plot of the movie is mostly fictional. However, the scriptwriters were inspired by the story of a family who lived in Scotland during the Middle Ages.  Apparently, a man called Sawney Bean led a clan of people that commit many murders in the Scottish countryside, and this case drew inspiration for the film.

#1. Curse Of The Zodiac

Are you brave enough to watch horror films at night all by yourself? Try doing this with Curse of the Zodiac, and let’s see if you make it to the end without switching the lights on! The plot was based on a man known as the “Zodiac Killer”, who lived in Northern California.

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This serial killer murdered more than 40 people in California from 1968 to 1969. He used to call himself “Zodiac” and he is still remembered by that name. What is most frightening is that the police could never catch him and to this day, nobody knows whether he’s alive or not. Yikes!

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