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6 Horror Movies Inspired by Real-life Events

There's nothing that makes a movie more terrifying than the five simple words: 'Based on a true story.'

Poltergeist (1982)


1. 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' (1974)

Like many other horror movie creators, the director of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Tobe Hooper) drew inspiration for some of Leatherface's most sinister habits from real-life serial killer Ed Gein. Gein, who was arrested in 1957, had filled his home with trinkets made up of human body parts which he had fashioned into a lampshade, used to upholster chair seats, human skullcaps which were used as soup bowls, and many other unspeakable body parts that he used as various home furnishings. Gein was apprehended at his home in Wisconsin after authorities found the body of a woman hanging up in his barn. At first, Gein denied all accusations but soon confessed after the evidence against him stacked up.  

2. 'The Amityville Horror' (2005)

The Amityville Horror is based on the allegedly true story of George and Kathy Lutz, who back in 1975 moved into the infamous Amityville house with their three young children. After a short while, the family began experiencing unexplainable paranormal phenomenon that was seemingly connected to the all too real murders that happened in the house before them. The family left their gorgeous Long Island home after only living there for one month because they felt concern for themselves and their children’s safety.

3. 'The Strangers' (2008)

The director of this movie drew inspiration from the murders of serial killer and cult leader Charles Manson. Manson, who ran an American cult in the 1970s, was infamous for convincing young girls to carry out gruesome murders so they would appease him. The series of horrifying events that took place near his childhood home inspired the acts and motives carried out by the characters in The Strangers. 

4. 'The Exorcism Of Emily Rose' (2005)

The Exorcism of Emily Rose is based on the real-life case of Anneliese Michel who was allegedly possessed by demonic entities which had her carry out unexplainable acts and mutilate her own body to the point of no recognition. The young girl refused to eat or drink and became highly malnourished, instead of seeking medical help; Michel’s parents sought help from two Roman Catholic priests to perform an exorcism. Soon after Anneliese Michel was found dead in her home and her parents and the two priests were charged with negligent homicide. It is one of the most famous exorcism cases of all time with still no rational explanation for the behaviour she displayed or answers to why or how she changed so suddenly.

5. 'Annabelle' (2014)

The true story of Annabelle began in 1970, when a mother purchased a seemingly harmless doll from a hobby store. Once the doll was brought home the family started reporting that it seemed to move about the house without others being present. It started with almost unnoticeable movements at first, like changing its position or facing a different way to what it was left. Soon the activity became more noticeable as the doll began displaying scary and unnatural symptoms. The doll now resides in a museum for the supernatural behind a glass wall so that the doll cannot do harm to anyone who sees it.

6. 'The Shining' (1980)

Stanley Kubrick’s cult classic movie, The Shining, was inspired by actual events that took place in the Stanley Hotel which resides in Estes Park, Colorado. Guests who have stayed at the hotel since 1909 have reported hearing sinister children’s laughter on the fourth floor, items being moved around on their own and lights being turned on and off. Stephen King (who wrote the book of the same name) checked into the Stanley hotel with his wife and reported witnessing otherworldly beings dancing around the ballroom and creepy children who played in the halls. This inspired King to write the horror novel which was eventually picked up by film studios and became an international treasure.

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6 Horror Movies Inspired by Real-life Events
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