As you clearly saw in the video above, there are plenty of popular horror movies based on true stories. Problem is, when you tell people that, it makes them never want to watch the horror genre again, and hey! We get it. 99% of the reason we watch movies is to escape reality, why the heck would we want to watch something real? Save that for the documentaries, OK, movie makers?
That said, there's also a certain element of excitement associated with horror films based on true stories. It creates a greater sense of adrenaline as you sit in your seat wondering, "What would I do in that situation? Would I survive? Could I survive?" So, in the spirit of that, we're going to fill y'all in on the true stories behind some well-known horror flicks. Warning: reading with the lights off may cause extreme paranoia.
The Strangers (2008) & The Strangers: Prey at Night (2018)
According to sources, Bryan Bertino, the director of The Strangers (2008) drew his inspiration for the film from both Charles Manson (the Tate-LaBianca murders) and a series of events that took place near his childhood home.
The Strangers: Prey at Night, directed by Johannes Roberts, is also based off the same events — the general concept of strangers killing in cold blood, at random. Bryan Bertino explained in a press release, "I was thinking about the Tate murders and realizing that these detailed descriptions had painted a story of what it was like in the house with the victims. But none of the victims knew about the Manson family or why it was happening to them."
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is based (loosely) on the serial killer Ed Gein. Known as, "The Butcher of Plainfield", Gein was found with nine human skin masks at the time of his arrest. Not only was he a murderer, but a body snatcher as well. He would exhume corpses from local graveyards and fashion trophies and keepsakes from their bones and skin.
The Exorcist (1973)
Originally, before it ever hit the big screen, The Exorcist was a book written by William Peter Blatty in 1971. The novel followed the story of a real life boy named Ronald Doe who was said to have been possessed by demons in 1949. There have been several other books written about him, including eye-witness accounts of the exorcism.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)
Adapted from the original A Nightmare on Elm Street in 1984, the 2010 remake was inspired by a group of 18 Laotian refugees who died during a nightmare. The medical reports were unable to conclude any physical harm. Although, pathologists did suggest one possibility — an obscure pattern described in medical literature as, "Oriental nightmare death syndrome", in which death results from terror induced by a nightmare.
Child's Play (1988)
Child's Play is based off the story of a Key West artist and author Robert Eugene (Gene) Otto. At the age of six, he was a given a homemade doll, called "Robert the doll", by one his family's servants from The Bahamas. As the story goes, she was not only mistreated by the family, but highly skilled in both voodoo and black magic. Legend says she put a hex on the doll, it came to life, and spent the next 50+ years terrorizing people.
Deliver Us From Evil (2014)
Deliver Us From Evil is based on a non-fiction novel titled, Beware the Night, which, as per the description, describes the life of a sixteen-year NYPD veteran, Ralph Sarchie who works out of the 46th Precinct in New York's south Bronx. But it is his other job that he calls "the work": investigating cases of demonic possession and assisting in the exorcisms of humanity's most ancient — and most dangerous — foes.
Similarly to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Psycho is loosely based off the murders of real-life serial killer Ed Gein. Additionally, sources suggest Norman Bates is also based off Calvin Beck, the publisher of [Castle of Frankenstein] an American horror, science fiction and fantasy film magazine, published between 1962 and 1975.
The Conjuring (2013)
According to USA Today, The Conjuring depicts the 18th-century farmhouse in Rhode Island where Roger and Carolyn Perron (Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston) and their five daughters allegedly were terrified and even possessed by spirits.
The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)
The Exorcism of Emily Rose is based off the life of Anneliese Michel who was said to have been possessed by demons. These demons were so strong, that her exorcism took over a year to complete. Anneliese Michel died a year following her exorcism and both her parents and the priest who conducted the procedure were charged with negligent homicide.
Annabelle is part of The Conjuring franchise. As the story goes, Annabelle began "her reign of terror" in 1970 after being purchased in a hobby shop by a mother as a gift for her daughter. Ed and Lorraine Warren, occult experts, were called to investigate the doll. They eventually diagnosed her with "inhuman demonic spirits". When Ed later tried to transfer Annabelle to safekeeping, he claimed the doll willed the car's brakes and steering to fail repeatedly. He was forced to throw holy water on the doll to stop the meddling.
Lead Image via YouTube