Creating a horror film based on true events, is surely a way to get people to watch, and adds some more terror to the whole story. When we’re watching a movie that was based off of a writer or director’s imagination, we enjoy the twisted parts of it, but know in the back of our minds that it hasn’t happened in real life and probably never will (well, we sure hope not anyway!)
But when we watch a movie that was inspired by something absolutely horrific that occurred in real life, we as humans become even more intrigued than we already were. It also proves just how many places throughout the U.S. really do have creepy ghost stories attached to them. Here are some of horror movie favorites that were based on true life events – whether you’d like to believe it or not!
1. The Amityville Horror
There have been a few different variations of the horror classic, The Amityville Horror, but the story-line is always the same. Originally written as a novel, and then adapted into a movie, this horror flick tells the story of the home located on Ocean Avenue, a quiet block in Amityville New York, where the DeFeo murders took place. In 1974, Ronald DeFeo Jr. brutally murdered his father, mother, two brothers, and two sisters in their family home. All six victims were found lying face down on their stomachs in their beds and DeFeo claimed he was hearing voices prior to the killings. The home is a well known location throughout the country, and some say it is truly haunted, while others don’t believe the haunting tales at all. Either way, the horrific event inspired one of the most popular horror movies that has been watched for generations.
2. The Conjuring
Set in Harrisville, Rhode Island in 1970, The Conjuring followed paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren, who were asked to explore the home of Roger and Carolyn Perron. The Perron family had just moved into a secluded farmhouse with their five daughters and began to experience supernatural activity by a presence that was believed to be evil. The Perron’s were left with no other choice but to ask the Warren’s to check the place out after a number of eerie things occurred throughout the home. In real life, one of the Perron daughters, Andrea, even published a book, “House of Darkness: House of Light,” which told the story of her years in the haunted home. The film may not have been able to depict each and every real moment that the Perron’s had to deal with, but one thing is for sure, whatever happened in The Conjuring home is one we wouldn’t want happening in our own homes!
3. The Strangers
This horror film was a breath of fresh air, because it truly was terrifying. The thought of three strangers making their way into your home the way these characters did, is truly a scary thing to think about. The film followed a young, troubled couple as they headed to an isolated home in the country. There is where they were terrorized by a man and two women wearing masks. The film had been inspired by both a string of break-ins that occurred in the director’s neighborhood when he was a child, and the Manson killings.
4. The Hills Have Eyes
A family is taking a road trip to California when they experience car troubles in an area that is closed to the public. They soon find out that the area is in fact inhabited, but not by regular townspeople, instead by a family of savage cannibals that are hungry for their flesh. The film was inspired by Alexander “Sawney” Bean, the head of a group of cave dwellers in the 16th Century. Over the years as the group lived in the caves, they trapped and consumed hundreds of people before they were found and killed. The plot makes one rethink a cross-country road trip, but just make sure your car can make the trip first!
5. The Exorcist
One of the most popular horror films ever made is The Exorcist, and it has been watched by generations ever since it was released in 1973. The movie was inspired by a novel that told the story of Roland Doe, a boy who became possessed after using a ouija board. The Catholic Church was brought in to perform an exorcism on the boy to try and remove the evil entity that took over him. In the film, it is a teenage girl who becomes possessed by the demon Pazuzu while she and her mother are visiting Washington D.C. Her mother then asks two priests to perform an exorcism to get rid of the demon inside her daughter.
These horror film favorites will continue to be watched by many, and we’ll always be fascinated with the horrifying facts behind their plots. Whether you love a good ghost story, or are one to take things to the next level and investigate ghosts yourself, these classics have made their way to the top of a ton of horror lover’s ‘must see movies’ lists!
What are your favorite horror films based on true events?
Written by guest contributor, Ralph the Demon