6 Horror movies that are actually based on true stories

Tis’ the season for horror movie marathons in bed with hot chocolate and a flickering cinnamon spice yankee candle but what if those movies we are based on real life events?

Sure, we’ve all been scared of a movie but you know in the back of your head that it isn’t real. There’s no way a serial killer creeps into kids dreams and murders them all or that a kids doll could get possessed and go on a killing rampage.. right?

Well, don’t get too comfortable because these movies root from reality.

Here are 6 movies, all of which are based on actual events or inspired by them. How many have you seen? Let us know in the comments below.

Child’s Play (1988)

source: mildlypleased

The movie: A kids doll is possessed by a serial killer.

Real life: The concept of Chucky was actually inspired by a haunted doll called Robert. Who is the creepiest looking doll ever by the way. It was given to a painter named Robert Eugene Otto – hence the name.

According to the stories, Robert was given the doll as a child by an abused servant that worked at his parents house, but she just so happened to be pretty well versed in the art of voodoo.

Legend says the servant possessed the doll in a way to get back at the Otto family and it would be Robert who would experience the brunt of it. The doll is said to have the ability to speak with Roberts parents claiming to hear the conversations.

source: ihorror.com

Many years later Robert Eugene Otto died, leaving the doll in the attic. A new family moved into his house and the 10-year-old daughter experienced the same terrorism Robert did as a child, claiming the doll had tried to attack her many times. Still to this day, the woman stands by her childhood claims.

Now 100 years later you can visit Robert the haunted doll at Key West Martello Museum.

Zodiac (2007)

source: oxygen.com

The movie: Investigators hunt a serial killer called the Zodiac Killer, who was active in San Francisco during the 60’s and 70’s.

Real life: The Zodiac Killer was a real serial killer who was directly linked to at least 50 murders in the 60’s. He has never been identified despite intensive investigations and the case remains open.

Like the movie the first confirmed incident took place at Lake Herman on the outskirts of San Francisco. 17-year-old David Faraday and his 16-year-old girlfriend Betty Lou Jensen were shot to death in their car.

The killer went on to to kill another young couple Darlene Ferrin, aged 22 and her boyfriend Mike Mageau, aged 19 in their parked car.

source: Bettmann Archives/Getty Images

He consistently taunted the police through letters and messages but on September 27, 1969 he went one step further. He approached a young couple on an isolated part of the shore in Napa County. Wearing a hood and a shirt bearing his iconic circle-cross symbol, tied them up before brutally stabbing them. He left a message for the police on the car door and called the police department to claim responsibility.

The Zodiac Killer made threats through letters to local newspapers from 1969 to 1974 demanding his letters were printed on the cover otherwise more people would die before stopping his communication completely.

Psycho (1960)

source: moviefone

The movie: A woman is murdered by a motel manager who also cosplays his dead mother, who is decomposing in his house.

Real life: The movie is loosely based on the real life murderer Ed Gein, whose fixation on his mother and other creepy qualities are mirrored in the well known character Norman Bates.

Gein committed his crimes in his hometown Plainfield, Wisconsin and was given the nickname “The Mad Butcher of Plainfield”.

Over a 10 year period Gein killed two women and exhumed dozens of bodies from local graveyards. He then went on to decorate his house with a variety of items made from the bones and skin of the dead.

source: wikimediacommons.org

What connects Ed Gein and Norman Bates is that they committed their crimes after the death of their domineering mothers. Their obsession with their mothers is another connection; the houses of both murderers contained a sealed off room which they’d made into a shrine to their dead mother. They both also enjoyed wearing women clothes.

In 1960 Gein was found guilty but legally insane and was remanded in psychiatric institutions. He later died at the Mendota Mental Health Institute in 1984.

The Exorcist (1973)

source: The 13th Floor

The movie: Two priests and a mother try to save a 12-year-old girl from a demonic possession.

Real life: The movie was based on a true story from 1949. A 13-year-old boy was diagnosed as being possessed by the devil. The Roman Catholic Church assigned multiple exorcists.

In 1948 the boys aunt taught him how to play with a Ouija board, a few weeks later that same aunt died of “natural causes”.

Not long after the boy and his family would start to notice strange things happening. Unusual sounds, such as unexplained tapping, thumping and banging coming from an otherwise empty upstairs. There are reports of objects moving too such as their chandelier swinging and portraits of Jesus Christ banging against the wall.

source: Inside the Magic

The family thought it was the aunt communicating with them at first until one night the mother walked in to find her sons bed rattling and shaking violently with him in it.

The first priest to try and help the boy was Father Hughes. He had been reciting exorcism prayers for 3 consecutive nights, the boy would foam at the mouth, shout, insult the priest and attempted to break his restraints. One night he managed to get one of his hands free and proceeded to slit Father Hughes wrist with a bed spring.

Eventually another priest intervened and it seemed the boy was at ease. He went back to school and moved on. He went on to work at NASA and has requested priests to keep his identity a secret.

The Hills Have Eyes (1976)

source: Listverse

The movie: A family is being terrorised in the Nevada desert by a family of inbred mutants who are also cannibals.

Real life: This movie and its 2006 remake are modern retellings of the story of Alexander “Sawney” Bean, who apparently led a clan of cannibals in killing over 1,000 people in Scotland around the 15th century.

The legend says that Sawney took his wife and moved to Bennane Head, Scotland. He lived there and raised his family of eight sons, six daughters, eight grandsons and fourteen granddaughters, most of which were a product of incest.

The family would sleep in caves during the day, only to come out during darkness to ambush travellers robbing and then murdering them.

The bodies would be taken back to the cave where they dismembered them and prepared dinner. This went on for twenty-five years in secret until they were taken down when they attempted to attack a man who was highly skilled in swordplay.

source: historicmysteries.com

Now aware of their presence, the people in Bennane Head told King James VI of Scotland who sent soldiers to find the clan.

The family were taken to Edinburgh where they were condemned to death without a trial. What makes this legend more creepy is the way in which the family were sent to death.

The men were castrated and then had their hands and feet severed; they died slowly of blood loss. After being made to watch the men die, the women and children were burned alive.

It is believed the family killed over a thousand people.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

source: Tyneside Cinema

The movie: A group of friends are terrorised by an isolated family of cannibals, including the iconic Leatherface.

Real life: The movie is lightly based on the real life murderer Ed Gein, who we have mentioned before in the Psycho real life story.

source: chasingthefrog.com

The real life Ed Gein did have similarities with the notorious Leatherface, but for different reasons. leatherface wore a humans scalp and face because of a skin disease whereas Gein wore women skin as it was his desire to be a woman.

Gein also wore a vest of skin complete with breasts and female genitalia.

Ge was reprimanded and spent the rest of his life in psychiatric hosiptals.

 

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