Many feel reassured when watching a scary horror movie that the story is not based on reality. However, this does not apply to all horror films as some of them are inspired by true stories.
This list includes horror films based on true stories of horrific crimes that shocked society, the biography of serial killers, and events considered to be “supernatural” with no logical explanation but have witnesses who confirm they actually occurred.
1- The Conjuring in 2013
James Wan’s horror film, The Conjuring, stars Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as Ed and Lorraine Warren. As paranormal investigators, they are called to a farm where a family has been experiencing increasingly strange events.
The film, set in 1971, is part of a horror series centered around Ed and Lorraine Warren, two investigators who look into paranormal phenomena. The family at the center of this particular film moves into an old farmhouse where they begin to experience these strange occurrences.
The new family who just moved into the house starts noticing strange things happening around 3:07 am every morning- all the clocks in the house stop at that time. Then, their dog is found dead one morning. The children claim to have seen ghosts in their home too. After doing some digging, they discover the horrifying past of the property and all of murders and suicides that took place there…
Although the supernatural events in this movie may seem impossible to believe, Ed Warren and his wife, Lorraine, were real characters that experienced these same events .
Ed Warren, a World War II veteran and former police officer, became interested in demonology after doing some research on the topic. His wife Lorraine said she could see demons and ghosts, which Ed believed.
In 1952, Ed and Lorraine Warren founded the New England Society for Paranormal Research. They quickly gained a reputation as paranormal investigators and ghost hunters. The movie is based on their investigation of the “Berron” family, with some modifications for dramatic effect.
Though Ed Warren passed away in 2006, Lauren (who is now 86) worked as a consultant on the film. She alleges that many of the most frightening scenes were based off actual events.
Andrea Peron, who resided in the allegedly “haunted” farm on which the film is based off of, says she is unsurprised when people are disbelief of their story. She continues saying: “I understand that people are entitled to their own opinions… but I know what we experienced first-hand.”
2- The Mothman Prophecies in 2002
The Mothman Prophecies is a horror film based on the 1975 book of the same name. The movie follows a mysterious creature with “supernatural” powers, and stars Richard Gere and Laura Linney.
John Klein, a reporter, is investigating the story of a mythical creature known as the “Mothman”. After his wife dies from a brain tumor, John finds her sketchbook. Her pictures depict a “moth-like” being with red eyes that she sketched numerous times.
He goes to Point Pleasant, West Virginia to cover a news article, but finds much more than he bargained for. The residents have been sighting an odd creature and other inexplicable phenomenons. the movie is based on real events that people who have gone through these sightings claim as truth .
In 1967, the “Silver Bridge” in Point Pleasant, Virginia collapsed while rush hour traffic was crossing it. All of the cars fell into the river below and 46 people were killed.
Nevertheless, there was another tale that gained media traction during this catastrophe involving a mythical creature called the “Mothman”. This being had been spotted on several occasions before the disaster. Again, witnesses saw a similar entity in 1986 just days prior to the Chernobyl accident in Ukraine.
3- My Friend Dahmer movie in 2017
This biographical horror movie covers the teen years of Jeffrey Dahmer, a serial killer, in the seventies. It follows his personal experiences and the abuse he endured from classmates.
My Friend Dahmer was written by John Backderff, who was actually a friend of Dahmer’s in high school.
The film provides us with some understanding of Dahmer’s life through his friend John Backderff, by exploring their friendship and Dahmer’s many quirks. Ross Lynch gives an outstanding performance that lends credibility to the realistic story.
4- Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile 2019
The 2019 film Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile tells the story of notorious serial killer “Ted Bundy” through the eyes of his long-time girlfriend Liz Kendall. Kendall remained in denial about her boyfriend’s crimes for years, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. In fact, much of this movie is based on entries from Kendall’s diary. The film was produced by Netflix.
The film, which was heavily criticized, goes into detail about Bundy’s relationship with Kendall; including his emotionally abusive behavior. It also provides viewers with information and evidence regarding his involvement in a string of unsolved kidnappings and murders. By casting Zac Efron as Bundy, the film causes people to see him in a more sympathetic light- he doesn’t just resemble Bundy physically, but he makes him seem sexy and handsome.
Unlike other potential candidates, he a charm that lured in women even though they knew of his profession as a deadly killer. In 1997, there were groups of women who actually attended Bondi’s trial in Florida with the intention of seeing him but despite this knowledge, they still described him as “really dreamy.”
5- The Zodiac movie in 2007
David Fincher is the mastermind behind many successful films, but his 2007 film Zodiac takes the cake when it comes to intricate storytelling. The title refers to a nickname given to a killer in San Francisco who spends years taunting authorities with threatening messages and confusing riddles.
The film “The Zodiac” is based on Robert Graysmith’s novels of the same name. Jake Gyllenhaal portrays Graysmith in the movie, with other cast members including Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo as an inspector assigned to the case. This horror thriller film will keep you at the edge of your seat with its suspenseful plot and questionable source material.