Devastedly Terrifying Movies Inspired By Real Life Events

Many of the iconic horror movies of this generation and generations in the past are inspired by true events. From bloody merciless films depicting notorious serial killers to unexplained supernatural or demonic possessions, this gallery shows which harrowing real-life events that made it onto the big screen.

The Exorcist (1973)

Released in 1973, Exorcist is a supernatural scary movie directed by William Friedkin. It is based on a 1971 novel by William Peter Blatty and it narrates a real-life story of a young lad named Roland Doe who was bewitched by demons in 1949.

The movie was so frightful that countless books have been written on it by some people who allegedly had knowledge of the event. The film is in some measure faithful to the novel. Featuring Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair, the movie will make you get goose pimples watching how the mother of the 12-year-old girl tried to free her daughter from the demonic possession through an exorcism carried out by two priests. Ever thought dolls can come to life?

 Annabelle (2014)

The film is a horror movie inspired by a true story of a demonic presence in a doll named Annabelle. Told by Ed and Lorraine Warren, the movie suggests that anyone who manhandled, molested, provoked or insulted the doll faced-near-death. It stars Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, and Alfre Woodard and

It stars Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, and Alfre Woodard and was released worldwide on October 3, 2014. The film which is a spin-off from the successful Conjuring series cautions us to be careful how we treat our dolls!

Next: The true story of a loved-up couple terrorized by demons.

The Haunting In Connecticut (2009)

The 2009 psychological horror film is adapted to a true event of a couple; Alan and Carmen Snedeker. The Snedekers who innocently packed into an old house received torture by violent and terrific demons. The haunted couple allegedly worked with ED and Lorraine Warren just so they let the world know their experience.

Next: This classic ’70s horror movie was inspired by a real-life serial killer…

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

The 1974 insanely famous and utterly frightening film, Texas Chainsaw Massacre is another scary movie copied from a true life story. The movie is relatively based on America’s well-known real-life serial murder Ed Gein, who had nine human skin masks in his home at the time he was nabbed by the police.

Next: Another classics…

 Jaws (1975)

Jaws was based on a 1974 novel by Peter Benchley which shares the same name. It tells the story of a huge man-eating great white shark that harms beachgoers on Amity Island. The experience of an actual fisherman on Long Island led to the story identified as Frank Mundus.

Frank was a professional shark hunter, who later faced a violent attack said to have similar features and mannerism as what Quint described in the movie. So look carefully whenever you’re on the beach!

Next: The history behind The Hills Have Eyes

The Hills Have Eyes (2006)

A 1977 flick which was remade in 2006 of which the two versions tells a horrifying tale of a horde of incestuous, deformed cannibals. But the film is to some extent adapted to Sawney Bean, a 15th-century Scottish clan leader who kidnapped, molested, killed and ate hundreds of humans with his family.

A Nightmare On Elm Street (1991)

Now talk about nightmare horror! Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street is among the most-known scary movies of all time. The flick tells the story of an undead serial killer who murdered people their sleep. What’s more scary is that the movie is allegedly inspired by a group of Laotian refugees who had passed away in their nightmares. The medical reports claim they all died of natural cause and there is still no explanation today. Next: Terrifying Events That Took Place In Australia 

Wolf Creek (2005)

Be careful with strangers…that’s the thought when we hear of Wolf Creek. The flick is a narration of three backpackers who got stranded in the Australian outback after their car broke down. They made friends with a stranger who turns out to be a ruthless serial killer who abducted and subjected them to torture. The film is based on a good number of life crimes: in the 1990s Ivan Milat abducted hitchhiking backpackers who were plunged into a hellish torture in the forest while Bradley John Murdoch seized two tourists in Australia in the 2000s.   Next: A Scary Texan Killer

The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976)

The Town That Dreaded Sundown is an assailant movie representing an unsympathetic maniac that terrorises a Texan town. It’s a copy true events; the Texas-Arkansas boundary used to be tortured by a man identified Phantom Killer in the 1940s. Authorities never caught the murderer, but the events inspired director-star Charles Pierce to create this classic.

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Child’s Play (1988)

We’ve all heard of Chucky, a serial killer who was trapped into a doll. However, not many know that the script was based on an actual nurse who reportedly placed a satanic curse on author Robert Eugene Otto which transformed one of his good childhood dolls into a night-time torment.

The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)

The story of Hannibal Lecter is a popular one; everyone knows it. The film is based on a series of books which were in fact based on the serial killer ‘Buffalo Bill’, also known as Ed Gein, who skinned victims alive. The film was also inspired by Ted Bundy, who lured women to his home and murdered them. Next: Creepy Voodoo.

Borderland (2007)

The film is about three friends visited Mexican border town and a human-sacrificing cult took them captive The film is  based on Adolfo de Jess Constanzo, a leader of a cult where humans were publicly sacrificed. Adolfo captured drug cartels and murdered them cold-bloodedly. Plus mutilation which he conducted was bitterly heartless, so let’s not go down with the details.

The Amityville Horror (2005)

The Amityville Horror films, both the original and the remake, were to some extent based on the events that happened as far back as 1975 at 112, Ocean Avenue, the recent home of the Lutz family in Amityville. The family faced demonic or spiritual torture, and the story gained fame. Even it became a usual topic among supernatural researchers

Zodiac (2007)

The unidentified Zodiac Killer has inspired a lot of stories and Zodiac is among them. The real-life serial murderer who dubbed himself ‘Zodiac’ in his letters to the local newspaper and police killed in and around the San Francisco area. The notorious serial killer carried the yet to be resolved crimes during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Though he taunted authorities with blood-stained clothing of several victims, and cyphers mailed to newspapers, there are only five confirmed deaths linked to him in total, despite him claiming to have killed 37.

I Spit On Your Grave (1978)

A rape and revenge exploitation horror movie which tells the story of a writer Jennifer Hills who was brutally gang raped by locals. The director was inspired by one of his encounter with a woman who faced a violent sexual abuse in Central Park in 1974.

Psycho (1960)

This classic thriller-horror movie is based on a novel of the same name. The novel was loosely inspired by Ed Gein’s crimes as well as the Wisconsin murders. When we say loosely, we meant it as Ed Gein was only arrested as the author finished the novel. It wasn’t until Gein’s arrest that the author realised his fictional character was very similar to Gein.

From Hell (2001)

Jack the Ripper  became famous as the most popular serial murder in human history and in England. His real personality wasn’t really known, but the story goes that a man was killing prostitutes in the 1880s by slashing off their throats, and then taking off their internal organs. The tragic tale inspired the 2001 horror film, From Hell.

The Conjuring (2013)

The movie depicted Ed and Lorraine Warren who were real-life supernatural researchers. The Warrens resolved several paranormal cases including that of Annabelle and the one this movie. In the movie, they came to the aid of a family haunted by spiritual possessions.

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Fire In The Sky (1993)

Travis Walton, a man who claims to have been seized by aliens in November 1975. He claimed to have been caught on his way to Snowflake, Arizona with a few colleagues. Walton got missing for five days before he returned. Moments after he showed up, he in a book shared his experience. The book later translated into this film.

The Strangers (2008)


The Strangers is a film of killers and maniacs. The director of this thriller, Bryan Bertino, based it on the killings conducted by serial killer Charles Manson and other related events that occurred  next to his childhood home. Quite a terrifying childhood experience!

The Girl Next Door (2007)

The killing of Sylvia Likens, a 16-year-old girl from Indiana in 1965 caused an uproar. Gertrude Baniszewski, a family friend of Sylvia were asked to take of her and her sister Jenny when their parents left town as travelling carnival workers. Baniszewski and her children locked Sylvia in the basement where they abused and harrowed her to death. She was said to have died of a brain haemorrhage.

Amara Onuh
Amara Onuh
Amara is a personal finance and entertainment writer and journalist by trade with several years of experience covering businesses, CEOs, and celebrity profiles. She has worked as a full-time writer since 2015, and while she finds almost all the topics she writes about interesting, her favourite subjects are personal finance, business, entertainment, celebrities, and travel. Other than writing, she either spends most of her time reading Christian books or keeping up with the latest international news

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