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The Best Horror Movies Based On Real Stories

People have various attitudes towards horror movies, but it’s undeniable that the moment a text that says “based on a true story” pops up on the screen, some sort of uneasiness instantly washes over us. Not only is it going to be, very likely, pretty harrowing, but it allegedly happened in real life too? The most terrifying thing about these films is that they’re often exaggerated for dramatic purposes, so how can you know where the line between reality and fiction is? Here’s a list of the best horror movies that have been inspired by real events.

#1 The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

The Best Horror Movies

Courtesy of Screen Gems

This is one of the most famous cases of reality turned fiction, and it’s been haunting us ever since its release. The movie was inspired by the real-life case of Anneliese Michel, a girl supposedly possessed by a demon and whose exorcism was so difficult that it lasted a whole year. Keep that in mind when you decide to put on the movie.

#2 The Amityville Horror (1979)

The movie established itself as a staple of the horror genre. The most unsettling thing was that the idea wasn’t wholly fictional, as it took strong inspiration from the book written by George and Kathy Lutz, the inhabitants of a horror-filled haunted house. Some people believe it, some people don’t.

#3 Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

The Best Horror Movies

Courtesy of Bryanston Pictures

One of the films that’re part of the holy group of classic slasher films, Texas Chainsaw Massacre was loosely inspired by the case of a gruesome killer named Ed Gein. Similarly to the, uh, beloved Leatherface character, he would create masks out of the skins of his victims. Ed Gein served as inspiration for other horror flick characters, including Norman Bates (Psycho) and Buffalo Bill (Silence of the Lambs.)

#4 The Conjuring (2013)

Considered to be one of the scariest movies in recent years, The Conjuring tells a story that had been previously shared with the world by Ed and Lorraine Warren, two famous paranormal investigators. They said that the case presented in the movie was one of their toughest and who can blame them?

#5 Child’s Play (1988)

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Courtesy of MGM/UA Communications Co.

Every kid’s biggest nightmare, Chucky, allegedly tormented for real author Robert Eugene Otto. He claimed that a nurse had placed a curse on him, which resulted in transforming one of his favorite childhood dolls into a relentless murder machine of mayhem and terror. That’s nice. Don’t play with dolls again, kids.

#6 The Strangers (2008)

The writer of this movie combined a terrifying childhood memory with the real-life case of a serial killer named Charles Manson. He remembers a group of strangers knocking on his door and asking for someone who doesn’t live there. Later on, he found out that these people broke into the house if they got no answer.

#7 The Girl Next Door (2007)

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Courtesy of Starz Home Entertainment

If you think that a movie about a girl getting tortured and then killed sounds like it’s too much to swallow, then don’t watch it. You have all the more reasons to now that you know that this was a case that actually happened and it shook Indiana forever.

#8 A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

We can’t prove that Freddy Krueger really existed, but he was created in the aftermath of some real-life events that were eerily similar to the movie’s plot. Several people had reportedly died because of the torments of their nightmares, with doctors not having been able to detect anything wrong with them physically.

#9 The Exorcist (1973)


The Best Horror Movies

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Oh, great! As if The Exorcist wasn’t scary enough, now it’s inspired by true events, too? The case behind the movie was of a boy called Roland Doe, whose exorcism was supposedly so frightening that several books have been written by witnesses.

#10 The Haunting in Connecticut (2009)

Tired of the same horror movie cliché involving a family moving into a big, suburban, and haunted house? Try this movie to press rewind on the trope, as it was inspired by the real case of Al and Carmen Snedeker, a couple who was tormented by the terrors of their haunted house.