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Horror movies based on true stories

Updated on October 4, 2013

Horror movies like ‘The Conjuring’ and ‘The Amityville Horror’ often end up with people wondering if the scary sequences shown in the films were really true or just mere figments of imagination. In most cases, the actual stories are generally based on local legends which are often not as scary as the movies that based upon on them. But sometimes, the true stories can be even more dreadful as compared to the cinematic versions, which may lead the filmmakers to tone down the depiction of alarming incidents.

A horror movie that is based on true stories is more likely to invoke your inquisitiveness and has a larger propensity to attract a wider audience. Secondly, such movies generate a lot of publicity and debate, thereby invoking an enormous amount of curiosity factor. Since it is popularly established that what you are watching on the silver-screen are moments that were really experienced by people, there is a stronger attachment to the characters in the film and the sequences therein.

Listed below are some of the most popular horror movies that were based on true stories.

  • The Entity (1981) – It is one of the creepiest horror stories to be ever made. The movie tells the story about a woman named Carla Moran and her horrible experiences with a supernatural entity. She is a single parent to three children and allegedly possessed by a ghostly entity that repeatedly tortured and raped her. Paranormal researchers Barry Taff and Kerry Gaynor probed this unique true story of Doris Bither in 1974. She resided in Culver City, California and stated that she was continuously assaulted both physically and sexually, by a paranormal entity. The researchers did actually come across objects that moved around the house on their own, saw a human-like ghostly figure, and took pictures of floating lights. However, they never found the apparition tormenting the woman, nor did they try to imprison it. The ghostly events ceased after the family left the house forever. However, her terrible real life tales gave enough data for making one of the scariest horror movies ever.

  • The Amityville Horror (1979) – The movie tells the story about an unpretentious family, Kathy and John Lutz, who move into a Long Island mansion along with their 3 children. This house was witness to a mass murder in the year 1973. The Lutz family was driven out of their new home after a series of spooky and ghostly occurrences that made their life miserable. The movie is based on a book ‘The Amityville Horror - A True Story’ (1977), which recounts the horrific experiences of the couple and their children. They could only stay for about 4 weeks, before they ran out of the house to save their lives and sanity. During their stay at the mansion, the couple supposedly heard strange voices during the day, came across many cold spots within the premises of the mansion, and witnessed slimy green substances that oozed through the walls. Researchers have vehemently disputed the claims of the couple, and doubt the story’s authenticity. The movie is however very terrifying and a must watch during Halloween. Apparently, one of the children in the family, Daniel, now 40; and working as a UPS driver in Queens, insists that the haunted happenings in the house were for real.

  • Wolf Creek (2005) – It is an Australian horror movie which documents the tale of 3 backpackers touring the Australian Outback and the horrors that they have to endure while held captive by a serial killer. This horror flick is based on the true story of serial killer Ivan Milat who murdered close to 7 backpackers in the 1990s, in and around the Belanglo State Forest area. The convict used to stalk the hiking enthusiasts before eventually killing them by stabbing them to death, shooting, strangling, or mercilessly beating his targets to death. Milat’s only reason for the murderous rage was that a body was available to be killed. He revealed no other motives. It is indeed very bone chilling!

  • The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005) – The film tells the tale of a priest who is undergoing a trail for the unlawful death of Emily Rose. The priest had carried out an exorcism on her. The film also narrates the struggles of this young woman with the demonic possession and the varied aspects of the priest’s trail, thereby leading to a debate between faith and science.The movie is based on the real life story of Annelise Michel, a sixteen year old German girl. She had a sudden onset of starvation, self-abuse, paralysis, and other symptoms of possession by an evil entity. Her suffering continued to deteriorate and augment until 7 years later two priests carried out exorcisms on her after finding out that she was possessed by many evil spirits. Annelise eventually died due to starvation in July 1976, and the priests as well as her parents were convicted of manslaughter after a trail.

  • The Conjuring (2013) – This movie is one of the biggest examples of horror movies based on real stories, doing exceeding well. Made with a humble budget of just $21 million, it went on to amass more than $112 million, doing amazing business in the US, UK and India. The story is based on the scary encounters of the real-life couple and paranormal encounters, Ed and Lorraine. In 1971, Carolyn Perron, her husband Roger and their five kids moved into a farmhouse in Harrisville, Rhode Island. In the course of the nine years they stayed in the house, they began experiencing paranormal sightings and weird sounds. Finally, they invited the Warrens to investigate. While many doubt the legitimacy of the incident, April Perron, one of the little girls in the family, who even promoted the film, vouches that the haunted things happened in real and that she had a relationship with the ghostly boy.

Ed and Lorraine Warren had investigated more than 4000 demonic cases, the two noteworthy ones being made into successful movies - The Amityville Horror and The Conjuring. Though her husband Ed Warren is no more, the 86 year old Lorraine says that both the movies were indeed, based on real life horror incidents, that they experienced as a couple.


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