Bonjour! Here we are again with another Top 10 list. Here is the compilation of the 10 Horror stories based on actual events. This compilation isn’t a ranking of the films. Instead, this is a list of movies based or inspired by real events that took place in the past.
10) Nightmare on ELM Street.
The scary-looking character of Freddy Krueger was an invention of director and writer Wes Craven, and so was the teen-centric concept of the film. But what about the possibility and fear of dying in one’s sleep due to uncomfortably terrifying nightmares? That’s a very real thing. In the 1970s, a group of Southeast Asian genocide refugees in the U.S. suffered from such vivid night terrors that some refused to sleep. A few who eventually fell asleep died during their slumber despite being otherwise healthy. The condition was first dubbed Asian Death Syndrome. Still, it was later called sudden unexplained death syndrome, or Brugada syndrome. It was Craven’s inspiration for his now-famous, uber-popular horror franchise.
9) Amityville Horror.
As scary as it is, the basic premise of 1979’s “The Amityville Horror” is true. Ronald DeFeo Jr. did shoot and kill all six members of his family in a Dutch colonial house in Amityville, New York. The Lutz family later occupied the home. The Lutzes had experienced many of the phenomena portrayed in the film. It is based on the supposed non-fiction book by Jay Anson. Including swarms of flies inside the house out of season, cold spots, mysterious smells, vivid nightmares of the murders, and noises. The fact that George Lutz would wake up every day at 3:15 A.M., which he later found out was the exact time the murders took place. And yes, the Lutz family did flee the house without their possessions, never to return.
8) The Exorcist.
Often known as the scariest horror movie in history, “The Exorcist” is based on a true story. Well, it’s based on a book published in 1971 of the same name by William Peter Blatty who also served as a screenwriter and producer of the film. The book is based on the exorcism of Roland Doe. Doe was the pseudonym given to a young boy who, in the late 1940s, was visited by several priests attempting to cure him of an alleged demonic possession. Roland reportedly spoke in a gravelly voice and was blamed for furniture and objects mysteriously moving or flying across the room and several strange, unexplained noises. During two separate exorcisms, the boy also became violent, breaking the nose of one priest and slipping out of his arm restraints, sticking his arm into his mattress, breaking a metal spring, and stabbing a different priest with a sharp object.
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7) The Hills Have Eyes.
No one knows if the legend of Sawney Bean is a true story, but according to folklore, Bean was the leader of a 48-person clan in 16th-century Scotland that kidnapped, killed, and ate more than 1,000 people. While searching for the mysterious murderers, locals lynched numerous innocents. Then, upon capturing Bean, they brutally executed him and his followers. This tale of a cannibalistic clan that turned normal people into savages, on both sides of the law was the inspiration for “The Hills Have Eyes,” a 1977 horror film written, directed, and edited by Wes Craven. A remake was released in 2006 and a sequel in 2007, but neither could stand up to the original.
6) Exorcism of Emily Rose
The Exorcism of Emily Rose is an inventive take on what it means to not only experience what demonic possession is like but also the consequences that stem from exhausting every possible means of curing an ailing 19-year-old girl. In this case, when an exorcism goes wrong, it opens up all the moral and legal issues that don’t fit into a tidy courtroom box.
Like in the cases involving paranormal researchers Ed and Lorraine Warren, most people are skeptical when it comes to anything supernatural. Thus, the task of the lawyer of the condemned priest who botched the exorcism must first prove that demonic possession is real to get a not-guilty verdict.
The film is based on the life and death of Anneliese Michel. He grew up in Post-World War II Germany and began suffering from symptoms that today would be diagnosed as schizophrenia.
However, her devoutly Catholic family insisted it was the devil’s handiwork and pressed that their local parish performs an exorcism.
Under the direction of Father Arnold Renz, Anneliese was severely deprived of food and water and physically abused – under the guise that he was helping her.
After she was found dead, her parents, Renz, and another priest, Ernst Alt, were all found guilty and liable for her death.
5) The Conjuring
Many people’s gripes with horror films is the logic behind the actions of those being tormented. However, that is easily dealt with in The Conjuring, as the film centers on the exploits of Ed and Lorraine Warren. They, as paranormal researchers, actively seek out disturbing settings (like the Amityville mentioned above Horror house).
The Warrens’ focus is on the Perron family, who know something is amiss with their new home. While it’s undoubtedly a classic set-up, the film delivers several shocking jolts that will leave you pining for a reprieve from the visual onslaught.
The scenario and the Warrens and Perron families are based on the actual relationship forged between the paranormal experts and the impacted family.
The Warrens themselves have come under criticism from naysayers who charge them with inventing ghost stories. However, the Perron family has backed up their claims regarding The Conjuring.
The Perron’s oldest daughter, Andrea, commented, “Both my mother and I would just as soon swallow our tongue than tell a lie. People are free to believe whatever they want to believe. But I know what we experienced.”
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4) Dead Ringers.
David Cronenberg’s film, Dead Ringers, finds Jeremy Irons playing identical twin gynecologists, Elliot and Beverly Mantle, who run a successful medical practice in Toronto. Although their personalities differ, the Mantle twins use their shared physical traits to pawn female companions onto one other.
When Beverly begins to have a psychotic break – interpreting his female patients as mutant-like creatures – he charts a course to physically deform them with archaic gynecological tools. Unfortunately, after injuring a patient, the practice faces irreparable harm, and both brothers fall deeper into psychosis.
Based on the true story of Stewart and Cyril Marcus. Twin gynecologists on staff at New York Hospital, Cornell Medical Center. Their seemingly perfect lives began unraveling as those around them saw their mental faculties beginning to erode.
Although the film takes several creative liberties, issues relating to depression, drug dependency, a shared sense of self, and a shocking ending for once-esteemed medical professionals all come from Marcus’s bizarre life.
3) Haunting in Connecticut
The Haunting in Connecticut is an inventive take on the haunted house horror genre. Unfortunately, adding a sick child riddled with cancer into the equation requires a family to make their new home work out of sheer proximity to the hospital.
But of course, secrets are lurking which involve the original purpose of the house – as a mortuary – and the spirits contained inside the walls.
The film is based on the recall of the Snedeker family of Southington, Connecticut, from 1986, who hired Ed and Lorraine Warren, who contended that mortuary staff had practiced necromancy and necrophilia with the corpses.
2) The Girl Next Door.
Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction. In Indianapolis back in 1965, 16-year-old Sylvia Likens was put under the care of the Baniszewski family. Who held captive, humiliated, and brutally and repeatedly tortured Likens until she eventually died of shock, malnutrition, and a brain hemorrhage. Given the extent of Likens’ injuries and other atrocities committed against her, the fact that the perpetrators included matriarch Gertrude Baniszewski, two of her teenage children, and two neighborhood kids, the events have been described as the most terrible crime ever committed in the state of Indiana. Jack Ketchum adapted the crimes into a 1989 novel titled “The Girl Next Door,” which was, in turn, adapted into a film of the same name in 2007.
A) Silence of the Lambs
Another horror film, another Ed Gein-inspired character. This time, the creepy killer was the source behind Buffalo Bill, aka Jame Gumb, the serial killer sought by Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) in 1991’s “The Silence of the Lambs,” often cited as one of the greatest films of all time. In the film and the 1988 novel on which it was based, Bill’s targets were strictly overweight women because he aimed to make a “woman suit” out of skin for himself to wear. This was also a goal of Gein, who wanted to become his deceased mother through similar means. However, Bill was also based on numerous other famous killers, including Jerry Brudos, Ted Bundy, Gary M. Heidnik, Edmund Kemper, and Gary Ridgway.
B) The Shining.
Hauntings inspire the Shining in Colorado’s infamous Stanley Hotel. In 1974, Stephen King and his wife stayed in an isolated and empty hotel. It ultimately gave him an eerie feeling and the idea for his horror novel turned film, The Shining. During his stay, he slept in a room with a haunted history. He reported seeing figures, hearing unexplained noises, and having some of his belongings stolen and broken.
When a hotel janitor, Jack Torrance, is ruled by an evil force called “The Shining,” it gives him the ability to see into the hotel’s evil past and supernatural present. But, unfortunately, the force is so strong it causes Jack to wreak havoc on his family.
1) Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The 1974 horror classic “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” was entirely fictional. Still, some elements were inspired by notorious 1950s Wisconsin murderer Ed Gein. When Gein was arrested for killing a local hardware store owner, he confessed to a previous murder. Authorities then discovered he had exhumed several corpses from local cemeteries. Using these bodies, he fashioned a wastebasket, lampshade, and masks made of human skin and faces. He placed human skulls on his bedposts, stitched together a belt made of nıpples. Collected many other body parts as trophies. In short, he made Leatherface look sane by comparison.
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