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9 Horror Movies Inspired by True Stories That Will Send a Chill Down Your Spine

Lock the doors.

Horror movies are a dividing line in the sand. Those of us who love them do so fanatically. The scarier, the better, the more gore, the more fun. Those who hate them ... really hate them.

But for those of us in the "love" category, nothing is better than a scary movie based on a true story. Because what could possibly be scarier than real mayhem? Here are nine horror movies that actually happened in real life.

1. The Hills Have Eyes

horror movies inspired by true stories
  • Photo Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Pretty crazy, right? How could a story about a cannibalistic family that attacks a nice Midwestern family on a road trip be true? The story is based on the Sawney Bean family, a legendary family of over 48 members, some of whom were the product of incestuous relationships. As the story goes, the Bean clan robbed, murdered, and ate unlucky victims in the 1500's. They are said to have had more than 1,000 victims.

Related: 10 Terrifying Horror Movies Based on True Stories 

2. Jaws

horror movies inspired by true stories
  • Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

The terrifying shark movie was based on a series of great white attacks off the New Jersey shore in 1916 that started with a strapping young man and terrorized one shore town all summer long. 

3. Wolf Creek

horror movies inspired by true stories
  • Photo Credit: Dimension Films

This little known horror flick from Australia is largely of the torture porn genre and tells the story of two travelers in the outback who are terrorized by a man. The movie is based on a fusion of two stories. Of the two, the most terrifying is that of Ivan Milat, a man who captured and tortured many travelers during the 1990s.

Related: Backpacker Murders: The Brutal Crimes of Australian Serial Killer Ivan Milat 

4. The Mothman Prophecies

horror movies inspired by true stories
  • Photo Credit: Lakeshore Entertainment

The movie is all about the mothman, a winged creature who appears in West Virginia and warns of dangerous events. In this case, it was a bridge collapsing. In the late 1960s, this happened. A series of mothman sightings did indeed occur in Point Pleasant, West Virginia—just before a massive bridge collapse that killed 46 people.

Related: Here's the Creepy Mothman Documentary You Need to Watch Tonight 

5. A Nightmare on Elm Street

horror movies inspired by true stories
  • Photo Credit: New Line Cinema

This horror classic tells the story of Freddy Krueger, a child molester and all around evil guy who was burned in a fire and comes back to exact revenge on the children of those who hurt him by stalking their dreams. Far fetched, yes. But the real story is almost as freaky. Wes Craven, who made the film, says he was inspired by an article he read in the L.A. Times about refugees from Southeast Asia who died while having nightmares.

6. The Conjuring

horror movies inspired by true stories
  • Photo Credit: New Line Cinema

Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) are very famous ghost hunters who are very real and this is one of their stories. This farmhouse was full of demons and evil and the Warrens did help the family try to save themselves.

Related: 9 Scariest Books Based on Real-Life Hauntings 

7. Amityville Horror

horror movies inspired by true stories
  • Photo Credit: American International Pictures (AIP)

The Warrens, mentioned above, also dealt with this house, which has become the subject of books, movies, and more. It's all real and it all happened in Long Island.

Related: The Real Amityville Horror: A Look Back at the DeFeo Murders 

8. The Exorcist

the exorcist
  • Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

The Exorcist is the movie that terrified a generation, but it is based on a book about the real life Roland Doe who was possessed by demons in 1949. The exorcism was said to be utterly terrifying. The result? The movie.

Related: Evil Among Us: Was the 1973 Horror Classic The Exorcist Cursed? 

9. The Strangers

horror movies inspired by true stories
  • Photo Credit: Rogue Pictures

This is hands down one of the scariest movies ever made. A couple is terrorized alone in a remote lake house by a masked trio who seem to be killing and terrorizing for sport. The film is based on the Manson murders in Los Angeles which were every bit as horrifying and traumatic as this.

Published on 13 Sep 2017

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