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.

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