When watching a horror film, it’s common to remind oneself that “it’s just a movie” in order to calm down after feeling scared. But what if the film is based on a true event? The phrase “based on a true story” is often used loosely in the movie industry, with many details being altered for dramatic effect. However, some horror movies are indeed inspired by real-life events, and the similarities to the true story can be eerie. These 15 horror movies based on true stories may have been changed for the sake of the film, but the underlying true events are still enough to give you chills. Remember, though, that even if it’s just a movie for you, the story was real for someone else.
Here is a list of the 10 Horror Movies based on true stories that are perfect for a night out with your homies! Don’t forget to switch off the lights!
The true story of the Zodiac Killer, who terrorized the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 1960s and early 1970s, is the basis of David Fincher’s 2007 crime-thriller Zodiac. Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, and Robert Downey Jr. star in the movie, which follows the investigation conducted by detectives David Toschi and William Armstrong of the San Francisco police department as well as cartoonist Robert Graysmith, who becomes fixated on cracking the case. After its debut, Zodiac received favorable reviews and received nominations for a number of honors, including four Oscars. The real-life search for one of America’s most notorious serial killers is chillingly depicted in one of Fincher’s best works.
Based on William Peter Blatty’s 1971 novel of the same name, The Exorcist is a 1973 horror movie that was directed by William Friedkin. Regan, a young girl who is possessed by a demonic entity, and the two priests who try to drive the demon from her body are the subjects of the movie. The movie, which features Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair, and Max von Sydow, is regarded as one of the best horror movies ever made. Upon its release, The Exorcist received positive reviews and was a financial success. It received ten Academy Award nominations and won two of them. Due to its intense and unsettling subject matter and accurate depiction of exorcism, the movie became a cultural phenomenon and a classic.
Based on Daphne du Maurier’s short story of the same name, Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 horror-thriller The Birds is a classic. The story of a small town that is suddenly and unexplainably attacked by birds is told in the movie, which also stars Tippi Hedren, Rod Taylor, and Jessica Tandy. The suspenseful atmosphere, unsettling special effects, and iconic imagery of the movie make it a genre classic. When it was first released, The Birds was a commercial success and received a special effects Academy Award nomination. The movie is regarded by many as one of Hitchcock’s best and most iconic creations, as well as a turning point in the development of horror movies.
Bryan Bertino is the director of the psychological horror movie The Strangers from 2008. The movie, which features Liv Tyler, Scott Speedman, and Glenn Howerton, centres on a young couple who are terrorised by three masked assailants while staying in a remote vacation home. The movie, which is loosely based on actual events, is renowned for its intense and suspenseful atmosphere as well as its plausible plot. The Strangers was a box office hit and received generally favourable reviews from critics, some of whom praised its capacity to evoke fear and tension without resorting to excessive gore. The Strangers: Prey at Night, a 2018 sequel, was also influenced by the first film.
The 2011 Australian crime drama film Snowtown was helmed by Justin Kurzel. The Snowtown murders, which took place in South Australia in the 1990s, are the subject of the movie’s true-life inspiration. Lucas Pittaway plays Jamie Vlassakis, a young person who joins a crew of criminals led by Daniel Henshall’s John Bunting who carry out a string of gruesome murders. The movie won several awards and nominations, including the Grand Jury Prize at the 2011 Adelaide Film Festival, and was praised by critics for its portrayal of the events and the performances. The movie Snowtown, which examines themes of power, manipulation, and the nature of evil, is regarded as being intense and disturbing.
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The Amityville Horror
The Amityville Horror is a 1979 supernatural horror film directed by Stuart Rosenberg and based on the 1977 book of the same name by Jay Anson. The film is inspired by the true story of the Lutz family, who claimed to have experienced paranormal activity in their new home on Long Island, New York. The film stars James Brolin and Margot Kidder and follows the Lutz family as they move into the house and are plagued by terrifying supernatural occurrences. The film was a commercial success and was followed by several sequels and remakes. The Amityville Horror is considered a classic of the horror genre and is known for its eerie atmosphere and its association with the true events that inspired the story.
The Conjuring, the first entry in The Conjuring Universe, is a supernatural horror movie that James Wan directed in 2013. The movie is based on the true story of the Perron family, who assert that a strong, evil spirit haunted their farmhouse in Rhode Island in the 1970s. In the movie, Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson play demonologists and paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, who were asked to assist the Perron family. The Conjuring received praise for its gripping narrative, excellent performances, and capacity to evoke frights through atmosphere and sound design. One of the most successful horror franchises of all time. The Conjuring was a commercial success and has since inspired a number of sequels and spin-offs.
The Stepfather and its 2009 remake were both based on real-life serial killer John List. However, in order to dramatise the horror of List’s true story, the movie makes significant artistic licence. The movie’s portrayal of the titular stepfather as a serial killer involved him killing his family, then moving, getting remarried, and preparing to kill his subsequent family.
In actuality, John List killed every member of his family before going on with his life. The remains weren’t discovered until a month after List’s arrest, which came 18 years after the murders. There was no concrete evidence that List was planning another murder, as the film suggests, but he had relocated and remarried without anyone being aware of his nefarious past.
In The Watcher, a young couple who had recently moved into a New Jersey home but quickly realised they had made the wrong decision is the subject of a true crime story about recent events. The couple started getting strange notes in their mailbox after bringing their kids inside the house.
At first it was just strange, but it quickly became terrifying because the stalker knew about their children and personal information about their lives, including the nicknames they gave the kids. Despite theories over the years about who was sending these messages from neighbors or even looking into the family, The Watcher has never been found. One of the best true-story-based horror films is this one.
In 1998, two Americans named Tom and Eileen Lonergan were unintentionally left behind during a group scuba diving excursion off the Great Barrier Reef. A lot of sharks, according to filmmaker Chris Kentis’ educated guess, is what ultimately happened to them. Their remains were never discovered. As a distillation of a widely held irrational fear, it may be even more potent than Jaws. However, because it was made on a small budget, in real water, and with real live sharks, it may be more of a well-executed nightmare than a full-fledged movie.