A Nightmare On Elm Street
While A Nightmare on Elm Street doesn’t seem like it could possibly be based on a true story, it most certainly is. In the movie, a pockmarked madman sets out to terrorize teens in their dreams. You might be wondering how that could even happen in real life. Well, it did, and the story behind the movie may be even more terrifying than the movie itself. The director of A Nightmare on Elm Street, Wes Craven, became mesmerized by an article he had read in the L.A. Times.
According to Vulture, the article was about a “family who had escaped the Killing Fields in Cambodia and managed to get to the U.S. Things were fine, and then suddenly the young son was having very disturbing nightmares. He told his parents he was afraid that if he slept, the thing chasing him would get him, so he tried to stay awake for days at a time. When he finally fell asleep, his parents thought this crisis was over. Then they heard screams in the middle of the night. By the time they got to him, he was dead. He died in the middle of a nightmare. Here was a youngster having a vision of a horror that everyone older was denying. That became the central line of Nightmare on Elm Street.”
The Hills Have Eyes
If you’ve ever seen The Hills Have Eyes, you know how disturbing the storyline is. If you haven’t, brace yourselves. The 1977 cult horror film, directed by Wes Craven, was about a family who was being hunted by deformed cannibals. And you guessed it, this movie too was based on real-life cannibalism. Let that sink in.
According to Flavorwire, this morbid and terrifying story is based on the Sawney Bean story. Throughout the 15th and 16th century in Scotland, Bean and his lover left home and headed for the caves along the coast. They lived in these caves for many years and ended up having 14 children. The family would attack random people who ventured near the caves and MURDERED. THEM. FOR. FOOD. They didn’t hunt animals, they murdered humans, for food. Locals in nearby towns began to notice people going missing and even found body parts washing up on shore. The Bean family was hunted down and brought to trial for the murder and cannibalization of over 1,000 people. When the family was caught, there were 48 members, almost all of them a product of incest.
Any movie having to do with possessed and killer dolls is terrifying, but a movie based on a doll that actually terrorizes in real life?! That is one doll we’d stay far away from.
According to Flavorwire, the movie Child’s Play originally started out as a satire about toys and the way they were marketed for children, but clearly, the film took a horrific turn. The writer of the movie, Don Mancini, later changed it to be more about a serial killer who uses voodoo to bring his soul into that of a doll. This voodoo magic doesn’t just happen in the movies, kids. It actually happened in real life to a painter and author by the name of Robert Eugene Otto.
A Jamaican nurse gave a doll, by the name Robert the Doll, to Otto in 1904. Sometime later a riff happened between her and her employer and with spite she cursed the doll. Otto would constantly be found talking to the doll when he was young and his family began seeing things go missing and being moved about his room. They would even hear Otto’s ear-shattering screams coming from his room at night. Later down the road, after Otto had died, the doll was left with the new homeowners. The attacks didn’t stop with Otto. The new homeowners claimed the doll could move and was out to kill them. The doll is now displayed in a museum as a stop on a popular ghost tour.
As a lover of scary movies, and the one who seems to pick out all of the worst ones, The Conjuring was one of the scary movies that actually scared me. It was released in theaters in 2013 and showed the lives of two paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren, who were investigating a family that claimed they were being haunted and terrorized by a dark presence in their new home in Rhode Island. From the beginning, the film was promoted heavily as being “based on a true story.”
According to HuffPost, though Ed Warren died in 2006, Lorraine Warren is still haunted by what she saw in this particular house. In their later life, the Warrens founded the New England Society for Psychic Research. Tony Spera, the society’s current director, said their story is about as real as it gets. “The movie is very close to the actual events that traumatized the family,” Spera said. “Banging sounds, rapping noises, ghostly images and the presence of the witch were [all] occurrences that actually transpired in that house.”
The story behind the movie Audrey Rose is quite a sad, yet creepy one indeed. In the movie, Elliot Hoover’s daughter dies in a fiery car crash, but 11 years later, he starts to become convinced his daughter was reincarnated as a girl named Ivy. This 1977 movie was actually based on the experience of Frank De Felitta and his own son who seemed to be reincarnated himself. In an interview with People Magazine, Felitta talks about the first time they noticed the incarnation of his son and how it inspired him to write his book based on the same idea:
“He and his wife, Dorothy, were relaxing on the terrace of their Los Angeles home in the summer of 1971. Suddenly they heard piano music in the style of Fats Waller coming from the house. ‘We went in and there was Raymond at the piano, going like the devil. We were shocked. In fact, we were scared. Raymond said his fingers were doing it.’ The boy, then 6, had never before displayed any hint of musical talent.
De Felitta consulted a Los Angeles occultist named Barbara Ryan, who explained Raymond’s mystifying talent as ‘an incarnation leak.’ ‘She told me that Raymond was one of those souls who had been through many lifetimes,’ De Felitta says. ‘They have innate memories of past lives, and they pick up where they left off in a past life.’ Fascinated, Frank began to read American mystic Edgar Cayce, Hindu texts on reincarnation and the works of a University of Virginia psychiatrist investigating the subject.”
The Shining, directed by Stanley Kubrick, is based on Stephen King’s book that came out in 1977. King’s book was based on a personal experience that haunted him and inspired the book. The movie is about a family who takes care of a huge hotel for the winter. The hotel is set in isolation and this along with a quite odd phenomenon starts to overtake the family.
In reality, King and his wife, Tabitha, experienced a similar hotel while staying in Colorado. According to Flavorwire, they arrived at the hotel just as they were set to close for the season. King and his wife were the only guests in the place. This eerie hotel, along with a terribly horrifying nightmare, lead to the creation of The Shining. King said, “That night I dreamed of my three-year-old son running through the corridors, looking back over his shoulder, eyes wide, screaming. He was being chased by a fire-hose. I woke up with a tremendous jerk, sweating all over, within an inch of falling out of bed.”
When he awoke from his nightmare, King got up, had a smoke, and by the time he was done, he had the plot of the book firmly set in his mind.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a horror film classic that came out in 1974 and was directed by Tobe Hooper. The movie is about a group of friends that are visiting an old relative’s house. The group is then hunted by a man named Leatherface and his family of cannibals. The film is so violent it was even banned in many countries.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is actually based on some true events, specifically the infamous serial killer, Edward Gein. Author Michael Newton told HuffPost, “Crazy Ed, like Hooper’s Leatherface character, wore the skinned-out scalps and faces of his victims and decorated his farmhouse with human remains.” Newton said there is no proof that Gein indulged in cannibalism, but the suggestion was there. “Arresting officers did find a victim’s heart in a pan atop Gein’s stove,” he said. “When asked if he planned to eat it, Gein allegedly replied, ‘Do you think I’m crazy?'”
Gein’s crimes are said to be the inspiration for several other films, including, Psycho and The Silence of the Lambs.
The Haunting In Connecticut
Like many other horror movies, The Haunting in Connecticut shows a family and their terrifying experiences with a supernatural behavior in their new home, which just so happens to be a former mortuary. And just like almost all paranormal movies, The Haunting in Connecticut was based on a true story as well.
Carmen Reed and her family lived in Southington, Connecticut during the 1980s and claimed their house was subject of some paranormal activity. In an interview with HuffPost, Reed said, “There were a lot of things that were very accurate, [but they also] changed a lot of things around and turned it into Hollywood. [What they portrayed] was very accurate, but the shower curtain scene happened to me, not my niece.”
According to Reed, seances depicted in the movie also never occurred, but the exorcism of the demons was a reality. In order to keep a PG-13 rating, there were also a lot of events that took place in real life that were not depicted on screen because they were too intense.
The Exorcist is a popular movie based on a real-life exorcism. The movie came out in 1973 and quickly became a cult classic that showed a young girl who is possessed by a demon. The movie goes through the mother’s attempts and failures to try and get her daughter back from this evil possession.
According to Brian Dunning, host of the podcast Skeptoid, there is some truth behind the scenes of the horror film. “The [movie] was based on the actual case of an anonymous boy in 1949, given the pseudonyms Robbie Mannheim or Roland Doe,” Dunning told HuffPost. “The boy survived and went on to have a normal life, largely because his actual case was not nearly [as] dramatic as what was depicted in the movie.”
The Exorcist was not only inspired by an existing story but was also hugely influential for many other horror stories that followed. Dunning said, “In the lawsuits seeking royalties following the success of The Amityville Horror book and movie, it came out that publisher Prentice Hall was actively looking for stories to ride the wave of popularity of The Exorcist. The judge even rebuked The Amityville Horror creators for writing fiction [and for] trying to copy The Exorcist,“