12 Horror Movies Based on True Stories

Many people enjoy watching horror movies because of the fright you get while watching them, but knowing that each of these was actually inspired by real events will make the next time you watch one of these even scarier. Keep in mind that the names may be different and the stories may be exaggerated, but they’re not as fictional as you might want to believe.

1. The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

Her real name was Anneliese Michel, and in the 1970’s, she would lose control of her body and had episodes of intense shaking. Although doctors initially diagnosed her with grand mal seizures, when her behavior became even stranger, her family members began to seek out priests to perform exorcisms on her. She had been known to drink her own urine, attack members of her family, and freak out when exposed to religious objects. After 40 exorcisms, she was still not better, and ended up dying of Pneumonia, although experts still debate as to whether or not she actually was possessed.

2. The Exorcist (1973)

This movie was based on a book which followed the true story of a boy by the name of Roland Doe. He became possessed by demons in 1949, and his exorcism was incredibly terrifying, so much so that there are multiple books that have been written about the people who actually witnessed it. All that just makes the movie that much more scary.

3. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

This movie doesn’t closely follow the story of the serial killer that it’s based on because the details aren’t known, but the simple fact that Ed Gein was in possession of nine masks of human skin when he was arrested is spooky enough to keep anyone up at night.

4. Child’s Play (1988)

Robert Eugene Otto was a real boy who experienced terror when a nurse placed a voodoo curse on one of his dolls, turning it into a terror every night. He later wrote about his experiences which inspired the movie about a possessed doll.

5. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Although Freddy Kruegar himself wasn’t real, the story was inspired by an article that Wes Craven read about some Cambodian immigrants in the L.A. Times. The article gave details about how they had died while having nightmares. More details can be found in “Real Fear: The Truth Behind More Movies.”

6. Jaws (1976)

Despite some scientific evidence that there could still be sharks significantly larger than your average great white hiding in the depths of the ocean, this movie wasn’t exactly inspired by an enormous shark. It was, however, inspired by the real string of great white shark attacks that occurred in 1916 off the shore of New Jersey.

7. An American Haunting (2005)

In the 1800’s, there was a family with the last name of Bell, who were cursed by someone known only as the Bell witch. She targeted the family as a whole, but their daughter Betsy in particular. This took place in Tennessee and was such a well-known event at the time, that there is a rumor that even President Andrew Jackson went to investigate before he became president, but was scared off by the witch.

8. The Haunting in Connecticut (2009)

This movie was inspired by the story of a couple who decided to move into a former mortuary. The couple, by the names of Alan and Carmen Snedeker, were repeatedly tormented by demons, and were supposedly even sodomized by them.

9. The Amityville Horror (2005)

In 1975, the Lutz family moved into a new house at 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville. From there, things got scary for them as more and more horrible things began happening. This case is one of the most commonly discussed among specialists in the paranormal.

10. The Possession (2012)

If you are looking into a dybbuk box to protect your wine bottles, make sure it’s not the one featured in this story, as there are numerous stories from the owners of this box that detail the many strange things that happened to them while they were in possession of it. Buying it will mean you have to face the consequences.

11. Eaten Alive (1980)

This might be one of the goriest movies on the list, and is certainly the only one that heavily features alligators. It is based on the true story of a man named Joe Ball. He killed about 20 women and then sat back and watched as alligators ate them. The gore in this movie is worth it because of the real story that goes with it.

12. Annabelle (2014)

Another possessed doll, Annabelle is very real, and is currently on display in an occult museum. She began by tormenting the family who initially bought her by appearing in different positions and locations around the house and then later causing fatal accidents. And, what makes this story even scarier is that she’s still up to no good, as people who taunt her from the other side of her glass case later have near-death experiences or even fatal accidents.