Can’t get enough scary horror movies? Me either. And what makes a movie scary? Like really scary? I’m thinking a big contributing factor is when it’s based on a true story. This not every time. But I think it helps. And it is with this in mind that we wanted to write up our list of 13 Scary Horror Movies Based On True Stories.
Check out the full list below!
The Girl Next Door
The Girl Next Door is a 2007 film directed by Gregory M. Wilson based on Jack Ketchum’s 1989 novel. It’s inspired by the real-life murder of Sylvia Likens. The producers dedicated the movie to her. It tells the tale of a teenage girl who suffers horrible abuse at the hands of her caretaker and some neighborhood boys.
The Sacrament is a 2013 found-footage horror thriller film. Tie West wrote and directed. It centers on two VICE journalists who document their co-worker’s attempt to locate his sister after she joins a reclusive religious commune. The plot is based on the real-life events of the Jonestown Massacre of 1978.
The Town That Dreaded Sundown
The Town That Dreaded Sundown is a 1976 thriller. Charles B. Pierce directed and also produced from a script written by Earl E. Smith. The film is based on the 1946 Texarkana Moonlight Murders. The actual Phantom attacked eight people in or near the town of Texarkana, Texas, which is on the Texas border with Arkansas. As in the film, police never identified or caught the real killer.
The Exorcism of Emily Rose
The Exorcism of Emily Rose is a 2005 supernatural legal drama. Scott Derrickson directed. The film is based on the story of Anna Elisabeth “Anneliese” Michel, a German woman who underwent 67 Catholic exorcism rites the year before her death of malnutrition. The film also follows a lawyer representing the priest accused of negligent homicide after her final exorcism.
Fire in the Sky
Fire in the Sky is a 1993 sci-fi mystery. Robert Lieberman directed from a script written by Tracy Tormé based on Travis Walton’s book The Walton Experience. It describes an extraterrestrial abduction in 1975. Five men were driving in a forest and also saw a mysterious light. One left the truck and disappeared. The other four reported the event but police suspected murder was behind the disappearance… Until the man reappeared five days later.
The Haunting In Connecticut
The Haunting in Connecticut is a 2009 supernatural horror film. Peter Cornwell directed based on Ray Garton’s In a Dark Place: The Story of a True Haunting. The film is about Carmen Snedeker and her family as they move into a house (a former mortuary) and soon becomes haunted by supernatural forces occupying the house.
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is a 1986 psychological horror film. John McNaughton directed based on real-life serial killers Henry Lee Lucas and also Ottis Toole. Michael Rooker gets out of prison following his mother’s murder. He begins a series of violent murders with Otis (Tom Towles). But as the depravity escalates, Henry forms a bond with Otis’ sister and things get out of hand.
The Conjuring is a 2013 supernatural horror film. James Wan directed the script by Chad Hayes and also Carey W. Hayes. It stars Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as Ed and Lorraine Warren married paranormal investigators who assist the Perron family, who experienced disturbing events in their farmhouse in Rhode Island in 1971.
The Amityville Horror
The Amityville Horror is a 1979 supernatural horror film. Stuart Rosenberg directed based on Jay Anson’s 1977 book of the same name. The story is based on the alleged experiences of the Lutz family who bought a home in Amityville, NY. The home of an 18th-century satanist and the scene of a mass murder committed the year before.
Veronica is a 2017 Spanish supernatural horror film. Paco Plaza directed based on true events from the 1991 Vallecas case. The case takes its name from the Madrid neighborhood where a young woman, Estefania Gutierrez Lazaro reportedly performed a seance at school. A nun broke her Ouija board, interrupting the ritual. She later experienced months of seizures and hallucinations, particularly of shadows and presences surrounding her.
The Exorcist is a 1973 supernatural horror film directed by William Friedkin based on William Peter Blatty’s 1971 novel. It was inspired by the 1949 exorcism of a young boy known as “Roland Doe” or “Robbie Mannheim.” It was one of three exorcisms sanctioned in the US at that time. Friedkin accessed the diaries of the priests and also discussed the events with Doe’s aunt in great detail.
A Nightmare On Elm Street
A Nightmare on Elm Street was directed by Wes Craven. It was inspired by an incident in the 1970s with Hmong refugees, who, after fleeing to the US because of war and genocide in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, suffered disturbing nightmares. Some died in their sleep soon after. Medical authorities called the phenomenon Asian Death Syndrome. The condition afflicted men between 19-57.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was inspired by Ed Gein aka the Butcher of Plainfield. Gein’s crimes gathered notoriety in 1957 after authorities discovered he exhumed corpses from graves and also fashioned keepsakes from their bones and skin. Gein also confessed to killing tavern owner Mary Hogan in 1954 and hardware store owner Bernice Worden in 1957. Bonus: Alfred Hitchock’s Psycho was also based on Gein.
Which scary horror movie based on a true story do you find the scariest?