Horror movies have a unique way of gripping audiences with their tales of terror and suspense. But what happens when these spine-chilling stories are not just a product of imagination but are rooted in real-life events? Here’s a look at some horror movies that draw their eerie narratives from actual occurrences, proving that sometimes reality can be as frightening as fiction.
1. The Amityville Horror
The Amityville Horror Official Trailer
The infamous Amityville house, located in Long Island, New York, became the scene of a horrific crime on November 13, 1974, when Ronald J. DeFeo Jr. murdered his entire family with a .35 Marlin rifle while they slept. The Lutz family bought the house at a reduced price thirteen months later but left after 28 days, claiming to have experienced paranormal activities. These included strange odors, green slime oozing from walls, cold spots, and a voice that told a priest to “Get out” when he came to bless the house. The validity of the Lutz’s story has been questioned over the years, with some suggesting it was a hoax.
2. Fire in the Sky
Fire In The Sky Official Trailer
This movie is based on the alleged alien abduction of Travis Walton in 1975. Walton, a logger from Snowflake, Arizona, disappeared for five days, claiming to have been taken by a UFO. His story was met with skepticism, but it became one of the best-documented cases of alien abduction.
3. A Nightmare on Elm Street
A Nightmare on Elm Street Official Trailer
Wes Craven’s iconic film was inspired by a series of articles in the LA Times about a group of Southeast Asian refugees who, after fleeing to the United States, died in their sleep following nightmares. The medical reports called the phenomenon “Asian Death Syndrome,” and the victims were reportedly healthy before their sudden deaths.
Annabelle Official Trailer
The real Annabelle doll is a Raggedy Ann doll, which was said to be possessed by the spirit of a young girl named Annabelle Higgins. The doll was given to a student nurse in 1970, and after experiencing frightening occurrences, paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren took the doll, claiming it was being manipulated by an inhuman presence.
5. Winchester (2018)
Winchester Official Trailer
This supernatural thriller stars Helen Mirren as Sarah Winchester, the heiress to the Winchester rifle fortune. The film is based on the true story of the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California, known for its continuous, bizarre construction and reported hauntings.
6. Deliver Us From Evil
Deliver Us From Evil Official Trailer
This movie is based on the accounts of Ralph Sarchie, a former New York police sergeant who became a demonologist. Sarchie investigated several paranormal cases, which he believes were demonic in nature, during his time with the NYPD.
7. The Conjuring
The Conjuring Official Trailer
The film is based on the case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren, particularly the haunting of the Perron family in their Rhode Island farmhouse in the 1970s. The Warrens were famous paranormal investigators who claimed to have investigated over 10,000 cases during their career.
8. The Possession
The Possession Official Trailer
This movie was inspired by the story of a wine cabinet, known as the “Dybbuk Box,” which was sold on eBay along with an accompanying horror story. The box was said to be haunted by a dybbuk, a restless, usually malicious spirit believed to be able to haunt and even possess the living.
9. The Rite
The Rite Official Trailer
Based on the book “The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist” by Matt Baglio, the film follows the experiences of Father Gary Thomas, a Catholic priest from California who was sent to study exorcism at the Vatican.
10. The Haunting in Connecticut
The Haunting in Connecticut Official Trailer
This movie is based on the alleged haunting of the Snedeker family in Southington, Connecticut, in the 1980s. The family claimed their house, which was a former funeral home, was haunted by malevolent spirits. The case was investigated by Ed and Lorraine Warren.
11. Stuck (2007)
Stuck Official Trailer
This film is based on the case of Chante Jawan Mallard, who hit a homeless man with her car and left him lodged in the windshield to die.
12. Borderland (2007)
Borderland Official Trailer
Loosely based on the life of cult leader and serial killer Adolfo Constanzo, this movie follows three friends who encounter a cult practicing human sacrifice in Mexico.
13. Black Water (2007)
Black Water Official Trailer
Inspired by a real crocodile attack in Northern Australia in 2003, this movie tells the story of a family vacation gone wrong due to a deadly crocodile encounter.
14. The Exorcism of Emily Rose
The Exorcism of Emily Rose Official Trailer
Loosely based on the case of Anneliese Michel, a young German woman who underwent an exorcism and later died, the film explores the tragic consequences of a failed exorcism.
15. Open Water (2003)
Open Water Official Trailer
This film is based on the true story of Tom and Eileen Lonergan, who were left behind in the open ocean by their scuba diving group.
16. Things Heard & Seen (2021)
Things Heard & Seen Official Trailer
Based on the novel “All Things Cease to Appear” by Elizabeth Brundage, this film explores the sinister secrets of a couple’s new home in a historic hamlet.