7 Horror Movies You Didn’t Know Were Based on True Stories

The line “Based on True Events” can often send a shiver down the spine when watching a horror film, but here are 7 films that you may not have known were inspired by true stories and real events.


The Hills Have Eyes – 1977

The Hills Have Eyes 1977 - HeadStuff.org
The Hills Have Eyes 1977

On the way to California, a family has the misfortune to have their car break down in an area closed to the public, and inhabited by violent savages ready to attack.

This is a modern take on the legend of Alexander “Sawney” Bean, a 15th century cannibal who, along with his family, allegedly murdered over 1,000 people in the Scottish Highlands. Weirdly he lived in a cave with 46 of his immediate family… yes, that’s right, incest was another family tradition for these guys. Read more here.


The Exorcism of Emily Rose -2005

The Exorcism of Emily Rose - HeadStuff.org
The Exorcism of Emily Rose via imdb

A lawyer takes on a negligent homicide case involving a priest who performed an exorcism on a young girl.

This movie is loosely based on a 1970s story about a German girl named Anneliese Michel. Anneliese underwent months of intensive exorcisms and other psychiatric treatments. At one point Michel was self-injuring, drinking her own urine and eating insects. It has never been proved if Annelise was actually possessed, as the main causes for her death were malnutrition and dehydration. However the strange occurrences surrounding her “epilepsy” is definitely the stuff of nightmares. Read more here.



Primeval – 2007

Primeval - HeadStuff.org
Primeval via vignette2.wikia.nocookie

A news team is sent to Burundi to capture and bring home a legendary 25-foot crocodile. Their difficult task turns potentially deadly when a warlord targets them for death.

This killer croc film is based on a real Nile crocodile named Gustave who lives near Lake Tanganyika in Burundi. Gustave is around 60 years old, 25 feet long, weighs 2000 lbs and is rumoured to have killed over 300 people. So no holidaying there then. Read more here.


Eaten Alive – 1977

Eaten Alive 1977 - HeadStuff.org
Eaten Alive via awesomebmovies.com

A psychotic redneck who owns a dilapidated hotel in rural East Texas kills various people who upset him or his business, and he feeds their bodies to a large crocodile that he keeps as a pet in the swamp beside his hotel.

The story is based on Joe Ball, an alleged serial murderer, and hotel owner and operator. It is rumoured that Joe killed up to 30 women and fed them to his pet crocodiles. Not sure if that’s considered a pet treat but each to their own. Read more here.


A Nightmare on Elm Street – 1985

A Nightmare on Elm Street  - HeadStuff.org
A Nightmare on Elm Street via inserttitle.ie

Several people are hunted by a cruel serial killer who kills his victims in their dreams. When the survivors are trying to find the reason for being chosen, the murderer won’t lose any chance to kill them as soon as they fall asleep.

The real life inspiration for this iconic horror film was a family that survived the Cambodian genocide of the early 1970s. Their youngest boy was plagued by nightmares convinced that “they” would get him if he fell asleep, so the child deprived himself of sleep for days. The boy eventually fell asleep but suddenly his parents heard him screaming from his room and by the time they got to him he was dead! Creepy or what. Read more here.


The Blob – 1958

The Blob 1958 - HeadStuff.org
The Blob via antifilmschoolsite

An alien lifeform consumes everything in its path as it grows and grows.

About an alien blob that falls from outer space and engulfs people into a horrible, gooey death, The Blob was based on a 1950 police case in Philadelphia. A group of policemen discovered a large disk of quivering yet solid jelly like substance. When they tried to move it, it dissolved into a sticky scum. The goo is called star jelly and is usually reported seen near the site of a meteorite landing. They’ll make a movie out of anything… even goo. Read more here.


The Strangers – 2008

The Strangers - HeadStuff.org
The Strangers via ilarge.lisimg.com

A young couple staying in an isolated vacation home are terrorized by three unknown assailants.

Director Bryan Bertino’s main inspirations for the story are the Manson murders and the unsolved quadruple homicide case known as the Keddie Cabin Murders. In 1981 at a resort town in the Sierra Nevada foothills, an entire family were stabbed, strangled, and bludgeoned to death in the middle of the night with no witnesses or any suspects. Nobody has ever been arrested for the murders. Read more here.




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