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8 Horror Movies That Are Based On Real Life Events

Horror films can be scary enough on their own, but when based on events that may have actually happened, they become a little more frightening and intriguing. Sometimes they take influence from certain killers and ghosts, while others lift directly from terrifying events. Here are a few horror films based on true events worth checking out for both their spooky content and the fascinating stories that inspired them.

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The Conjuring
While most of the horror movies on this lists are loosely based on characters from horrific events, The Conjuring centered on the real life paranormal investigators of Ed and Lorraine Warren. Played in the film by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, the couple investigates the Perron family’s haunted farmhouse in 1971 Rhode Island. Their reports on the paranormal were enough to warrant a sequel film, The Conjuring 2, as well as spin-offs based on the haunted figures they uncovered.

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A spin-off of the creepy doll from The Conjuring, Annabelle was in real life a Raggedy Anne doll that Ed and Lorraine believed to be possessed by a demon spirit. The Annabelle that appears in this movie is staged more as an older doll of fragile design with a horrific smile on its face. The real doll can be seen at The Warrens' Occult Museum in in Monroe, Connecticut.

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The Exorcist
Though the movie was based on a book, that book was based on accounts of the possessed Roland Doe from 1949, told by witnesses. It’s hard to believe another human being walking like a spider, vomiting gallons of puke and twisting their head around, but it’s still scary to think that something like that may have actually happened.

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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
There are plenty of films that are loosely based around the legend of the serial killer Ed Gein, but The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is easily the most terrifying and memorable of the lot. Gein was notable for having masks of skin and it’s hard to shake the stitched mask of flesh worn by the iconic Leatherface, wielding his chainsaw as he barrels towards his victims.

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A Nightmare on Elm Street
Believe it or not, Wes Craven was inspired to create Freddy Kruger, the killer that strikes in your dreams, by Laotian refugees that died in their sleep with nothing physically found to be wrong with them. They probably didn’t see something as cackling and colorful as Freddy, but it’s still horrifying to imagine meeting your demise in your dreams.

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The Amityville Horror
The most famous of paranormal cases, The Amityville Horror was based on the accounts of the Lutz family in 1975 that moved into the Ocean Avenue house in Amityville. The house was host to a murder one year prior and the Lutz family soon become victims of all the hidden horrors inside, from bleeding walls to attacking flies.

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The Exorcism of Emily Rose
Of all the horror movies based on real life accounts, The Exorcism Of Emily Rose may be the most believable for essentially being a courtroom drama. Loosely based on the exorcism of Anneliese Michel, the film follows the questioning court case of a parish priest accused of negligent homicide after performing an exorcism. Sure, it doesn’t sound very terrifying, but it’s still an intriguing movie for those who prefer paranormal investigations with the lights on.

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The Rite
Based on the famed exorcist Father Gary Thomas, the film portrays Vatican training in exorcism and the demon encountering that comes with it. The film deals with one Vatican student’s struggle with doubt, played by Colin O'Donoghue, and his teacher of a veteran exorcist, perfectly played by Anthony Hopkins. It’s an engaging bit of horror for its moody atmosphere of demons abound and the thought that maybe such dark encounters are going on behind closed doors at the Vatican.

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