Last Updated on October 2, 2021 by Sean Donlevy
Horror movies have a tendency to become even scarier when you know that there is some truth in them. Therefore, we have listed the top horror movies that are based on true stories.
A horror movie is only as good as its story. If it manages to convince you and really suck you into the story, the movie will also be so much creepier. And something that can really increase the heat and turn up the nerves is when a movie is based on real events. Even though it is only loosely based, it still provides that extra level of credibility needed for us to be really, really scared.
DEAD RINGERS, 1988
The twins Stewart and Cyril Marcus were both gynecologists and worked in New York. They had developed an addiction to the anxiolytic drug family barbiturates, with unflattering side effects which include confusion of the mind, seizures, and heart collapse. When they were 45 years old, they were found dead in Cyril’s apartment.
At first, they were suspected of dying from overdoses, but the investigations then began to point to the fact that they died at intervals of time, and that Cyril’s body had no signs of fatal overdoses.
In the middle of the 19th century, a small group of North American soldiers disappeared into the mountains of Colorado during the American Civil War. Exactly what happened after leaving the platoon is unclear, but what is known is that only one of the soldiers returned, rude, well-fertilized after two months lost in the wasteland.
The movie Ravenous makes an attempt to retell the men faced.
BLACK WATER, 2007
Three friends, 22 and 19 years old, drove quad bikes along a river in Darwin, Northern Australia. The water level was higher than usual after heavy rain and they drove to the riverbank to wash off their quad bikes. When they stood there with water up to their knees, one of the 22-year-old Brett Mann was dragged into the water by a four-meter-long saltwater crocodile.
The two friends went out into the water to try to help him, but the crocodile began to chase them too – still with their friend between the jaws. They sought shelter in a tree that hung down over the river, where they stayed for 22 hours before the rescue came.
THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, 2007
The film is a reversal of the book of the same name from 1989, which is based on the torture and murder of Sylvia Likens in Indianapolis, USA, 1965. Sylvia’s parents worked at a carnival and paid a woman named Gertrude Baniszewski to take care of Sylvia and her sister when they were gone. They would regret that decision. Gertrude – along with her children – tormented, tortured, and murdered Sylvia in the basement when she was only 16 years old.
THE CONJURING, 2013
The film is based on Ed and Lorraine Warren, who in the 1970s investigated supernatural events, as ghost hunters. When they were investigating an old farmhouse in Rhode Island in 1971, the gas hunt reached entirely new levels. The movie was so successful that it got a sequel in 2016.
Wolf Creek, 2005
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, several hikers disappeared in New South Wales, Australia. Most of them were tourists, all were between 19 and 22 years old. Three years after the first murders, two runners found the remains of a British woman. The traces that the police found led them to a man named Ivan Milat, and it would turn out that he kidnapped, raped, and murdered at least seven people for three years.
Marc Jordan and his wife Jacqueline Perry, both 30 years old, were out camping in the Canadian forests to celebrate four years of marriage. One evening when they were cooking dinner they were attacked by a black bear. At first it bit into Jacqueline’s leg, but Marc jumped on the bear and managed to get it to go.
The bear then bit and tore him – the damage took 300 stitches to sew. The bear then attacked Jacqueline again, and Marc started chopping the bear with a knife and managed to get it to run away. Both severely injured, with his wife in his arms, they managed to escape in a canoe.
THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE, 2005
There are many horror films based on true stories that are focused on the theme of exorcism. This movie is about the German woman Anneliese Michel, who at the age of 24 claimed that she was possessed by demons that must be driven out of her. In 1976, a priest gave himself up for performing exorcism on her resulting in her death.
THE CONJURING 2, 2016
In the sequel to The Conjuring, we get to follow the same couple Ed and Lorraine Warren in their supernatural mysteries. The events themselves are different, but the connection to reality is the same.
OPEN WATER 2003
1998. Tom and Eileen Lonergan set out with a group to dive at the Great Barrier Reef. When the group moved on, the couple was left by mistake and they were never found. It is believed that they died of dehydration or of sharks, but there are also theories that Tom had planned their death since Eileen talked about his death wish shortly before they were forgotten.