ByMelissa Thomas, writer at
Horror blogger. Find more of my work at Email me at [email protected]
Melissa Thomas

The internet has been abuzz since the September 1 premiere of Rob Zombie's newest film 31. It tells the tale of a group of carnival workers who are abducted and forced into a sadistic game called 31. The purpose of the game: Survive 12 hours of hell. It is easy to sit in a theater and watch an hour and a half of torture and gore, because it's just a movie, right? Horrifically, there have been a number of real-life cases in which victims have been abducted and forced to play sadistic games in a fight for survival. Here are three of those stories.

3. Toronto Gang Abduction

On April 19, 2016, two Toronto teens were attending a party with other gang members when members of a rival gang crashed the soirée. The two boys were dragged off and held captive by three men, who forced their captors to play Russian roulette. The rival gang members put out a ransom demand for the release of the two boys. On April 21, 2016, the ransom demands were met and the teens were set free.

2. The Abduction Of Hannah Anderson

Hannah Anderson was a beautiful 16-year-old girl from Southern California with a gorgeous smile and a loving family — but much of that would change following her abduction by a family friend. On August 3, 2013, Anderson was forced into a real-life nightmare by James DiMaggio, who threatened her with a savage game of Russian roulette following the murders of her mother, brother and family dog, whose bodies were burned beyond recognition when DiMaggio set his house on fire. The teen was found alive seven days later on August 10 in Cascade, Idaho. DiMaggio was killed by FBI agents during a shootout at the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. The popular TV network Lifetime made a movie about Hannah's abduction last year, Kidnapped: The Hannah Anderson Story.

1. Second Massacre Of San Fernando

The most gruesome story on this list is the second San Fernando massacre — yes, the second (the first took place one year before, resulting in the death of 72 immigrants). In March 2011, several public transportation buses were hijacked in San Fernando, Mexico by members of the Los Zetas drug cartel, Mexico's most dangerous gang. The captured women passengers were sexually assaulted and the men were forced to play a vicious gladiator-style game in which they had to fight to the death. An anonymous gang member later told reporter Dane Schiller that is was the cartel's way of grooming the next generation of assassins.

The gang member also said that the name of the games was "who is going to be the next hitman?" The "contestants" were given weapons such as machetes, knives and hammers and told to finish their "competitor" off. The winners were not really winners, as they were sent on suicide missions against rival gangs where they would be outmanned and outgunned. The final death toll of this sadistic event was 193, more than doubling the number of casualties of the first massacre.

31 will be released to VOD on September 16 and will receive a limited US theater release on October 21. While you snack on your popcorn, sip your Coke and enjoy the movie (which was pretty awesome), tell yourself, "It's only a movie, it's only a movie." But know that real life can sometimes be far more terrifying that the cinematic nightmares before you.

For exclusive clips, photos and news on 31, visit


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