ByScott Pierce, writer at
Yell at me on Twitter: @gingerscott. Managing Editor at Moviepilot.
Scott Pierce

Director 's horror movie The Conjuring is shaping up to be one of the scariest flicks this year. The film is based on Ed and Lorraine Warren, paranormal investigators involved in a string of high profile "hauntings." They even inspired the movie The Amityville Horror. You can check out an interview with Lorraine Warren here.

While most people cringe at the idea of horror movies being based on a true story -- it's still a marketing plea as good as movie theater's offering "barf bags" in the 1970s, except it still gets people in the seats. As such, I thought we'd take a look at 5 horror movies based on true stories.

The The Conjuring's "true story" will hit theaters on July 19.



Becky and Sandra aren't the best of friends. Sandra is a middle-aged manager at a fast-food restaurant; Becky is a teenaged counter girl who really needs the job. One stressful day (too many customers and too little bacon), a police officer calls, accusing Becky of stealing money from a customer's purse, which she vehemently denies. Sandra, overwhelmed by her managerial responsibilities, complies with the officer's orders to detain Becky. This choice begins a nightmare that tragically blurs the lines between expedience and prudence, legality and reason. (Via RT)

The True Story: Compliance may exist at a fictional Chickwich restaurant in Ohio, but it's unfortunately based on the real life crime at a Kentucky McDonald's where an employee was detained against her will and strip searched for more than three hours after a man crank called the restaurant, claiming to be a member of the police.



In 1960, Alfred Hitchcock was already famous as the screen's master of suspense (and perhaps the best-known film director in the world) when he released Psycho and forever changed the shape and tone of the screen thriller. From its first scene, in which an unmarried couple balances pleasure and guilt in a lunchtime liaison in a cheap hotel (hardly a common moment in a major studio film in 1960), Psycho announced that it was taking the audience to places it had never been before, and on that score what followed would hardly disappoint. Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) is unhappy in her job at a Phoenix, Arizona real estate office and frustrated in her romance with hardware store manager Sam Loomis (John Gavin). One afternoon, Marion is given $40,000 in cash to be deposited in the bank. Minutes later, impulse has taken over and Marion takes off with the cash, hoping to leave Phoenix for good and start a new life with her purloined nest egg. 36 hours later, paranoia and exhaustion have started to set in, and Marion decides to stop for the night at the Bates Motel, where nervous but personable innkeeper Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) cheerfully mentions that she's the first guest in weeks, before he regales her with curious stories about his mother. There's hardly a film fan alive who doesn't know what happens next, but while the shower scene is justifiably the film's most famous sequence, there are dozens of memorable bits throughout this film. (Via RT)

The True Story: The iconic Norman Bates was inspired by the horrific Ed Gein, a serial killer from Wisconsin who was arrested in 1957 for committing murders and exhuming buried corpses and keeping bones, skin, and other body parts as trophies.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre


When Sally Hardesty (Marilyn Burns) hears that the Texas cemetery where her grandfather is buried has been vandalized, she gathers her wheelchair-bound brother Franklin (Paul A. Partain) and several other friends together to see if grandpa's remains are still in one piece. While in the area, Sally and her friends decide to visit grandfather's old farmhouse. Unfortunately, a family of homicidal slaughterhouse workers who take their job home with them have taken over the house next door. Included amongst the brood is Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen), a chainsaw-wielding human horror show who wears a face mask made out of human skin. Sally's friends are rapidly exterminated one-by-one by the next-door neighbors, leaving only Sally left to fight off Leatherface and his clan. (via RT)

The True Story: This was also based on serial killer Ed Gein. It added realism with the amount of body parts Leatherface collected, but it deviated from Gein's story by making it a family affair.

The Entity


The Entity concerns a libidinous invisible presence. This unseen force repeatedly rapes poor Barbara Hershey, who can't get anyone to believe her stories of sexual assault. Frankly, she doesn't believe them herself until she undergoes therapy conducted by experts in both psychology and the supernatural. The entity, a great, hairy blob, is ultimately tricked into materializing, an act of revelation that proves to be its downfall. The Entity was adapted by Frank de Felitta from his own novel. (Via RT)

The True Story: Paranormal investigator Barry Taff looked into a case in 1974 where a woman named Doris Bither claimed that she was sexually assaulted by an unknown being. Taff still claims that he witnessed lights flashing, objects moving, and a being appear in the house.

The Mothman Prophecies


Richard Gere stars as journalist John Klein, an up-and-coming reporter devastated by the death of his beloved wife Mary (Debra Messing) following a car accident. Mary saw a mysterious vision immediately before the crash, a haunting image of a moth-like creature. Two years later, Klein is driving to an interview with the governor of Virginia when he suddenly finds himself hundreds of miles out of his way in a small town on the West Virginia-Ohio border. He discovers that strange events are occurring there, including sightings of the "mothman," as well as UFOs and bizarre alien-like telephone calls. Klein stays to investigate, despite the protests of skeptical cop Connie Parker (Laura Linney) and the initial hostility of spooked local Gordon (Will Patton). He soon discovers that sightings of the mothman are historical portents of doom and disaster, omens that may foretell a terrible cataclysm about to strike Point Pleasant.

The True Story: In 1966, two married couples in Point Pleasant, West Virginia claimed to see a being 7-8 feet tall with giant red eyes and no head. After being ridiculed, more and more people from Point Pleasant, WV -- up to 200 -- reported seeing the creature known as "Mothman."

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