BySarah Gibson, writer at
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Sarah Gibson

Some of the sickest killers and most terrifying tales that film has seen have been inspired by real events. Think Zodiac, The Amityville Horror, Monster, Open Water, and even Dracula.

The world is full of mysteries, murders, and deeply disturbing true stories which should probably be left well alone. With that said, I'm digging them up for a good old inspection - at my own risk - and examining why each of these gruesome real-life horrors should be made into a menacing new movie.

Let us begin, children...


The Mary Celeste

In 1872, the Mary Celeste was spotted off the coast of Portugal by the crew of another ship, who signaled to the captain. The ship moved as if it were being sailed, but after two hours of trying to flag down someone onboard to no avail, the captain of the other ship boarded a dinghy and made it to the Mary Celeste. What he found haunted him for the rest of his days. On board the ship was...

No one.

Though much of his story was probably exaggerated, the real facts make for bizarre reading. None of the cargo was missing and there were no signs of a struggle. I'd like to see this movie in a modern-day context - perhaps focusing on a US Navy ship... Bring in elements of not only a spooky, unsolved mystery, but also of harrowing war revelations.


The Tamad Shud Case

Back in 1948, this dude was found washed up dead on an Australian shore. Not so weird, right? Wrong.

The man had no known identity, he wasn't carrying a wallet, all of his clothes tags had been ripped off, and the only thing that remained on him was a small piece of paper with the words "Taman Shud" scribbled onto it.

After much police investigation, it was found that the phrase translates as "ended" or "finished" and is a phrase used on the last page of a collection of poems called "The Rubaiyat" of Omar Khayyam. Adding to the mystery, a copy of Khayyam's collection was later found that contained a scribbled code in it believed to have been left by the dead man himself.

Who was this guy? Where did he come from? And what do all these confusing signs mean? What a horror-thriller this movie would make!


Elisa Lam

Remember the real-life horror story of Elisa Lam, the 21-year-old Canadian tourist who - in October 2013 - was found dead in a LA hotel's hard-to-reach rooftop water tank? Given that no drugs or alcohol were found in her autopsy, the only explanation offered for how Lam ended up in the water cistern is that she suffered from mental illness and committed suicide. That might shed some light on the disturbing elevator footage (you really have to watch it yourself to understand why it's been given so many the heebie jeebies)... But it certainly doesn't answer all the questions, like how she accessed the tank without the alarms sounding, or how she shut the lid after her...

Maybe a horror movie could could center on a detective, who is investigating a Lam-like case and begins to uncover the many skeletons the hotel has in its closets...


The Mothman

In 1966, West Virginia, one young couple encountered something they'll never forget - a terrifying man-bird hybrid of sorts with glowing red eyes. From there, subsequent reports and all sorts of speculation ensued, right up until Richard Gere tried to solve the case in 2002's flop movie... I want to see this horrifying character resurrected, and done right.

The sleepy town of Point Pleasant was terrorised by sightings of the "Mothman", a large human-like figure with wings that dragged behind it. The various sightings climaxed in the horrifying Silver Bridge disaster, when a bridge carrying 37 vehicles collapsed. 46 people died from the incident, as well as - reportedly - the Mothman himself.

A Mothman horror movie could run with any number of paranormal plotlines, from aliens, to angels, to mutant birds... Either way, I'm game.


Jack the Ripper

It's been over 125 years since Jack the Ripper ran amok in the streets of Victorian London, murdering people before removing their organs; but it's a whodunnit that continues to capture our imaginations.

All of Jack's victims were female (usually prostitutes), and many had their throats sliced open before being relieved of their innards. But regardless of the Ripper’s passionate bloodsport, the murders eventually ended, with many speculating that this was due to either death, perhaps insanity which led to institutionalisation, or suggestions that Jack may have fled the country and lived in self-imposed exile.

This "From Hell" letter is also said to have been posted Jack the Ripper, to the police, alongside a piece of...human kidney. It read:

From hell. Mr Lusk. Sor. I send you half the kidne I took from one women prasarved it for you tother piece I fried and ate it was very nise. I may send you the bloody knif that took it out if you only wate a whil longer. Signed, catch me when you can, Mishter Lusk.


Over a century on, we can rest easy in the knowledge that if Jack ever did exist, he certainly no longer does. But let's bring back the brutal murderer for the big-screen one more time. Given the amount of time and effort put into solving this case, I'd like to see a movie with a plot twist involving police corruption... What're you thinking?


Which one of these creepy, unexplained stories do you want to see made into a horror movie?


I'd totally watch...


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