ByJustin Driver, writer at
Justin Driver

I don't know about you, but the only thing scarier, to me, than a horror flick is when its based off of a true story. Here my top 7 movies based on a real story.

7. The Haunting in Connecticut (2009)

The Real Fear team investigates the truth behind this 2009 film, which, yes, is based on a true story. In the movie, a family moves to a Connecticut home while their cancer stricken son receives treatment at a nearby hospital. The house is haunted and those spirits are PISSED (as in, they get violent). Which is really a shame because having a kid with cancer is enough of a burden – having to deal with angry ghosts is just downright cruel. In real life, the family of Carmen Snedeker reported incidents in their Connecticut home during the 1980s. John Zaffis – he of Haunted Collector – investigated the case (along with Ed and Lorraine Warren, featured in The Conjuring). As Lorraine Warren said, the actual case was "much, much scarier than any movie could ever be."

6. The Conjuring (2013)

It's fairly new as of this writing, but this paranormal-investigators take on a very haunted house is indeed based on a true story. Aforementioned investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren were very much real and did help a family with their haunted farmhouse. The Warrens also investigated the home that inspired The Amityville Horror. Witch is another horror movie.

5. The Girl Next Door (2007)

Of all our tales, this one's basis in reality is perhaps the most upsetting. The movie details the story of two teenaged girls, orphaned by their parents’ death, who go to live with their aunt. The woman holds them captive, beating and torturing them. She even lets her children rape them. The film Ketchum novel comes from the real life case of Sylvia Likens, who was left with a family friend, Gertrude Baniszewski, while her circus performer parents traveled. Gertrude terrorized Sylvia similar to the events in the film, ultimately leading to Sylvia's death. Prosecutors on the case called it the most terrible crime ever committed in the state of Indiana.

4. Wolf Creek (2005)

Two British women and an Australian man find themselves stranded in the outback after their car breaks down. A truck driver kidnaps and tortures them. The real life story is a fusion of two hitchhiker killers - one of who, Ivan Milat, captured and tortured many travelers during the 1990s.

3. The Hills Have Eyes (2007)

Another Wes Craven classic. The movie is about a family stranded in the Nevada desert and victimized by a group of cannibals. The real life tale is that of Sawney Bean, a Scottish man born circa the 15th/16th century. Bean married and had 14 children, many of which were the product of incest. The family were cannibals, lived in caves and killed over 1000 people!

2. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a 1974 Ameri and Leatherface, the main antagonist. The film follows a group of friends who fall victim to a family of cannibals while on their way to visit an old homestead. Although it was marketed as a true story to attract a wider audience and as a subtle commentary on the era's political climate, its plot is entirely fictional; however the character of Leatherface and minor plot details were inspired by the crimes of real-life murderer Ed Gein. Sooooo.... it counts.

1. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

No, there isn't a real life Freddy Krueger, although hipsters have certainly commandeered his look (minus the glove and burnt face). However, Wes Craven did admit that he was inspired partly by an article he read in the L.A. times detailing how a group of Cambodian immigrants all died while having nightmares. The gory details are investigated in Real Fear: The Truth Behind More Movies


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