ByKarly Rayner, writer at
Movie Pilot's celebrity savant
Karly Rayner

We all know that hundreds of movies were inspired by the depraved acts of real life killers, but sometimes it's the movie that triggers the murder.

But which cinematic classics contained the deadly spark needed to provoke an unstable mind into committing heinous acts?

Some of them might surprise you...

Martin Bryant- Child's Play

Martin Bryant killed 35 people and injured 23 others in the Port Arthur massacre. It is still the deadliest ever rampage by a lone gunman.

The Tasmanian outcast had an incredibly low IQ of just 66 and was a social pariah who was described as distant, unemotional and disruptive by his teachers and parents. He also had a history of torturing animals.

Bryant was obviously disturbed long before he committed the murders at the age of 29, but his obsession with the movie Child's Play was submitted by his psychiatrist as one of the factors that caused Bryant's explosion of violence.

Later diagnosed as a schizophrenic, Bryant became obsessed with the childlike characteristics of the doll and its ability to wreak vengeful destruction.


Tonda Ansley - The Matrix

Believe it or not, The Matrix is responsible for a handful of murders. The theory that reality is a simulated computer generation has been so influential in homicide cases that 'The Matrix Defense' was coined.

in 2002 Tonda Lynn Ansley was found not guilty by reason of insanity after she shot her landlord in the head. Ansley was certain that she had not in fact committed the crime and it took part in a dream.

She told police that;

They commit a lot of crimes in The Matrix. That's where you go to sleep at night and they drug you and take you somewhere else and then they bring you back and put you in bed and, when you wake up, you think that it's a bad dream

Even Lee Boyd Malvo who was responsible for the lethal Beltway sniper attacks in Washington (also in 2002) was also reportedly obsessed with The Matrix. Malvo told officers to watch the 1999 movie if they wanted the understand his crimes. He was described as having 'an obsession' with the movie by psychiatrists and social workers and had created hundreds of drawings and notes about "Freeing yourself of the Matrix".


Thierry Jaradin - Scream

The Scream movies might be considered ironic black comedies, but an American judge once described them as;

a very good source to learn how to kill someone

Although there have been a number of copycat murders involving the iconic Scream mask, the crime committed by Thierry Jaradin is perhaps the most haunting.

The 24-year-old Belgian lorry driver chose 15-year-old Alisson Cambier as his victim and enticed her a few doors down to his own home to exchange videotapes. When the young girl rejected an amorous pass by Jaradin, his retribution was swift and brutal.

After excusing himself for a few seconds, Jaradin whipped on his Scream costume complete with black robes and two enormous kitchen knives.

He covered Cambiers mouth to muffle her screams and stabbed her over 30 times.

Jaradin then carried her bloodied corpse to his bed and laid her down along with a single rose before calling Alisson's parents and the police to confess his unthinkable crimes.

He later told police that his crime had been premeditated and had been motivated by the Wes Craven movies.


Daniel Sterling - Interview With The Vampire

Although Sterling's victim managed to survive her ordeal, this movie-inspired crime is still grisly enough to warrant mention.

Daniel Sterling and his girlfriend Lisa Stellwagen went to see the Ann Rice-penned drama, featuring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt as vampires, at the cinema in 1994.

The next night Sterling gave Stellwagen the chilling message of;

I'm going to kill you and drink your blood

Thinking her partner was making a tasteless joke, Stellwagen didn't think anything of it... Until the next evening where Sterling struck.

The vampire obsessed lunatic stabbed his girlfriend 7 times in the back and chest and Stellwagen told police that he was drinking her blood for several minutes.

Sterling only survived further stabbings because she told Stellwagen he would never be released from prison if she died.

Sterling told police;

I was influenced by the movie. I enjoyed the movie


James Holmes - The Joker

James Eagan Holmes entered a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises and released debilitating tear gas before murdering 12 people and injuring 70 more in a mass shooting.

The orange haired killer reportedly shouted "I am the Joker" before he opened fire on the crowds. Many audience members thought it was a publicity stunt due to Holme's bizarre tactical clothing.

After he was arrested, Holmes revealed his apartment had been booby-trapped with explosive devises. In what appeared to be a homage to the Joker, the apartment was stuffed with more than 30 home made grenades, wired to a control box in the kitchen, and 10 gallons of gasoline.


Nathaniel White - RoboCop 2

Nathaniel White beat and stabbed six women to death while he was on parole for child abduction.

He was inspired to claim his first victim, pregnant 29-year-old Julia Frank by the movie RoboCop 2. He gave police the following chilling report;

The first girl I killed was from a 'RoboCop' movie... I seen him cut somebody’s throat then take the knife and slit down the chest to the stomach and left the body in a certain position. With the first person I killed I did exactly what I saw in the movie


Which movie inspired crime did you find the most disturbing?

(Source: Brainz, Listverse, ABC, How Stuff Works, The Guardian)


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