ByJancy Richardson, writer at
To avoid fainting, keep repeating 'It's only a movie...It's only a movie...'
Jancy Richardson

Despite our wildest imaginings, real life is always much worse than even the freakiest hororr movies - I guess that's why so many of the most iconic horror movies are inspired by real life depraved killers.

Check out 5 horror movies inspired by the actions of real life serial killers...

1. Scream

Rolling inspired Williamson to write 'Scream'
Rolling inspired Williamson to write 'Scream'

The Killer: Danny Rolling a.k.a. 'The Gainsville Ripper'

Victims: 8

Location: Florida, executed 2006

The Case: Rolling began with robbery, but his brutal nature soon escalated his crimes to rape and murder, posing his victims' bodies in 'sexually provocative positions' for police to find. Obviously, the M.O. bears little resemblance to Scream, but Kevin Williamson notes that this was the case that inspired him to write the classic horror script.

2. Ravenous

Packer (L) and Robert Carlyle in 'Ravenous'
Packer (L) and Robert Carlyle in 'Ravenous'

The Killer: Alferd Packer a.k.a. 'The Big Headed Cannibal'

Victims: 5

Location: Colorado, 1874

The Case: Packer and a group of gold prospectors were trapped in the mountains in the bitter Colorado winter when the food supply ran out... Packer confessed to eating five people upon his return to civilization, arguing it was necessary for his survival. Note: 'Alferd' is not a typo - a tattoo artist misspelled his name and he liked it, keeping it as a nickname.

3. Eaten Alive

Joe Ball (L) and Neville Brand in 'Eaten Alive'
Joe Ball (L) and Neville Brand in 'Eaten Alive'

The Killer: Joe Ball

Victims: 14+

Location: Texas, killed himself to escape capture September 1938

The Case: Ball killed several women, including his wife and local barmaids, before feeding their remains to alligators. This method of disposal was fairly exaggerated in Tobe Hooper's horror movie version, where the sociopathic Judd feeds human body parts to a local alligator that is practically his pet...

4. The Town That Dreaded Sundown

The Killer: an unknown man a.k.a. 'The Phantom Killer'

Victims: 5 dead, more assaulted

Location: Texarkana, 1946

The Case: A spate of brutal attacks between February 22 and May 3, 1946, the perpetrator of which was never found. The town had a strict curfew set, hence the title of the film - know to most people as 'that movie on Netflix with a cool poster' - The Town That Dreaded Sundown.

5. An American Crime

Baniszewski (L) and Catherine Keener in the role.
Baniszewski (L) and Catherine Keener in the role.

The Killer: Getrude Baniszewski

Victims: 1

Location: Indiana, 1965

The Case: OK, so Baniszewski was not a serial killer exactly, but the sheer brutality her and her children unleashed upon young Sylvia Likens makes this one of the most shameful and vile crimes ever committed on American soil. Baniszewski was paid $20 a week to care for Sylvia, but this didn't stop her burning, branding, starving, beating and mutilating the poor girl to death, encouraging her young teen children to join in the torture.


Which of these real life killers shocked you the most?

Source: Murderpedia, ET Online


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