Filmmakers and TV show producers take inspiration from all sorts of things in the search for new ideas. For example, Game Of Thrones came about because the author George RR Martin had made up stories for his pet turtles and Tolkien took inspiration from his surrounds in Birmingham, UK for Mordor and the shire. There are also movies based on real life killers, such Monster, focusing on Aileen Wournos and Dahmer, which saw Jeremy Renner play the role of Jeffrey Dahmer, the Milwaukee Cannibal. Urban legends are no different. There have been many movies based on urban legends that are not listed but here are my favourite 5 movies that took inspiration from urban legends! Do any of these surprise you?
Harry and the Hendersons
Harry and the Hendersons is a simple story. An all american family is out on a hunting trip and the father knocks down an animal. The family inspect the creature and are shocked to learn that they have knocked over a Bigfoot! Which is, of course,the myth that inspired this movie. The legend of Bigfoot has been around for decades, and the legend is that there are big creatures in the wilderness of America that are not yet known to the human species. There have been sightings of these creatures all over America, footage taken, photographs and indentations have been studied to try to dispel the legend without any success. There are TV shows documenting people trying to find Bigfoot/Yeti and the evidence is still being collected to try to disprove or prove their existence.
The Blair Witch Project
The Blair Witch Project was released in 1999 and was the first hand-held camcorder horror film, making this a ground-breaking movie in its own right. Many horror movies such as Paranormal Activity are now shot in this way and that is because of this movie. However, this too was inspired by an urban legend - The legend of Elly Kedward, who was banished from the town of Blair in 1875 after being accused of witchcraft. She was presumed to have died due to exposure, but then in one year all of her accusers had either vanished entirely or died, which made the remaining residents of Blair abandon the town, fearing it was cursed.
As the title suggests, Urban Legend is a movie based on urban legends. There are many that are covered in this movie, such as the story of a flatmate not turning on a light and finding their roommate dead with the words 'aren't you glad you didn't turn on the light?' in big letters on their wall or the legend of eating 'pop rocks and drinking soda', which supposedly killed someone after the combination made their stomach explode. There is no truth to the 'pop rocks and soda' legend, but people are still wary of it. There are many legends covered in the movie and I would suggest watching it if you haven't already, it's a personal favourite of mine!
Carved is based on the story of a Japanese woman named Kuchisake Onna. Her husband was a samurai and after discovering that she had cheated on him, he slit her face from ear to ear - Either out of shame or because of her disfigurement, she committed suicide. Her spirit is said to have come back from beyond to kill anything in her path and wreak havoc as vengeance for what happened to her. This legend is taken quite seriously in Japan as in the late 1970s, there were alleged sightings of her and people were so fearful that children were not allowed to go home alone and the police had to start doing extra patrols in search of a 'slit-mouthed woman'.
The legend goes that you are at a party/nightclub and you are given a spiked drink. When you wake up you are in a bathtub full of ice with stitches where your kidney should be with a note saying..... 'Thanks for the kidney'. Most people have heard of this legend and Crank, starring major bad-ass Jason Statham, is a movie that was inspired by an urban legend. . Although in the movies Statham wakes up to find his kidney AND heart removed. That's pretty bad-ass in my book!
Can you think of any Urban Legends that you have heard that inspired movies? Can you think of any more movies that are based on Urban Legends? Please feel free to leave me a comment with any suggestions.