Some of the scariest horror movies have even more terrifying origins.
They were based on real life crimes and events that shocked and horrified the general public. While there are hundreds of movies designed to play on primal fears and give people a good scare these movies are terrifying because they depict some of the worst real life crimes that ever happened.
These horror stories prove that no matter how scary shows and movies like The Walking Dead are humans have much more to fear from each other than any monster that they might encounter.
The Girl Next Door (2007)
In the film The Girl Next Door the story is told from the point of view of a man who as an adolescent met two sisters who were sent to live with their aunt, his next door neighbor, after their parents died. One of the girls was singled out by the sadistic aunt for abuse. She was starved, beaten, raped and tortured by the aunt and her sons. Eventually she was killed. The movie is disturbing on a very deep level but the worst part is that it’s based on a true story. The film and the novel that it was based on tell the true story of a girl named Sylvia Likens whose parents were circus performers. Sylvia and her sister Jenny were left to live with the mother of one of Sylvia’s friends in exchange for $20 a week after her mother went to jail and her father went to travel with a circus. Sylvia was targeted for the abuse which got worse whenever their father was late sending the $20 stipend. She died at just 16 years old after having been beaten, starved, tortured and raped. The murderers were tried in a case that captivated people in Indiana where the family lived and around the country.
The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
This horror classic about a cannibalistic family has been referenced in many different pop culture shows and movies. But few people know it’s based on a real family. Even though the setting is different in the film the story is the story of Sawney Bean, a Scot who lived in the 16th century. He and his wife lived in caves in the Scottish countryside where they had 14 children. Through incest the clan grew to more than 44 people. They lived by setting traps for travelers, robbing and killing them, then eating the bodies. After hundreds of people disappeared in the area the king sent 400 men to hunt down the murderous family who was captured, tried and executed.
The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)
Whether or not you believe that demonic possession is real the case that this film is based on will scare you. It is based on the case of Anneliese Michel, a German girl who was subjected to more than 40 exorcisms for demonic possession. She eventually died from dehydration and starvation which her family insisted was caused by the demons not letting her eat or drink. She did suffer from epilepsy and suffered violent seizures, although her other strange behaviors were not attributed to her illness.
Child’s Play (1988)
One of the most popular 1980s slasher franchises was Child’s Play, about a serial killer who transfers his evil soul into a doll at the moment of his death so he can keep killing and won’t go to Hell. Sounds far-fetched doesn’t it? But the movie is based on the story of Robert Eugene Otto, a very well-known Florida artist. Robert was given a doll that looked just like him and was also named Robert by the family’s maid who was from the Bahamas and practiced Voodoo. But, she gave him the doll when she was mad at the family and it’s been said the doll is demonic. Robert Otto would never allow doll to be far away from him. He even insisted after he was married that Robert be given his own room in their home. He spent hours with the doll and the doll was always present when he was painting. At the end of his life he refused to eat or drink and locked himself in a room with Robert the doll until he died. After he died Otto’s wife left the house and never went back. The new owners claimed Robert was trying to kill them. Now Robert sits safely in a museum in Florida.
The Strangers (2008)
The movie The Strangers touches on a very primal fear that people have of being the victim of random crime, especially at home in a place they feel is safe. In the movie the family is attacked by people in masks who show up at the door intent on killing everyone inside for no reason other than the joy of killing. The film is based on the Keddie Murders, which happened in the 1980s. Keddie is a small resort community in the Sierra Nevada mountain region of California. Sue Sharp and her kids were renting a cabin there in 1980-1981. The cabins are not far apart from each other and Sue Sharp thought nothing of letting one of her daughters go to sleep over with a friend in a nearby cabin. The next morning the daughter returned home to find her mother, her brother and her brother’s friend in the living room. They had been murdered and her younger sister had been taken. The crime was never solved, although the remains of the girl who was taken were found about 30 miles away from Keddie.