They say that real life is far scarier than fiction could ever be, and that is probably why so many of our favourite horror stories as based on real life events. Of course, most of them are heavily embellished, but they often pride themselves on proclaiming that this tale of horror is true – even if they mean it in the loosest possible sense of the word. Let’s take a look at some popular horror movies that are heavily inspired by real life.
The Exorcist 
The Exorcist was one of the first horror films that truly shocked and terrified people – to the extent that it was actually banned for a while. Even today, people are still talking about Linda Blair and her performance as a possessed young woman. There is no doubt that The Exorcist is creepy, but it becomes even more so when you realise that there is some truth behind the tale. The movie is based on a book of the same name which documents the real life exorcism of a young boy from St Louis in 1949. Ronald Doe was alleged to have suffered from a severe demonic possession and the character of Reagan is based on him.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 
Wes Craven has been known to create his horror movies from his own nightmares, but he is not shy to admit when gruesome events in the real world provide him with some inspiration. Believe it or not, horror icon Freddy Kruger is one of them – well not so much Freddy himself, but his unique power to stalk our dreams! Craven based the idea on a story about a group of Laotian refugees who died while in the grip of horrific nightmares despite having no physical symptoms.
Child’s Play 
You may be wondering how on Earth a movie about a murderous doll can possibly be based in fact! However, the tale is allegedly based on a childhood doll belonging to author Robert Eugene Otto which was apparently cursed using Voodoo, turning it into a menace during the night.
The Haunting in Connecticut 
If you have watched The Haunting in Connecticut, then you probably thought ‘well this is nothing new!’ It is a tried and tested Hollywood formula – family move into new home and resident ghosts make their lives a living hell. However, what makes this one a little bit different from the rest is that everything that happens in the film genuinely did happen to the Snedeker Family while they lived at the property. It is also notable that unlike Amityville and some of the other movies in the ‘haunted house’ genre, the plot sticks pretty close to the facts and there have been few accusations of fakery levelled at the family! This one seems to be fairly genuine!
Borderlands [ 2007]
Borderlands offers a graphic and gruesome look at human sacrifice in a cult setting. It is not for the squeamish since it shows toes and fingers being chopped off and even pieces of brain being scooped out in the name of worship. What makes it all the more terrifying is that it is bases off of the real life cult leader Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo and his actions.
The Strangers 
Some of the scariest horror movies do not have ghosts or monsters. They have real human psychopaths and murders. That is exactly what you get with The Strangers which draws heavily on real life stories of brutal home invasions and the antics of famed serial killer Charles Manson.
By Alyson Duncan
About the Author – Alyson Duncan is a freelance writer with a passion for the weird and the wonderful! As an amateur paranormal investigator she spends much of her free time in dark abandoned buildings chasing shadows in the dark. Follow her on Twitter at @alyson_duncan.