Some of the very best horror movies of all time are based on actual events. Take Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Silence of the Lambs, for example, three of the scariest horror movies of all time are based on the horrible killings of a single man, Ed Gein. Independently, the three films tell horrifying tales of mass murder, torture, and cannibalism, but put them all together and you get a look at serial killer Ed Gein.
Of course, in many cases, the fiction is a stretch on the actual facts such as in the haunted house horror films. In The Amityville Horror, The Haunting in Connecticut, and The Entity, families were haunted by demons in their own homes. In reality, investigators dispute many of these claims, and many have been declared straight up hoaxes.
Good luck trying to verify claims of demon possession, which is another theme in some of the most well-known horror movies as well, including The Exorcist, Audrey Rose, and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, as those stories visit a gray area between paranormal and simple mental illness.
However these filmmakers were inspired, either by gruesome true events or a simple unverified claim, these horror movies all accomplish what they attempt to do: scare the crap out of us on a daily basis. For that, mission accomplished.
John Klein and wife Mary are involved in a strange car crash. Treatment for Mary's injuries reveal a brain tumor, which later kills her. Before she dies, she drafts odd drawings of a winged creature.
Years later, John is driving in Virginia and unintentionally arrives in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. After Point Pleasant residents begin reporting supernatural happenings, including the collapse of a bridge leading to dozens of deaths, which appear oddly similar to Mary's drawings, John becomes obsessed with finding this mythical creature known as the Mothman.
According to the 1975 book of the same name by John Keel, Point Pleasant, West Virginia, residents reported seeing a large, winged creature, believed to possibly be an alien, in 1966 and 1967. The creature, believed to be the Mothman, was white, had red eyes and was described as a "flying man with ten-foot wings." In December 1967, the Silver Bridge collapsed, killing 46 people.Investigators who attempted to verify these claims dispute the authenticity of the creature, stating that residents likely saw a large heron or sandhill crane. Additionally, the connection to the bridge collapse was later declared unfounded, as the collapse was ruled a result of a structural defect.
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Sharing a home with Otis and Otis' sister, serial killer Henry mercilessly kills numerous women. On one occasion, Henry kills a pair of hookers picked up by him and Otis, with Otis witnessing the murders.
As the killings continue, Otis becomes more and more involved in the murders. Henry kills hundreds, all without remorse, but also builds a relationship with Otis' sister as the two have similar backgrounds.
The film was directly inspired by serial killer Henry Lee Lucas and his accomplice Ottis Toole. Though Henry was convicted of 11 murders, the film took license with the other killings for a dramatic effect.Henry allegedly confessed to as many as 600 murders; however, many believe he only did so for improved prison conditions, not because he actually committed the crimes. He is one of the only cases in Texas where his death sentence was commuted to life in prison. Lucas died in prison of heart failure in 2001.
#50 on The Best Movies of 1986see more on Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
Single mother Carla Moran begins to experience paranormal happenings in her home and outside of the house, including violent rape, by a supposed poltergeist. She seeks help, enlisting the assistance of a therapist and friends. The friend witnesses an attack, which piques the friend's interest in the paranormal.
Meanwhile, the therapist believes the happenings are in her mind as some sort of regression to sexual assault that actually occurred when she was a child. Carla turns to other parapsychologists at a nearby college to investigate the demons, which results in an elaborate setup at her home in hopes to trap the ghost.
Culver City, California woman, Doris Bither, reported being physically and sexually assaulted by a demon in her home. Two paranormal investigators were enlisted to study the happenings.The investigators experienced strange events, such as floating lights and objects moving on their own within the home, all of which was captured in photographs. However, they neer witnessed any attacks on the woman and were unable to prove her claims.
#45 on The Best Movies of 1982see more on The Entity
Identical twins, Elliot and Beverly Mantle, work as successful gynecologists in their own clinic. They seduce their patients, having sexual relations with the same women and without the women knowing the difference.
Beverly falls in love with a troubled actress and seeks to distance himself from Elliot. After the actress finds out about the women-sharing practice, she distances herself from the doctors, which leads Beverly into a downward spiral, involving drugs and depression.
Stewart and Cyril Marcus served as identical twin gynecologists in New York City. In 1975, their bodies were found, already partially decayed, in their shared apartment, having died from barbiturate withdrawals.Their lives and eventual deaths were chronicled in a series of essays and in a novel, all of which was inspiration for the film.
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