10 Real People Who Survived Horror Movie Situations  

Samantha Wilson
5.2M views 10 items

Everyone enjoys a good horror movie, but what happens when the nightmares leap off screen and come to life? These people are all survivors of real-life horrors that make anything that happened in A Nightmare on Elm Street look like small potatoes. From stalkers and serial killers, to ghastly medical traumas and crimes of (lost) passion, these horror survivors have seen it all and lived to tell about it. Who knows – maybe the "based on a true story" version of their haunting tales will hit the theaters someday soon. 

The survivors of real-life horror proved that they have what the protagonists of horror movies do not: common sense and resilience in the face of extreme terror. Rather than accept their fate and submit to whatever gruesome foe is pursuing them, these fighters decided that they wanted to live another day – and often took their opponents (real and metaphorical) down with them. Think trickery, quick wits, gut instincts and just plain old optimism in the face of trauma; sometimes that's all anyone needs to outdo even the greatest horror villains. For these seven people who survived such horrible terrors in their real lives, they could easily hold their own in the scariest of horror movies. Way to make the rest of us look like wimps, guys. 

back to page 1
Woman Goes on Vacation and Gets Flesh-Eating Bacteria as a Souvenir
Woman Goes on Vacation and Get... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list 10 Real People Who Survived Horror Movie Situations
Photo: David Cook/accessWDUN


The Horror 

Aimee Copeland was having a blast on vacation in her home state of Georgia when she decided to give ziplining a try. The outdoor enthusiast wasn't worried about anything going wrong - she had always been up for an adventure and never shied away from the chance to try something new.

But when Aimee ziplined, the wire snapped and caused the graduate student to plummet into the murky water below, where she contracted necrotizing fasciitis in an open wound.

How She Survived

After doctors determined that Copeland had contracted the flesh-eating bacteria, which is often fatal, they worked as fast as they could to stop the spread before it could hit her vital organs. Her hands and both legs were amputated in order to save her life; since the incident, she has been fitted with prosthetic legs and bionic hands that allow her to live a bit more normally. While anyone else would probably curl up in a ball and never go outside again, Copeland gained national attention during her ordeal not only for beating the bacteria, but for her overwhelming positivity in the face of terror. 


Red Riding Hood Outsmarts a Big Bad Wolf
Red Riding Hood Outsmarts a Bi... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list 10 Real People Who Survived Horror Movie Situations
Photo:  Dateline NBC

The Horror

Elizabeth Shoaf was on her way home from school when a man claiming to be a police officer declared she was under arrest, handcuffing the 14-year-old and taking her to his home deep in the South Carolina woods. The kidnapper, an unemployed construction worked named Vinson Filyaw, chained her in a booby-trapped bunker beneath his isolated trailer, regularly assaulting her over the course of ten days.

Her parents reported her missing, but the police treated it as a case of a teenage runaway.

How She Escaped

Knowing that no one would be able to find her, Shoaf spent several days deliberately building up her captor's trust. Eventually, Filyaw allowed her to use his phone to play games. Naturally, she used it to text her parents and friends. Before long, the authorities used the phone's signal to find her approximate location. Panicking, Filyaw asked his victim what to do, and Shoaf, fearing he might kill her, advised him to run. He did, and she carried herself out of the bunker on her own. Filyaw, meanwhile, was captured and eventually sentenced to 421 years in prison.

An Intruder Gets Caught by the Snow
An Intruder Gets Caught by the... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list 10 Real People Who Survived Horror Movie Situations
Photo:  SusiB/Pixabay/CC0 1.0

The Horror 

Redditor laundrysoap had a chilling tale to tell about her boyfriend's mother. As a child, the mother lived in a house with a strange design that featured several doors to the outside all over the house, including her bedroom. She began feeling at unease in the house, like someone was watching her, but her family shrugged it off as a little girl being scared of the dark and ignored her fears – even when she swore that someone was rattling the doorknob to her room from outside the house.

Eventually, her belief that she was being watched got so bad that she had to sleep in her parents' room every night or else she would wake up screaming. One night when her father woke up to use the restroom, he saw a shadowy figure and heard noises, but couldn't find anything suspicious to back up his daughter's fears. That is...until the next morning.

How They Survived

Surrounding the house, leading up to every window and door, were fresh footprints in the snow. Someone had tried to get into the house desperately, and clearly had been there many times before. Her father followed the footprints down the street, where they led to a house where a mentally handicapped teen lived; he confessed to entering their house every night to watch the girl sleep. He just gave up and went home the night before when all the doors and windows were locked. Believe your children and lock your doors!
When Accepting a Ride Goes Horribly Wrong
When Accepting a Ride Goes Hor... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list 10 Real People Who Survived Horror Movie Situations
Photo: Jennifer Asbenson

The Horror

One September night in 1992, Jennifer Asbenson missed the Palm Springs bus that would've taken her to work at a center for disabled children. So when a charming motorist offered her a ride, she took it, arriving safely for a full night shift. In the morning, the driver was waiting for her, again offering a ride. Since the first trip went well, she again accepted.

Unfortunately, that driver was Andrew Urdiales, a serial murderer and rapist who put a knife to Asbenson's throat, tied her up, and drove out into the remote desert, where he gagged, beat, and sexually assaulted her.

How She Survived

After cruelly toying with his victim, Urdiales forced Asbenson into the trunk of his car and hit the road. Inside, she quickly found a release mechanism to pop the trunk from the inside, but waited until an opportune moment to actually use it. When she did, Asbenson fled into the road, stopping an oncoming truck with several Marines inside. Her attacker disappeared, however, and five years passed before Urdiales was ultimately captured.