"To avoid fainting, keep repeating: 'It's only a movie, only a movie, only a movie...'" reads the tagline to Wes Craven's exploitative horror film The Last House on the Left. For the most part, horror movies are just that: pieces of narrative fiction that only harm the average person by giving them nightmares.And yet, there are some horror movies that have actually lead to deaths in the real world. This in and of itself might sound like the plot to a film (and indeed, this is the exact plot to John Carpenter's Cigarette Burns), but there are a few instances of films being so terrifying they left people literally scared to death. In other cases, the plots and characters of various films inspired disturbed minds to commit horrific murders. You'll find instances of both in this list of 16 horror movies that lead to real-life deaths.
In 2004, Alan Menzies of West Lothian, Scotland, developed an obsession with the box-office failure Queen of the Damned, a sequel to Interview with the Vampire. He reportedly watched the film over 100 times in a few short months. In particular, he believed one of the film's characters, Akasha (played by the late Aaliyah) was real and was communicating with him.When his friend Thomas McKendrick confronted him about his obsession, Menzies claims Akasha ordered him to kill McKendrick in her honor. Which he did, and then proceeded to drink his friend's blood and eat parts of his head. Menzies later killed himself in jail.