Help determine the best scary movies that are based on true stories by voting up your favorites. It is said that the truth is stranger than fiction. Well, in the case of scary movies, there is probably a lot more horrifying truth than one would expect. Many of the scariest movies were inspired by real events - which, if nothing else, is something we should all lose a little bit of sleep over. This is a list of the best scary movies based on true stories to determine just what horrifyingly true story is the most teeth-chattering, nightmare-inducing, sleep-with-a-nightlight-for-the-rest-of-your-life cinematic masterpiece. So, what is the best scary movie based on a true story?
Here you'll find some of horror's (and cinema's) undisputed masterminds all drawing on real-world events to inspire some of their finest work. Heavyweights like Steven Spielberg, the "Master of Suspense" Wes Craven, and Alfred Hitchcock have all drawn from real headlines to create some of their most famous films.
There are many factors to consider here. Comparing a film up against another film (even in the same genre) can feel like comparing apples and oranges. So, it's on you, Ranker voters. Does it matter how closely the film adheres to the story that it was inspired by, like in a biopic like Dahmer? Or is it more important that the movie be genuinely, undeniably, amazing even though it strays a bit from its inspiration? Because maybe Jaws and Psycho win that battle.
These are all almost impossibly tough calls, and there are a lot of classics to sift through... but isn't that what makes this fun? Vote up the top scary movies inspired by true events, and click Rerank to make a list of your own.
Directed by: Jonathan Demme
Based loosely on the relationship between serial killer Ted Bundy and criminal profiler Robert Keppel.
Directed by: William Friedkin
Inspired by the alleged demonic possession of Robbie Mannheim.
Directed by: Wes Craven
Loosely based on a group of Cambodian refugees in the 1970's who were suffering disturbing night terrors after fleeing to the United States. Their nightmares were so terrifying, they began refusing to sleep.
Directed by: Stuart RosenbergInspired by the experiences of the Lutz family as investigated by Paranormal Detectives, Ed and Lorraine Warren.
Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
Loosely based on Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein.
Directed by: Tobe Hooper
Loosely based on serial killer Ed Gein.
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Directed by: James Wan
Based on the experiences of the Perron family as investigated by paranormal detectives Ed and Lorraine Warren.
Directed by: Steven SpielbergInspired by a series of shark attacks off the New Jersey shore in 1916.
Directed by: Scott DerricksonBased on the story of a 16-year-old German girl named Anneliese Michel who was believed to be possessed in 1968.
Directed by: Wes Craven
Based on the sixteenth century cave-dwelling-clan leader Alexander Bean. He and his disciples ate an estimated 1,000 people.
Directed by: Tom HollandSeriously. Based on Robert the doll, who is a doll, owned by author Robert Eugene Otto, who is a man. Robert (the doll) was said to be possessed by evil spirits.
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Directed by: Wes Craven
Based partly on the real-life case of the Gainesville Ripper.
Directed by: Peter Cornwell
Inspired by the experiences of the Snedeker family as investigated by paranormal detectives Ed and Lorraine Warren.
Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
Vlad the Impaler. Period.
Directed by: Tom Hanson
Based on the notorious San Francisco serial killer, the Zodiac.
Directed by: Patty Jenkins
Based on the story of serial killer Aileen Wuornos who killed seven men in Florida while maintaining that they were all acts of self-defense.
Directed by: Bryan Bertino
Writer/Director Bryan Bertino claims that the movie is based on a series of break-ins that occurred in his neighborhood as a child. The legitimacy of this claim is up for debate.
Directed by: Sidney J. Furie
Inspired by the experiences of Doris Blither, who claimed to be assaulted by invisible entities. This was documented by paranormal investigators Barry Taff and Kerry Gaynor.
Directed by: Courtney Solomon
Based on the legend of the Bell Witch.
Directed by: Albert Hughes, Allen HughesInspired by the murders committed by Jack The Ripper.
Directed by: David Fincher
Based on the story of the zodiac killer.
Directed by: Mark PellingtonBased on author John Keel's own investigations into the mysterious Mothman in the town of Point Pleasant.
Directed by: Greg McLean
Loosely inspired by Ivan Milat, who captured and tortured many hitchhikers and travelers during the 1990s.
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Directed by: Tod Browning, Karl Freund
Inspired by the exploits of the Wallachian prince and serial killer Vlad III aka Vlad the Impaler
Directed by: Gregory WilsonPartially based on the torture and murder of 16-year-old Sylvia Likens in 1965.