Horror movies are usually seeking to evoke negative emotional reactions from viewers by playing on their psychological fears. The macabre and the supernatural are the frequent themes of horror movies that often overlap with crime, thriller, fantasy and adventure genres. Similarly, the general elements making these themes scary or horrific are ghosts, werewolves, vicious animals, vampires, monsters, zombies, cannibals, serial killers, and more. These themes and elements are even more scary and chilling when a horror movie is based on a real-life event.
The tagline “based on a true story” is popularly applied to horror movies, but what are the real-life stories behind these scary movies? Not all horror movies have remained true to the genuine history of the event or the characters they are portraying. Most of them often add action and drama to increase the substance and popularity of the movie.
The list here is an honest attempt to rank some of the best horror movies based on real-life events. It is made taking into consideration the critical acclaims, influences, IMDb’s ratings and rankings and Sight and Sound’s rankings each of them have received over the years. So, here is a countdown of the “Top 10 Horror Movies Based On True Story”.
10. The Amityville Horror (1979)
The Amityville Horror, directed by Stuart Rosenberg, is perhaps the most notorious horror movie based on a real-life event. It follows the story of a newly-wed Lutz couple who move into a riverside house that had witnessed a mass murder the year before. The Lutz family encounter a series of malevolent paranormal events and experience strange manifestations that drive them out of the house after only 28 days.
The real-life story of this movie had inspired a best-selling book named, of course, “The Amityville Horror”. In reality, George and Kathy Lutz along with their family move to a haunted house on Ocean Boulevard on Long Island. During their four weeks stay in the house, they experience a series of disembodied voices, demonic imagery, walls bleeding green slim, cold spots and other scary events portrayed in the movie.
9. The Entity (1982)
In 1974, a woman named Doris Bither claimed to have been physically and sexually molested by an invisible entity in her house. Kerry Gaynor and Barry Taff were the two paranormal researchers who investigated the case. They witnessed objects move in her house, saw a humanoid phantom, and captured images of floating lights.
The Entity, directed by Sydney J. Furie, is a sci-fi, horror movie based on this true story. The role of Doris Bither is portrayed as Carla Moran in the movie. She is a mother of three, and is plagued by an invisible demon that abuses and sexually assaults her repeatedly. The woman seeks helps from paranormal researchers, who document the event and attempt to trap the supernatural entity.
8. Audrey Rose (1977)
Directed by Robert Wise, this 1977 movie follows the story of a happily married couple who are approached by a stranger to convince them that their daughter is actually Audrey Rose, his own daughter reincarnated.
Audrey Rose is inspired by a real-life event of a six-year old boy named Raymond Felitta. He plays piano perfectly on his family piano, though he’d never taken any piano lesson. His father, Frank De Felitta, consults a Los Angeles occultist, who called the boy’s talent as an “incarnation leak”. This led to Frank’s personal belief in reincarnation, and motivated him to write the novel as well as the movie script.