Horror Movies scare us because they’re fantastical and over the top. But most horror movies can be traced back to some real event that happened to inspire the story or the urban legend. Here’s my Top 5 creepy tales that became horror movies:
NUMBER FIVE – House of 1000 Corpses
Rob Zombie’s first flick follows a group of college age folks who get stranded at a gas station and then taken in by a terrifying family. Torture, blood, and mayhem ensues. But did you know this was loosely inspired by The Blood Benders? They were a family of serial killers who murdered from 1871 to 1873 in Labette County in Kansas.
The family was a husband, John Bender, a wife, Elvira Bender, their son John Jr., and their daughter Kate. There are rumors out there that John Jr. and Kate were actually married. So whether that was some incest thing or miscommunication and perhaps Kate was a daughter in law….who knows! It’s believed this murderous family killed at least a dozen people before the crimes were discovered. There’s a lot of folklore surrounding them so it’s hard to find out what is really true and what isn’t.
But that’s what makes a great urban legend and therefore makes a great horror film! It’s rumored that when a guest would stay at the Bender’s bed and breakfast they would sit at the head of the table secretly positioned over a trap door. Kate would distract the guest while John would smack the guest in the head and then slit the throat. The body would drop through the trap door.
It’s not known how many people they really killed, but you can see a lot of inspiration from this harrowing tale through a lot of horror flicks.
NUMBER FOUR – The Strangers
The Strangers has been rumored to be based on a lot of true stories, including the Manson murders. But there’s another true story out there that may have inspired it. In 1981 Glenna Sharp was renting a cabin somewhere in California. This small town was known as a haven for those who had nowhere else to go.
Sharp had five children who she had taken from her abusive husband. They settled into the three-bedroom cabin and enjoyed the peace and quiet. One night, her eldest daughter was spending the night with a family in a neighboring cabin. When she woke up the next morning for church she arrived at her home to find three members of her family murdered. In another room she found two of her brothers alive with a neighborhood friend. Tina, one of the daughters was missing.
All three murdered members had been stabbed and bludgeoned to death with a hammer. The killers had escaped out the back door. To this day this case is still unsolved and Tina was never found. But in 1984 pieces of a human skull were found 63 miles away and were confirmed to be Tina Sharp. The police were informed of these fragments by an anonymous call.
What exactly happened that night? We have no idea. And that’s what makes it so scary. Why was this family chosen? Why were only some of them killed? Who committed these crimes? Maybe we’ll never know, but it’s inspired many stories since.
NUMBER THREE – Zodiac
This is a no brainer. The movie is based on the real life serial killer, the Zodiac Killer. This man terrorized Northern California in the 60’s and 70’s, killing multiple people and sending terrifying cryptic messages to the police and the newspapers. The Zodiac claims he’s killed 37 people but the police have only confirmed 5.
The case is still unsolved and people still work hard trying to decode the messages, find DNA, and track who this killer could be. It’s a rabbit hole that is a lot of fun to jump down when you have some time, and the movie is a great starting point.
NUMBER TWO – The Conjuring
The Conjuring and its following universe is of course based on the real life cases of Ed and Lorraine Warren. Ed was a former police officer and a demonologist, Lorraine was a medium and clairvoyant. This particular tale is based on a couple moving into a farmhouse in Rhode Island in 1971 along with their five daughters.
For nine years the family was haunted. It started with small things like the broom going missing or the sounds of scraping. The mother would find small piles of dirt all over the kitchen floor. The young girls began to see ghosts around the house. They would smell rotting flesh, beds would rise off the floor and at one point the mother was possessed.
The family researched the house and found out that in the mid-1800’s a woman named Bathsheba Sherman lived in the home and was a Satanist. It was rumored she had been involved in the death of a neighbor’s child. The family believed this was the angry spirit tormenting them.
Ed and Lorraine got involved and helped perform an exorcism. But who knows if Bathsheba ever really left?
NUMBER ONE – The Exorcist
The Exorcist freaked the FUCK out of people when it came out, and still does to this day. It was based on the novel by William Peter Blatty. He based this story on the true case of Roland Doe from the 1940’s, Roland was only 14 when he allegedly became possessed.
Mysterious claw marks would appear on his body and objects would move around the room. His family tried moving away but Roland remained possessed. A Priest got involved and documented the case, he performed several terrifying exorcisms on the young boy. It took a week but finally the demon was expelled.
So what do you think? What’s your favorite terrifying story? Let us know in the comments below!
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