Have you ever left the movie theater after watching a scary movie, and thought, “Damn. I’m glad that was just a movie.“? Well, sometimes it’s not just a movie.
We’re talking about those scary movies that are based on true stories. As we all should know by now, the most frightening things in life often happen to real people. There are some sick people in this world, and those sick people provide Hollywood screenwriters with a lot of money-making material.
Check out the list below, and make sure to lock your doors tonight. The real world is waiting for you.
No. 7 – The Possession
Ah, the lovely 2012 film about a little girl and her special antique box she got from a stranger at a yard sale. If you stopped the story there, it sounds like it could be the beginning of a sweet Pixar film. Maybe little toys start popping out of the box, helping the little girl solve adorable mysteries in her quirky neighborhood.
But no, evil things are inside this box. An evil spirit.
And it’s supposedly based on a true story. The bizarre stories surrounding the box started in the mid 2000s. A strange eBay listing for an old wine box, which had the low starting bid of just one dollar. The box contained a few pennies, locks of hair, a dried flower, a wine cup, and an engraved slab of granite. For some reason, several people seemed to REALLY want this box, and it ended up selling for nearly $300.
The original buyer of the box, a man named Kevin Mannis, claims he purchased it an estate sale of a 103-year-old Holocaust survivor. Just hours after buying the box, Mannis learned his store had been damaged by an unknown person. The incident freaked out his one employee so much that the employee quit and never returned. But at the time, he didn’t believe a freaking box had anything to do with his terrible luck.
But that all changed when he gave the box to his mother for her birthday. Just minutes after she received the box, she had a stroke and lost the ability to speak. And from there, the box was passed around to several people, all of them experiencing something terrible.
The new owner of the box, Jason Haxton, actually offered to send it to Sam Raimi, one of the producers of the film, “I didn’t want anything to do with it. I’m scared of the thing.” He told Entertainment Weekly.
No. 6 – The Strangers
The Strangers, written and directed by Bryan Bertino, wasn’t based on just one real-life incident. It was loosely based on several terrifying (and real!) incidents. The writer/director claims the events in the movie were inspired by a series of haunting break-ins that occurred in his neighborhood as a child. The difference being that the criminals from his childhood would only enter the house if no one was home. In the movie, the psychos want someone to be home.
He also said the film was inspired by the 1981 Keddie Cabin Murders that took place in a vacation community in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
No. 5 – Wolf Creek
The 2005 Australian horror film received mixed reviews from critics, but that didn’t hold it back from being nominated for seven Australian Film Institute awards. The general audience seemed to enjoy the movie, and the fact that it was able to slap that “based on true events” text on its posters didn’t hurt.
It was influenced by the abduction (and murder) of British tourist Peter Falconio and the assault of his girlfriend in 2001. The killer in that case, Bradley John Murdoch, was actually still awaiting his sentence when the film was first released, and the Northern Territory court decided to place an injunction on the film’s release there because they were concerned it might influence the decision in the case.
But the movie wasn’t just about this one case. It had several inspirations, including the backpacker murders that also took place in Australia in the 1990s. You can read more about that by clicking here.
No. 4 – The Haunting In Connecticut
The Haunting In Connecticut might have scored a paltry 16% on Rotten Tomatoes, but it was still surprisingly successful at the box office, taking home over $70 million against a $10 million budget. And once again, we believe the “based on true events” tag helped the movie.
To find the inspiration for this film, we must travel back to 1986. The Snedeker family from Southington, Connecticut, reportedly lived in a house that was once a funeral home. But not just any funeral home, no this funeral home had morticians who “committed necromancy and/or necrophilia with the corpses.”
You can watch this short clip to see the differences between the real life events, and the terrifying scenes found in the movie. As you might expect, it was dramatized for the big screen.
No. 3 – Open Water
We have another “loosely based on a true story” film for you. The 2003 drama/horror was directed by Chris Kentis, and the story it’s based on belongs to Tom and Eileen Lonergan. They lived up to the first five letters in their last name after being left behind by their scuba diving group back in 1998 at St. Crispin’s reef in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Apparently, the crew on the boat failed to take a proper headcount.
Sadly, their bodies were never found. The crew and passengers didn’t even notice they were missing until two days later, but it was too late by then, even after a massive three-day search.
By the way, this film was made on a $130,000 budget, and it ended up making a total of $55 million at the box office.
No. 2 – The Mothman Prophecies
You hear “Mothman” and you automatically think this story has to be fake. The Mothman sounds like a creature your grandfather made up to scare you with, “You better clean your room, Charlie! The Mothman is watching.” But this film is actually based on real events that happened between 1966 and 1967 in West Virginia.
People in West Virgina reported seeing a moth-like creature flying around the Point Pleasant area, and of course the first sighting just happened to be at a cemetery.
Here’s a little piece from Wiki:
“There were no Mothman reports in the immediate aftermath of the December 15, 1967 collapse of the Silver Bridge and the death of 46 people, giving rise to legends that the Mothman sightings and the bridge collapse were connected.”
People described the creature as a “large flying man with ten-foot wings and red eyes.”
No. 1 – The Quiet Ones
This is one of the newest movies on this list. The British supernatural horror flick was released in April of 2014 and made just over $17 million at the box office. It’s “loosely” based on the 1972 Philip experiment, a parapsychology experiment held in Toronto. The goal was to create a fictional character “through a purposeful methodology and then attempt to communicate with it through séance.”
After dimming the lights to create a better atmosphere, the group participating started to feel a presence. At one point, they claim the table tilted on a single leg and mysterious rapping sounds could be heard.