Five Films Whose Origins Are Based Within True Events

*This list was contributed by up and coming writer Cassie, and we thought you fright fanatics might enjoy giving it a read-Josh


Many ingredients go into making the perfect horror film, but one thing that is guaranteed to make your skin crawl is when stories are based on real events. Watching the plot unfold before your eyes and knowing that it happened to someone, somewhere, is the icing on the cake for those who love an element of fright from their cinema.

With so many fantastic examples of terrifyingly captured real-life tales, it can be hard to find the best. However, these five knuckle-whitening spectaculars are some of the most terrifying “based on a true story” films available today and are definitely worth the watch.


exorcistTHE EXORCIST (1973)

This film took America by storm during its release year in 1973, and for all intents and purposes, it seems as if all the events pictured are true, except the gender of the child. The movie is said to be based on a well-known historical case study that took place in 1949 to a young boy, who was named ‘Roland Doe’ to preserve his anonymity.

In essence, this particular event seems to be the go-to for all exorcism based movies; the violent outbursts, the speaking in tongues and unexplainable markings on the body all come from this chilling tale of a small boy from Maryland. If you didn’t believe in Satanic possession before, watching these horrific events unfold on screen and knowing they actually happened will definitely make you question things.

amityvilleTHE AMITYVILLE HORROR (1979)

This classic thriller was such a dramatic success that many call it one of the greatest horrors of all time. However, many will be shocked to find out that the year of torture that the film displays, actually happened to an unsuspecting family in New York.

When a schizophrenic murderer, Ronald DeFeo Jr, guns down his whole family it seems that horror can’t go any further. However, years later, a pair of newlyweds move into the old crime scene, and the story becomes a chilling recount of an unrelenting haunting that shook the new occupants to their very core.


What’s more shocking, after investigating the haunting, paranormal investigators snapped an infrared shot of a supposed ghost during the night, that looked an awful lot like the DeFeo’s youngest child. There’s lots of controversy about the truth of this tale, but it’s one of the most well-documented haunting cases in history and definitely includes some rather terrifying food for thought!

The 2005 remake of the film is available on Netflix if you want to decide for yourself whether you believe the claims. Unfortunately, it’s subject to geo-blocking so you might have to use a Virtual Private Network to gain access from outside America.




derangedDERANGED (1974)

 Many, many terrifying horror films have been based on the life of America’s most notorious serial killer, Ed Gein, but none are as close to the truth as this terrifying cult classic, directed by Alan Ormsby and Jeff Gillen.

The prolific murderer was not only known for his killings, but one of the most disturbing features of his character was his love for mutilating and experimenting with dead bodies. In fact, as seen in the film, he would often exhume female corpses from nearby graveyards in a perverse attempt to turn himself into a woman.

The film also touches on his heavily religious upbringing, by a mother who indoctrinated him to hate women and fear the outside world. You don’t have to know this story is based on facts to see how possible the events that played out could be, and it’s perhaps this that makes this movie all the more chilling.




BorderlandBORDERLAND (2007)

 The film follows a group of college students as they accidentally stumble upon a terrifying cult for human sacrifice in Mexico. The story itself is known to be loosely based on the tale of a Narco-Satanist drug lord, Adolfo de Jesus Constanzo, who kidnapped and murdered a Texas University student in 1989.

Raised as a religious extremist, whose mother later married into a life of crime, the real life Constanzo was a formidable character and a force to be reckoned with. He made his fame as a witch doctor, casting spells for cartels and corrupt government. Eventually, his craft took him into human mutilation, and he murdered and tortured over 20 victims during his early days.
As his success grew, he moved with his followers out to a ranch in the desert where he is said to have committed over 70 murders and mutilations, all for disturbing religious rituals. So while the college students in the film aren’t real, a significant amount of the film’s content most definitely is.




Last on our list is a movie that many people believed to be true during its initial release which, while not completely true, is somewhat based on real events. The premise of this film is a handheld-camera documentary, filmed by a group of teenagers who are exploring the legend of the Blair Witch. The actual footage shown follows their exploration deep into the woods and eventually to their deaths, and it is said to be all that was found of the curious filmmakers. While no teenagers actually died in the making of this film, it is more realistic than most critics give it credit.

The myth was based on the true historical events of an Irish-born woman, who was tortured and banished from a nearby town, under accusations of being a witch. Since this event in 1785, reports of missing children from the area have been regular and often. In 1886, witnesses reported watching a ghostly hand pull a small girl to her death in a shallow body of water, while more recently, in 1940, a local serial kidnapper and murderer claimed a ghostly woman had made him kill his seven child victims.
Even the eerie rock formations and wooden stick figures in the film were plucked straight from historical accounts. Plus, the filmmakers left the actors largely out of the loop and set up terrifying pranks during the filming process, making for truly credible performances all round!


These are just a few of the many terrifying horrors, based on real life. If you know of any more than we’d love to hear your ideas! Be sure to leave a comment below.


About the Author: Cassie is a freelance writer and blogger who is proud to combine her two greatest loves: entertainment and technology. She is also interested in using new technologies to make the world of entertainment that much more entertaining.

Leave A Comment