15 "Based On A True Story" Horror Movies That Took A Looot Of Liberties In Their Retellings

·4 min read

Everyone loves a good scare now and then. If you're a horror movie fan, chances are you've figured out which movies hit the sweet spot and which miss the mark.

Disney / Via giphy.com

There's something to be said about the "based on a true story" genre of horror. You can't deny there's an extra scary element to knowing something isn't a work of fiction.

NBC / Via tenor.com

That said, filmmakers are known to take a creative liberty or two and in horror, maybe three or four or ten, as they did with these films.

1.Take The Conjuring, for example. Ed and Lorraine Warren were real paranormal investigators who really did meet the Perron family, a couple and their five daughters, who were plagued by some kind of haunting.

Two major differences in the film didn't reflect the actual experience. For one, the haunting never made Caroline Perron consider harming her children. Also, Ed Warren never did an exorcism.

There was once a seance which temporarily rendered Caroline "possessed," but it was performed by one of the priests the family sometimes worked with.

2.The true story behind The Exorcism of Emily Rose is pretty heartbreaking.

Michel underwent over 60 exorcisms in the span of a year and ultimately died as a result of fasting in preparation for another attempt, unlike in the film where she is believed to have died during an exorcism, for reasons disputed throughout the plot.

3.The Amityville Horror is one of the most well-known "based on a true story" horror films but many have disputed what exactly happened at that ill-fated Long Island home.

While some say the Lutz's were haunted after the DeFeo's were previously killed in the home, some say it's a tall tale wound around a tragedy to make it profitable for the family that followed.

4.The idea for Jaws started with a 1964 incident where a fisherman faced off against a great white off the coast of Long Island, NY.

5.And in case that wasn't enough Long Island creepiness for you, Poltergeist is inspired by the Hermann family of Seaford, who was featured in Life for their claims of creepy paranormal happenings in their home.

6.The Exorcist was based on a short newspaper story about a 14-year-old boy who started having paranormal experiences after being gifted an ouija board by his aunt, who died shortly thereafter.

7.Texas Chainsaw Massacre is based on a true story...that had nothing to do with chainsaws and didn't happen in Texas.

8.Also inspired by Gein? Psycho. Turns out, the killer had a very complicated relationship with his mother, who he viewed as possessive, controlling, and manipulative.

9.A website that offered guests in Thailand the opportunity to shoot someone in the head for $10,000 was the inspiration behind Hostel.

10.Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds was based, in part, on a mass bird attack in the small town of Capitola, California on August 18, 1961.

11.Scream may not advertise itself as loosely based on a true story, but it's got some of these others beat.

12.The idea for Nightmare on Elm Street came after Wes Craven read a series of Los Angeles Times articles about a young Cambodian man who suffered horrifying nightmares after escaping the country's Killing Fields.

"He told his parents he was afraid that if he slept, the thing chasing him would get him, so he tried to stay awake for days at a time. When he finally fell asleep, his parents thought this crisis was over. Then they heard screams in the middle of the night. By the time they got to him, he was dead," Wes Craven told Cinema Blend. "He died in the middle of a nightmare. Here was a youngster having a vision of a horror that everyone older was denying. That became the central line of Nightmare on Elm Street."

And while that theme stuck, the gratuitous nature of the '80s horror certainly took over from there.

13.Jerry Blake in The Stepfather was inspired by murderer John List, who killed his wife, mother, and three children at their home in New Jersey before changing his identity and going on with his life. He later felt remorse for his actions.

14.The Haunting in Connecticut was based on the story of Allen and Carmen Snedeker, who moved into a rented home in Southington in 1986 with their daughter and three young sons — one of which was undergoing cancer treatment — only to discover it was a haunted former funeral home.

15.In the 1930s, a man named Joe Ball allegedly killed up to 20 women and fed them to crocodiles in a pond at his saloon because he believed he couldn't be convicted of murder if there were no bodies to find.

What other "based on a true story" horror flicks are your favorites? Let's get spooky in the comments!

Hunter Preston / Via giphy.com