Summer is over and the cool weather of fall seems to put everyone in the mood for a good horror movie. We all have our go-to flicks, but unfortunately, it seems that Hollywood isn’t really coming up with fresh concepts in that genre anymore. So, how do they put asses in theater seats?
Horror Movies Based on True Stories
A well-known marketing trick used by the film industry is to slap the “Based on True Events” sticker on the box art and voilà, it becomes an instant must-see. Ninety percent of the true stories are straight up BS. However, occasionally there is an actual horrific circumstance that sparks a screenwriter to get typing. So grab that popcorn and pull your girl close. We’ve dug up a few horror movies based on true stories … or at least ones that are factually based on some extremely frightening events.
“A Nightmare on Elm Street”
Nancy is having nightmares. Something in her haunted sleep wants to kill her — something monstrous, something unstoppable. But she has more to fear. Much, much more …
Her high school friends, she discovers, are having the same fiendish dream. And they are being butchered, systematically slaughtered in their sleep by a predatory monster of their shared nightmare.
Director Wes Craven said that he got the idea from a newspaper article he read about the mysterious deaths of several Cambodian refugees in the 1970s. Within a year’s time, 18 of these immigrants (all deemed to be in perfect health) died violently in their sleep. The cause of death was officially listed as Sudden Unexpected Death Syndrome; it means the victims literally died of fright from what they experienced in their dreams.
High school students in the little town of Woodsboro are being stalked by a mysterious serial killer infamously known as “Ghostface.” As more and more teens are slaughtered, everyone in the sleepy community becomes a suspect. This slasher comedy was well known for resurrecting the horror film industry in the 1990s.
Once again, Wes Craven pulls from national headlines. Danny Rolling, aka The Gainesville Ripper, was convicted of murdering five college students in 1990. He mutilated his victims’ bodies and was even known to pose them after they were deceased. His preferred murder weapon was a knife that was identical to one used in the “Scream” franchise.
“They’re here.” And they seem almost whimsical at first, playing stack-the-chair games in the kitchen of the Freeling’s suburban home. Then things
turn darker. A storm erupts, a tree attacks, and little Carol Anne Freeling is whisked into a spectral void. And as her family confronts a chain reaction of horrors and fights to bring the youngster back, something else is here, too — a new benchmark in Hollywood ghost stories.
Although no one was sucked into the spirit world, the Herrmann House on Long Island, N.Y., was the basis of this blockbuster hit. Back in 1958, this suburban home had more than 70 documented paranormal disturbances. Some were even witnessed by the head of Duke University’s Parapsychology Laboratory. From broken dishes to holy water spilling all over a bedroom dresser, these supernatural intrusions still go unexplained 60 years later.
Nobody believes six-year-old Andy Barclay when he says that “Chucky,” his new birthday doll, is alive. Then, Andy’s babysitter is violently pushed out the window to her death. When questioned, the boy tells his mother and the detective the simple truth: “Chucky did it.”
In this “clever, playful thriller,” voodoo and terror meet when an innocent-looking doll is inhabited by the soul of a killer who wasn’t ready to die. Only young Andy realizes that Chucky, who promises to be his “friend to the end,” is responsible for the ensuing rampage of gruesome murders. But the real terror takes hold when the deranged doll becomes determined to transfer his evil spirit to a living human being.
This back story is as creepy as it gets! In 1906, “Robert the Doll” was given to a young boy named Gene Otto by the family maid (who religiously practiced the dark art of voodoo). Within months, the family noticed their son having conversations with the doll at night. The creepy part? The doll talked back in a different voice.
As the weeks went on, the parents would come home to find furniture overturned and mutilated toys spread all over the house. When asked what happened, Gene would calmly tell them, “Robert did it.”
Throughout the years, numerous house guests claimed to have seen the doll change expressions. Some passersby said it would stare at them through different windows of the house. You can imagine their feelings of horror when the parents explained that the doll had been locked in the attic for decades.
Today, the doll is displayed in the Fort East Martello Museum in Key West, Fla. If you want to take its picture, you have to ask it for permission; and there is an entire wall with handwritten apology letters from the ones who didn’t.
“Friday the 13th”
Terror and suspense abound in this 24-hour nightmare of blood. Camp Crystal Lake has been shuttered for over 20 years due to several vicious and unsolved murders. The camp’s new owner and seven young counselors are readying the property for re-opening, despite warnings of a “death curse” by local residents. The curse proves true on Friday the 13th, as one by one, each of the counselors is stalked by a violent killer.
In 1960, at Finland’s Bodom Lake, four teens decided to go camping along its shores and have a night filled with booze and sex. (I’m pretty sure we know where this is going.) By night’s end, three of the four were stabbed and bludgeoned to death by a crazed lunatic. The only survivor of the massacre sustained a concussion, broken jaw and knife wound to the face. However, he lived to tell the horrific story. He stated that he had seen a vision of a black- and red-clothed attacker coming for them, but could remember nothing else. To this day, the murders have gone unsolved.
The above piece on the Best Horror Movies Based on True Stories is directly from Skillset Magazine. Pick up digital and physical copies at OutdoorGroupStore.com.