If there’s one way to guarantee that your horror film is going to do well, it’s to slap a massive sticker saying ‘based on true events’ across every possible medium of publicity. Regardless, while some movies have used that as a way to just market their wares better, the fact remains that the original events did occur, and they were actually pretty damn creepy. 

Here are some horror movie characters and the real people who inspired them!

1. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

The infamous Ed Gein was known to have made things like lamps and necklaces out of the corpses of a dozen people, apart from killing a couple of others. The character of Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre was inspired by him.

2. The Exorcist

Roland Doe was the pseudonym of an anonymous boy the priests of the Roman Catholic Church performed a series of exorcisms on in the 40s. The story of The Exorcist, and especially Regan’s possession, was inspired by these events.

3. The Amityville Horror

In 1975, the Lutz family moved into a house which was previously the area of a multiple murder. Namely, Robert DeFeo killing 6 members of his family. When the Lutzes moved in, they reported several paranormal happenings in the house, forcing them to finally move out, and giving rise to a number of books and movies.

4. The Girl Next Door

This film was inspired by the acts of the ruthless Gertrude Baniszewski, who, along with her sons and his friends, confined and tortured a girl named Sylvia Likens to death in her basement.

5. The Conjuring

After strange things start happening in the house they’ve just moved into, the Perron family call on supernatural investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren for assistance. Based on the true story of the Warrens.

6. The Exorcism of Emily Rose

In 1968, Anneliese Michel started to experience convulsions and devilish hallucinations while praying. When given to doctors, they decided to go with an exorcism, as she claimed to be hearing the voice of the devil. These events inspired the movie, where Anneliese was renamed Emily Rose.

7. The Rite

Anthony Hopkins played Father Lucas in this movie, a role based on Father Carmine De Filippis, who was known to have witnessed and performed an exorcism on a young, possessed girl.

8. The Haunting in Connecticut

Another movie dealing with the supernatural happenings surrounding a family moving into a new house, this film was based on the story of the Snedeker family. Within a short period of moving, the family started experiencing a malevolent force that would wreak havoc with their minds and bodies.

9. Borderland

Adolfo de Jesús Constanzo was an American serial killer, drug dealer and cult leader of an infamous gang called Los Narco-satanicos. Yeah, doesn’t sound very welcoming. They did a whole lot of fucked up shit in the hopes of transporting drugs safely, including performing human sacrifices. This movie is based on them.

10. Annabelle

Following the story of the dynamic ghostbusting duo Ed and Lorraine Warren yet again, this movie deals with the problems caused by a pesky (as in completely evil) doll that terrorises a family. The doll actually exists, sitting pretty in a museum of the Warren’s own making with a sign explicitly saying ‘do not touch’.

Designs by Nishant Patel.