Halloween: Top 17 true horror movies taken from real-life events that will give you goosebumps

Welcome to the dark side, or (rather) to the more riveting months of any year. Halloween is practically here, and we can feel the eerieness and chills starting to set in the air. People have already started planning their Halloween costumes, backyard decorations, Halloween treats, and indoor party themes. So, why not include in binge-watching some of the creepiest and most true horror movies taken from real-life events?


Do you not believe in ghosts? Well, if nothing, life, indeed, is strange. Several (proven) weirdest events and occurrences happening throughout the years are unaccountable for and are absolutely unbelievable even to this date. However, the people who experienced those dreadful things did tell their side of the story. And some of those stories were made into films to engage and scare the viewers. Or maybe send a message that evil exists in some form or the other (even if you would not want to believe otherwise). Trust us; these true and real-life horror movies will most definitely give you goosebumps!


Did you know that the actors who worked in such real-life-based horror movies also claimed to experience or see paranormal happenings?


Keep this thought in mind, and brace yourselves for a creepy and ghostly lowdown of 17 true horror movies taken from real-life events. Save this post and watch them at your pace until Halloween – maybe you will get some terrific ideas to scare away the nosy kids (wink!).


17 True horror movies taken from real-life events that will give you goosebumps


As the old adage goes, the truth is often frightening! Read on.


The Conjuring Franchise


The life and careers of infamous paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (as played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Fermiga) were the inspiration behind many of the startling stories in the conjuring universe. From horrifically fierce entities to clairvoyant encounters, every movie in the Conjuring saga draws on true tales and events from those people who were unfortunate enough to have experienced malevolent and violent spirits and demons.


1. The Conjuring – Perron Family – 2013

IMDb = 7.5/10

Fans, do you remember the horrific exorcism scene in the movie The Conjuring? You would be stunned to know that the dreaded scene was taken from a real-life séance performed by Ed and Lorraine Warren in the house to contact the evil spirit, Bathsheba Sherman, that was terrifying the Perron family. This violent and menacing spirit tormenting the Perron family was inspired by a real-life woman who lived on that property centuries ago and was born in 1812 in Rhode Island. Before her death, she cursed that land and condemned everyone who settled on her property.

Furthermore, Andrea, the eldest of the Perron children, claimed to see Carolyn (her mother) becoming possessed, speaking in diverse languages, and even hovering above the ground in her chair.


2. The Conjuring – Hodgson Family (Enfield Poltergeist) – 2016

IMDb = 7.3/10

Janet Hodgson, an 11-year-old girl, was subject to a horrendous haunting lasting for about two years while living in Enfield. More than 30 witnesses reminisced bizarre supernatural events – from abnormal knocking and weird displacement of furniture to spontaneous fires torching their house.

All these incidents and the witnesses recalling their stories inspired the director to make this true Hollywood horror movie, The Conjuring – Hodgson Family (Enfield Poltergeist).


3. The Conjuring – Amityville Horror – 1979

IMDb = 6.1/10

The inspiration behind this true horror movie was a treacherous crime committed by Ronald DeFeo Jr., who was one of the previous tenants of Amityville. As per the reports, he is said to have committed a violent and gruesome crime when he slaughtered his parents and his four siblings in a cold-blooded murder in their home.

According to the renowned paranormal experimenters Ed and Lorraine Warren, the horrid supernatural activity they experienced in that house was so terrifying that both of them had to flee that home in merely 28 days.


4. A Nightmare on Elm Street – 1984

IMDb = 7.4/10

Wes Craven based the character of Freddy Krueger in the movie A Nightmare On Elm Street on the real-life struggles of Hmong refugees of the 70s. The happenings inspired the director and writer Wes Craven to create a dream monster. This idea came to him by reading news headlines about how a few survivors struggled with intense nightmares, even though they were physically safe.

Well, it is safe to say that there is a lot that experts still do not understand about dream science. And it is a proven truth that people are scared and intimidated by things they do not know or do not understand!


5. Texas Chainsaw Massacre – 1974

IMDb = 7.4/10

Not much of the plot of the movie Texas Chainsaw Massacre was true to its aspects. However, the director took some parts of the storyline from genuine real-life events, especially the heinous actions of Ed Gein, the notorious serial killer. Ed Gein was one of the most infamous and blatant serial killers who inspired multiple horror movies later on.

The plot of the movie Texas Chainsaw Massacre revolves around Gein’s house, wherein officers discover furniture beautified with human skin and skulls. This dreadful sight inspired Leatherface and his passion for creating masks from the faces of his victims. The horrifying and unnerving mortal truth that underlies the gruesome chainsaw-wielding exploits makes Leatherface an even more fearsome antagonist.


6. The Lighthouse – 2019

IMDb = 7.4/10

The horror movie The Lighthouse is an exemplary depiction of what solitude, misery, and paranoia can do to the mind of a sane person. The plot of The Lighthouse revolves around two Wickies who find themselves in the care of a lighthouse that seems to harbor numerous dreadful secrets. As time passes by, the two Wickies (Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe) grow suspicious of each other, even as other world elements creep into their lives. Ultimately, what is real and what is imaginary blur together into a startling climax.

This true horror movie is partially taken from the genuinely miserable story of a pair of Welsh lighthouse keepers back in 1801. As per the reports, the two were already involved in petty feuds. Then one died in a freaky accident, whereas the other kept the remains of the former in a self-made coffin until authorities arrived. Then the body was left with the isolated lighthouse keeper for weeks, leaving him to deal with solitariness and depression on his own.


7. Dead Ringers – 1988

IMDb = 7.2/10

Dead Ringers is a dark but riveting film that both fascinates and disgusts the audience. David Cronenberg’s camera is non-judgmental, simply pursuing the twins as they engage in workplace misconduct and sexual acts. Ultimately, this Hollywood film indicates how sometimes people can abuse their power and the other person’s trust in them in alarming ways. It features Jeremy Irons playing the character of twin gynecologists who merges personal feelings of desire and lust with their practice. With disastrous consequences, the movie Dead Ringers is one of the best Hollywood horror films of the 1980s. The movie is taken from the novel Twins by Bari Wood and directed by David Cronenberg. Real-life gynecologists Cyril and Stewart Marcus, who died at the same time in the year 1975, were the inspiration behind the main character in the film. As per the news reports, the twins used to share everything, including their Gynaecology practice and an eventually catastrophic barbiturate addiction.


8. The Blob – 1958

IMDb = 6.7/10

The plot of the movie, The Blob, centers around a mysterious UFO that falls from the sky. Two patrolling officers walking by see the UFO and decide to investigate. During their investigation, they discover a blob of grotesque and thick goo running down a telephone pole near where the allegedly extra-terrestrial remnants had landed. As the two patrolling officers draw in closer to further examine the scene, that blob of viscous goo crawls away and ultimately disappears.

The story may not sound very scary. However, two Philadelphia police officers testified that this was a real-life incident that took place in 1950. Their testimony inspired the production and release of the true horror movie The Blob eight years after the actual incident.


9. The Serpent and The Rainbow – 1988

IMDb = 6.4/10

Once again, we see Wes Craven showing up on our true horror movies list. Craves is considered one of those legendary horror directors who had a penchant for adapting some of the creepiest and most bizarre stories. Serpent and The Rainbow is another one of his true horror movie adaptations which is taken from a non-fiction book by Wade Davis, an ethno-botanist. Wade’s purported endeavors to ingratiate himself with the Haitian voodoo religion form the basis of this Hollywood film. While it is accurate that he surrounded himself with eerie voodoo practitioners, his telltale of human beings raising the dead really drew criticism from numerous people.

This Hollywood horror film enthralls the viewers in a beautifully shot, exotic location that is brimming with zombies, voodoo, and witch doctors. According to Craven’s inclination for social commentary, this true horror movie effectively condemns western colonialism and the incapability of foreigners or westerners to adjust and abide by the distinct cultures of other people.


10. The Rite – 2011

IMDb = 6.0/10

The Rite revolves around a skeptical rookie priest, Michael Kovak (played by the Irish actor Colin Arthur O’Donoghue), who registers in the seminary thinking that psychiatric disorders cause possessions rather than evil spirits. However, his perception changes when he encounters a horrifying event. This Hollywood horror movie is loosely based on the recounting of Father Gary Thomas, who allegedly saw the practice of real exorcisms conducted by the Catholic Church firsthand under the guidance of seasoned priests in Rome.

While Anthony Hopkins stands out as veteran exorcist Father Lucas Trevant and his tragic downward spiral into madness, the overall movie suffers from a lackluster lead rendition. Although we can debate the existence of ghouls and devils, The Rite (like several other paranormal religious horror films) treats exorcism as an ordinary part of harsh reality. Irrespective of the possibility of supernatural beings stewing inside people, this true horror movie does a great job of making the audience hope they don’t.


11. Annabelle – 2014

IMDb = 5.4/10

12. Annabelle: Creation – 2017

IMDb = 6.5/10

13. Annabelle Comes Home – 2019

IMDb = 5.9/10

Hardcore horror fans probably already know that the ominous Annabelle doll (as seen in Annabelle, Annabelle: Creation, and Annabelle Comes Home) is actually inspired by a real-life possessed doll. The seemingly compassionate and worn-out Ann doll was the suspected cause of numerous terrifying demonic attacks and violent near-death experiences. Shockingly, this malevolent doll had been considered so treacherous that Ed and Lorraine Warren kept it locked up in a specially made glass case that Ed would bless periodically with a strong binding chant for protection.


14. Tusk – 2014

IMDb = 5.3/10

The Hollywood horror film Tusk revolves around Wallace Bryton (played by an American actor Justin Long), a podcaster who gets kidnaped and transformed surgically into a walrus by Howard Howe, a crazy old sailor (played by Michael Parks). Kevin Smith, the director of this horror film, tongue-in-cheek affirms that the gruesome and bizarre story was taken from real-life events.

Although there is no proven record of a man being transformed into a walrus, the director revealed that he did establish the concept on a real-life advertisement he saw. That advertisement was allegedly written by a senior who wanted a roommate who would dress up as a walrus on rent. While this hilarious advertisement in itself turned out to be phony, it generated enough buzz at the time of its publication.

Coming back to this not-so-real-life-based horror movie. It is a mixed experimental pack, tossing forth a weird array of ideas to see what sticks. Moreover, the film merely can not decide whether it wants to be a gruesome horror or a comedic parody. Additionally, it never quite hits the heights of terror either.


15. La Llorona – The Curse of La Llorona

IMDb = 5.2/10

The menacing entity in the horror film, The Curse of La Llorona, is inspired by a horrifying ghost from Mexican folklore.

The creepy legend of La Llorona was passed on to generations of children. According to Mexican folklore, La Llorona is a wailing evil spirit doomed to wander the Earth after she committed heinous acts against her sons.

The fable narrates a woman named Maria who drowned her two sons in a fit of wrath after she caught her husband cheating on her with another woman. Devastated by grief, she committed suicide and has been wandering the Earth since then, roaring in search of her children. Furthermore, she is known to attack or abduct any child that crosses her path, so if you hear her screams – simply run!


16. The Quiet Ones – 2014

IMDb = 5.1/10

The horror film, The Quiet Ones, centers on Professor Joseph Coupland (played by British actor Jared Harris) as he tries to demonstrate that poltergeists are psychological incarnations rather than paranormal entities. The Philip experiment carried out in 1972 by parapsychologists is a loose inspiration behind making this Hollywood movie. Those parapsychologists desired to establish if participants might communicate with fictitious ghosts merely based on their urge to do so.

The two leading characters deliver exceptional performances and complement each other nicely. However, the film suffers from exaggerated reliance on jump scares. Apart from this, the vintage 70s production setup looks great. The film also gives us entertaining and fun moments scattered throughout its runtime.


17. The Bye Bye Man – 2017

IMDb = 4.3/10

The story of the horror film, The Bye Bye Man, describes a vicious spirit that can be summoned by simply uttering his name once. And once the person conjures this spirit, he will then take control of the person’s life. In the 1920s, in Louisiana swamp country, Robert Damon Schneck’s second-hand account of an orphaned boy was the inspiration behind this true horror movie. In the fall of 1990, witness reports from three students suggested that they used an Ouija board to summon the orphaned boy’s spirit, who then terrorized to take over their bodies.

The introduction of this real-life horror movie, The Bye Bye Man, is almost like a short horror film. It illustrates a fictionalized legend of how students came into contact with the unexplained ghost. The storyline is tightly interwoven, with numerous notable scenes (especially the one shot on a bridge with kids and a bottle), and multiple unexpected twists and turns.


25 More real-life horror movies to make you shiver


Will you sleep with your lights on? Do not forget to check under your beds, folks!

Halloween: 25 More real-life horror movies to make you shiver

  1. Psycho – 1960

  2. The Exorcist – 1973

  3. Deranged – 1974

  4. The Entity – 1982

  5. Child’s Play – 1988

  6. Ravenous – 1999

  7. Murder by Numbers – 2002

  8. Monster – 2003

  9. The Exorcism Of Emily Rose – 2005

  10. Wolf Creek – 2005

  11. Curse Of The Zodiac – 2007

  12. The Strangers – 2008

  13. The Haunting In Connecticut – 2009

  14. Silent House – 2011

  15. The Possession – 2012

  16. Compliance – 2012

  17. The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghost of Georgia – 2013

  18. Deliver Us From Evil – 2014

  19. The Disappointments Room – 2016

  20. Veronica – 2017

  21. Hounds of Love – 2017

  22. Winchester – 2018

  23. Child’s Play – 2019

  24. The Haunting of Sharon Tate – 2019

  25. Things Heard & Seen – 2021



Halloween: 25 More real-life horror movies to make you shiver

This was our curated list of true horror movies. Although not all of these real-life horror movies can be accounted for as they date back to the times when too much research behind paranormal sightings was not done, these movies do have a true base behind the conceptualization. Moreover, when these movies were released, they did create a huge ruckus and fright amongst the viewers.


Everything put aside, watch these real-life horror movies to have a chilling end to your tiring day! Happy Halloween!


Trick-or-treat folks?!


Have you ever encountered any abnormal or paranormal experiences?

Tell us in the comments section below!


Also Read: Top 5 horror shows like the spooky Chucky you must watch

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