One of the things that draws many people to horror movies is that they’re not real; they’re just stories to give us a fleeting scare… but sometimes the scare isn’t so fleeting.
Occasionally, a horror movie will leave us uneasy or even frightened for quite a while after we’ve watched it. Now imagine that the film that left you so uneasy or scared is based on real life events. It’s terrifying to discover that a supposedly fictional tale is not fiction at all…
The following terrifying films are based on actual events, so don’t expect a simple passing scare!
Most of us react with horror at the thought of snacking on people, and the film Ravenous uses this to great effect. The movie is set in California in the 1840s during the Mexican-American War and follows the story of Second Lieutenant Boyd as he tries to survive. In a desperate attempt to avoid starving to death, Boyd eats a dead soldier, and that’s where his troubles really begin!
Ravenous is loosely based on the true story of the Donner Party and that of Alfred Packer. The Donner Party was an ill-fated group of America pioneers who tried to get to California but got stuck in the Sierra Nevada mountains during one of the worst winters on record. Some of the party cannibalized their fellow pioneers to survive. Similarly, Alfred Packer was an American prospector who killed and ate five men to survive a harsh winter in Colorado. Ravenous is definitely worth watching, but be sure to pick up a few vegetarian meals first!
The Haunting in Connecticut (2009)
We’ve all heard the story about a family who moves into a new house, only to be tormented by ghosts with major anger management problems. This is essentially what The Haunting in Connecticut is all about. In this film, the Campbell family decide to move into a house that’s closer to the hospital where their son Matthew is being treated for cancer.
After the family moves into a new house, Matthew chooses the basement as his bedroom. It’s not long before he starts having frightening visions of corpses and an old man, and he soon discovers a strange door in his new bedroom. The family decides to investigate the house’s history and are horrified to learn that it used to be a funeral home and the door in Matthew’s bedroom leads into the mortuary. And sadly for the Campbell family, things only go downhill from there. What makes this movie stand out from most haunted house movies is the fact that it’s based on a true story.
In the 1980s, the Snedeker family rented a house close to the hospital that was treating their son Philip for cancer. Philip really did sleep in the basement and experienced disturbing visions there. The Snedekers eventually discovered that the house had been a funeral home for decades and that Philip was sleeping in the coffin display room next to the mortuary. The Haunting in Connecticut is exceptionally creepy, and its true-to-life origins only serve to make it creepier.
Social media has become an essential part of life for many people, making it easy to keep in contact with family and friends. Unfortunately, social media has also opened up many new opportunities for crazy people to exploit. In Chatroom, five teenagers meet in a chatroom created by William Collins, a depressed teen who has recently tried to commit suicide. Initially, the teens chat about their daily lives, but Collins gets increasingly threatening and develops an unhealthy obsession with suicide. He even starts to watch people commit suicide online. That soon gets old though, and he starts looking for new thrills. He decides to convince one of the other teens, Jim, to commit suicide.
Horrifyingly, Collins’ story actually echoes that of William Melchert-Dinkel, who spent his free time posing as a depressed young woman online and trying to convince other depressed people to kill themselves. Tragically, Melchert-Dinkel managed to convince two people to commit suicide. It’s quite clear that there really are dangerous people lurking online. When interacting with strangers online, you should invest in a few security measures, such as anti-virus software and even a good VPN to protect your identity.
In the supernatural horror movie Annabelle, John Form gives his pregnant wife, Mia, a doll as a gift. One night, Mia hears her neighbor being brutally murdered. While she’s calling the police, a man and young woman come from her neighbor’s house and attack her. The police arrive in time to shoot the man before he can hurt Mia, and the woman, Annabelle, slits her wrists. A drop of her blood falls on the doll, and she dies holding the doll. When the horrible ordeal is over, Mia asks John to throw the doll away, which he does. But the possessed doll comes back and terrorizes Mia and later her new baby, Leah. While the Form’s are fictional, the vengeful doll, Annabelle, is not. She’s based on a real Raggedy Ann doll.
According to demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren, the doll was given to a nursing student, Donna, by her mother. But as soon as Donna took the doll home, strange things started to happen. Donna came to believe that the doll was possessed by the spirit of a child called Annabelle Higgins. The Warrens disagreed and claimed the doll was actually possessed by a demon pretending to be the spirit of Annabelle Higgins. As if a doll possessed by a dead child isn’t bad enough! The doll is currently kept at the Warrens’ Occult Museum in a special demon-proof box.
The Possession (2012)
In The Possession, Clyde Brenek and his daughters Emily “Em” and Hannah visit a yard sale where Clyde buys an old wooden box engraved with Hebrew letters for Em. Later, they discover that they can’t open the box. That night, Em hears whispering from the box, and she manages to open it. She finds a dead moth, a tooth, a wooden figurine and a ring which she decides to wear. After this, Em becomes increasingly introverted and angry, eventually attacking a classmate.
The Possession was inspired by a real wooden wine cabinet called the dybbuk box, which is said to be haunted by a malicious spirit called a dybbuk. Kevin Mannis first brought people’s attention to the box when he auctioned it on eBay. Mannis claims he bought the box at the estate sale of Havela, a Holocaust survivor. Havela’s granddaughter insisted that he take the box as she didn’t want it because it was haunted by a dybbuk. When he opened the box, Mannis found two 1920s pennies, a small golden goblet, a candle holder, a dried rosebud, a lock of blonde hair, a lock of dark hair and a small statue.
Many people who’ve owned the box claim to have had horrific nightmares about an old hag. The current owner of the box, Jason Haxton, says he developed strange health issues after buying the box and has subsequently resealed it and hidden it in a secret location. The moral of the story: don’t buy boxes that are named after the angry spirits said to possess them!
Have you watched any terrifying movies and discovered that they’re based on actual events? Tell us about them in the comments!