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How a Horror Movie Helped Solve a Real-Life Murder



In 1985 a murder case rocked the small town of Niantic Connecticut. A pregnant wife was found strangled in the bedroom while her husband was away on a sailing trip.  The crime went unsolved until a witness came forward to give investigators a clue, in of all places, a VHS copy of a horror movie.

Ed and Ellen Sherman appeared to be a happy couple around town, both professional, Ellen a publisher, Ed a teacher at the local community college.  Although they appeared to be the epitome of community grace, their private lives told a different story.  Ed was a philanderer who often partook in wife swapping and sex parties. Ellen seemed not to mind and often engaged in the activities herself.

Enter Nancy Prescott, Ed’s mistress who became pregnant and had a child during their affair. Ellen at her limit told Ed to leave Nancy so they could start afresh.

Image result for Ed and Ellen Sherman forensic files
Ed Sherman

Ed agreed and the couple tried to reignite their marriage, Ellen herself becoming pregnant.

But on a Sunday in August 1985, while Ed had gone on a sailing trip with four friends, he got a call from police on the boat’s radio, saying his pregnant wife was dead. She was discovered by a male family friend who Ed had asked to look in on her that night.

At first glance it indeed looked as if an intruder had come into their home and squeezed the life out of Ellen then made a hasty retreat, in fact, the air conditioner was still turned on.

Ligatures around Ellen’s neck provided the medical examiner with enough proof to determine she had been strangled with her own underwear. But the furthering investigation would also show that she had been strangled before the panties had gone around her neck. Medical examiners determined that she had been killed earlier that Sunday.

The question remained; who would do this? And as is usually the case, investigators look first to the spouse as a suspect. But Ed had been away on a sailing trip on Sunday, he had a solid alibi, with four witnesses. He couldn’t have done it. How could he be in two places at once?

Ed had even spoken to his wife on the night of the murder at a friend’s house, they all heard him on the phone.

Forensic scientists were baffled especially Dr. Henry Lee of the Connecticut State Crime Lab. That is until someone came forward with a tip that would blow the lid off the case.

The witness said she had run into Ed at the local video store on the morning of his sailing trip. She says Ed recommended a horror movie called Blackout, a mystery about a disfigured man named Allen Devlin, who early on may have brutally killed his wife and children and then manipulated the crime scene to thwart investigators.

In the film, Richard Widmark, Detective Joe Steiner, is confounded and sets out to prove that Allen is, in fact, responsible for the brutal killings.

Blackout (1985)

Remember the air conditioner? In “Blackout” the killer uses a clever trick to throw investigators off. He turns up the appliance to its highest setting and leaves it running.

The extremely cold temperatures slow down the rigor mortis process and the body’s decomposition which can cause investigators to inaccurately estimate the true time of death.

Both Widmark in the film and real-life investigators in the Sherman case discover this murderous hack. In the Sherman case where the coroner determined the time of death to be Sunday, they surmised that with the air conditioner running, the time of death was actually two days prior, on Friday.  This means Ed could have done it before leaving for his fishing trip.

Still, Ed had called his wife from miles away the night of the murder and his friends could attest to that. Except unbeknownst to Ed, there was someone else on the phone, one of the gentleman’s daughters who reported that she picked up the receiver to make a call and heard him talking, only he wasn’t talking to his wife, he was talking over the ringing on the other end: the call was a fake.

According to the show Forensic Files (full episode below), Ed strangled his wife to death with his bare hands after dinner on Friday. He then wrapped the underwear around her throat to try and mislead investigators into thinking it was a sex crime.

After that, and inspired by the movie Blackout, he then turned the air conditioner to high to slow down the decomposition process ultimately misdirecting the Coroner and the true time of death. He then left for his friend’s house for the fishing trip and mocked a call later that night all within earshot of his friends, but unaware someone else was listening.

Ellen Sherman

Ultimately thanks to the movie Blackout, investigators concluded that with the frigid temperatures, the actual time of death was not on Sunday, but two days earlier when Ed was still at home.

Ed Sherman was arrested for murder. Prosecutors argued that Ellen had given up on their marriage and wanted a divorce. She, being the primary owner of the business told Ed he could have his girlfriend and the sailboat, and nothing else.

During the trial, jurors were very interested in knowing more about Ellen’s time of death. Based on the forensic evidence they determined that Ed had the time and the motive to commit the murder, and six years after the crime he was found guilty of first-degree murder, and sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Ed never admitted guilt and three years after the conviction he died in prison after suffering a heart attack.

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Netflix Doc ‘Devil on Trial’ Explores The Paranormal Claims of ‘Conjuring 3’ [Trailer]



What is it about Lorraine Warren and her constant row with the devil? We may find out in the new Netflix documentary called The Devil on Trial which will premiere on October 17, or at least we will see why she chose to take on this case.

The Devil On Trial Official Trailer

Back in 2021, everyone was holed up in their homes, and anyone with an HBO Max subscription could stream “Conjuring 3” day and date. It got mixed reviews, maybe because this wasn’t an ordinary haunted house tale that the Conjuring universe is known for. It was more of a crime procedural than a paranormal investigative one.

As with all of the Warren-based Conjuring movies, The Devil Made Me Do It was based on “a true story,” and Netflix is taking that claim to task with The Devil on Trial. The Netflix e-zine Tudum explains the backstory:

“Often referred to as the ‘Devil Made Me Do It’ case, the trial of 19-year-old Arne Cheyenne Johnson quickly became the subject of lore and fascination after it made national news in 1981. Johnson claimed that he murdered his 40-year-old landlord, Alan Bono, while under the influence of demonic forces. The brutal killing in Connecticut drew the attention of self-professed demonologists and paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, known for their probe into the infamous haunting in Amityville, Long Island, several years prior. The Devil on Trial recounts the troubling events leading up to Bono’s murder, the trial, and the aftermath, using firsthand accounts of the people closest to the case, including Johnson.”

Then there’s the logline: The Devil on Trial explores the first — and only — time “demonic possession” has officially been used as a defense in a US murder trial. Including firsthand accounts of alleged devil possession and shocking murder, this extraordinary story forces reflection on our fear of the unknown.

If anything, this companion to the original film might shed some light on just how accurate these “true story” Conjuring films are and how much is just a writer’s imagination.

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[First Photos] ‘The Strangers’ Reboot is Already Made; It Consists of Three Movies



Director Renny Harlin (Deep Blue Sea, Exorcist: The Beginning, Cliffhanger) has been a busy man. He is rebooting The Strangers franchise with a trilogy that he has already completed according to Entertainment Weekly.

Harlin says he shot all of the films in Slovakia at the same time, and production was, “the challenge of a lifetime, but I also really embraced it. On a Monday morning, I could be shooting the second chapter, and Monday afternoon I could be shooting the first chapter, and Tuesday morning I could be shooting the third chapter. it was incredibly demanding for the actors, for the continuity in terms of the make-up and wardrobe, and for my director of photography, because we wanted to create a visual language that develops so that the movies get bigger, more epic, as we go [on]. It just kept all of our juices pumping all the time.”

‘The Strangers Trilogy’| CREDIT: JOHN ARMOUR/LIONSGATE via

He remembers the Bryan Bertino-directed 2008 original Strangers which he says impressed him so much that he never forgot it.

“I remember the experience of seeing it,” says Harlin, “I didn’t really know anything about it when I saw it and I just loved it. I thought it was fantastic and it’s stuck in my mind as one of my favorite horror films.”

He adds: “When this opportunity came to me, the idea of not doing a remake or a reboot but doing a trilogy based on the original film, I thought it was an incredible opportunity.”

Froy Gutierrez and Madelaine Petsch in ‘The Strangers Trilogy’ | CREDIT: JOHN ARMOUR/LIONSGATE via

As for what Harlin’s version is about he says the first movie The Strangers: Chapter 1 pretty much follows the set-up of the original: a couple is terrorized by sociopathic home invaders, and Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 will “explore what happens to the victims of this kind of violence and who the perpetrators are of this kind of violence. Where are they coming from and why?”

The targets in Chapter 1 are played by Madelaine Petsch and Froy Gutierrez (Teen WolfCruel Summer).

The Strangers Trilogy is set for release in theaters next year. Harlin and producer Courtney Solomon will be participating in a panel about the three films at New York Comic Con on Oct. 12.

‘The Strangers Trilogy | CREDIT: JOHN ARMOUR/LIONSGATE vis

Original 2008 Trailer:

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‘Terrifier 3’ Teaser To Play Ahead of ‘Terrifier 2’ Theatrical Re-Release



Terrifier 2 is returning to theaters nationwide beginning November 1. 

Director Damien Leone will give a small on-screen introduction that will include the first public showing of the teaser from Terrifier 3. In addition, the first 100 audience members will receive a Terrifier 3 poster.

Terrifier 2 was the little indie(gogo) movie that could. It turned its shoestring budget of $250k into an $11 million windfall.

“This year has been unlike anything we could have imagined,” says Leone. “To see all the love Terrifier 2 has received and the excitement this release has inspired from fans new and old, is truly beyond words. As a thank you to our fans and the many people who worked tirelessly on this release, we want to bring it back to the big screen where it belongs. And more than that, while fans eagerly await the release of Terrifier 3 next year, we want the chance to share what we’ve been working on for the third installment because a year is just too long to wait.”

As for why the film is getting a re-release after Halloween, Brad Miska, Managing Director of Bloody Disgusting/Cineverse, says it’s a fitting adieu to the holiday.

“Terrifier 2’s return to theaters is the perfect farewell to the Halloween season, an event that will have audiences clinging onto their barf bags once again, “said Brad Miska, Managing Director of Bloody Disgusting/Cineverse. “This exemplifies the pinnacle of horror cinema, an experience that etches itself into memory. Between the exclusive Terrifier 3 scene that will only be shown in theaters to the exclusive poster, this is a night you won’t want to miss out on.”

For those who haven’t seen Terrifier 2, here is a brief description:

“Set one year after its predecessor, Terrifier 2 continued the gruesome story of Art the Clown and his insatiable thirst for murder. When a sinister force resurrects Art, he is once again upon the unsuspecting residents of Miles County. Back for another Halloween, Art sets his sights on a teenage girl and her little brother, portrayed by LaVera and Elliott Fullam, respectively, delivering a chilling and relentless tale of horror.”

Tickets are on sale now wherever movie tickets are sold – Fandango, the official website and Atom Tickets.

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