These 5 Chilling Horror Movies Are Based On Real Life

Focus on five cult horror films, from Hitchcock’s “Birds” to the most recent “Conjuring”, which have the particularity of being inspired by real events. Of course, it’s cold in the back…

The Exorcist, The Birds, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Amityville and, more recently, The Conjuring. Five cult horror films that have thrilled millions of viewers around the world and, even more frighteningly, are inspired by events that really happened. We tell you about these creepy events that gave birth to cinematic classics of fear…


Warner Bros Entertainment

Released in theaters in 2013, the feature film Conjuring is inspired by a case that Ed and Lorraine Warren, respectively demonologist and medium, had to deal with during their career as experts in combating the forces of evil. A very prolific career during which the couple worked on nearly 4000 cases, including that of the Amityville house!

The case in question in Conjuring? That of the Perrons, in 1971. A family terrorized by a disturbing presence on their isolated farm in Harrisville, in the American state of Rhode Island. The mother, Carolyn Perron, claimed that the dead were within the walls of the house…

The wish of the scriptwriters of Conjuring, the twins Chad and Carey Hayes, was, of course, to recount one of the experiences of the Warrens, but above all to do so from two different points of view: on the one hand, that of the Warrens, and on the other, that of the Perron family, victim of the demonic attack. “On the one hand, there are the Warrens, practicing Catholics and renowned exorcists, and on the other, the Perrons, who are not at all religious. And that’s when their paths intersect”indicates one of the two brothers.

“I said to myself that it was even more frightening to relate this terrifying episode from the point of view of experts in demonology and that of this family who knows nothing about the paranormal”, continues director James Wan. And he summarizes: “My goal was to incorporate the mind-blowing events that happened to Ed and Lorraine Warren into the narrative, while remaining true to the Perron case.”

For Conjuring, Vera Farmiga was able to benefit from the advice of the real Lorraine Warren, who invested a lot in the preparation of the film. After having documented as much as possible about the couple’s work, the actress met the medium, and was particularly fascinated by her unconditional faith and her unfailing solidity despite adversity. Lorraine also gave valuable recommendations to Patrick Wilson who was unable to meet Ed, who died in 2006.

The long Conjuring metarge will have two sequels, Conjuring 2: The Enfield Case and Conjuring 3: Under the Devil’s Grip, also inspired by cases handled by Ed and Lorraine Warren.

Amityville, the house of the devil


In a bourgeois house, a young man, in a fit of dementia, massacres his parents, his brothers and his sisters. Some time later, this house is put up for sale at an unbeatable price. The Lutz family buys it without knowing the tragedy that took place there, and will live a real hell. Such is the story of the feature film Amityville, the house of the devil, which is inspired by tragic events that really took place.

On November 13, 1974, the police of Amityville, a small coastal town on the island of Long Island, east of New York, discovered, within the grounds of a vast residence located at 112 Ocean Avenue, six members of same family massacred with gunshots by one of the children, Ronald DeFeo Jr. This one will declare having killed all his family after having heard voices emanating from the depths of the house.

In December 1975, thirteen months after the tragedy, the Lutz family moved into the house, convinced that it was the house of their dreams. But for 28 days, George, Kathy and their three children will find themselves – according to them, no concrete proof having been, in the end, brought to grips with an obscure and evil presence.

Unexplainable supernatural events haunt the family’s nights and the house at 112 Ocean Avenue, whose large windows give it the appearance of a disturbing face, will become the object of all rumors, all fears. The traumatic experience lived by the Lutz family will inspire the novelist Jay Anson, whose book will in turn inspire the seventh art, with no less than eleven films including the classic released in 1980, led by James Brolin (Josh’s father), but also the 2005 remake worn by Ryan Reynolds.

The house in Amityville, which still exists, has, since these strange events, welcomed other owners. Hassle-free.

The Exorcist

Warner Bros. France

A true classic of horror, the feature film The Exorcist by William Friedkin, released in theaters in 1974, is the adaptation of a book by William Peter Blatty. Book itself inspired by a real news story: a case of possession that occurred to a young thirteen-year-old boy residing in Cottage City, Maryland, in 1949.

The identity of this boy, known as Roland Doe, was not known for nearly a decade, with some experts believing his real name was Ronald Hunkeler, or Robbie Mannheim. Novelist William Peter Blatty caught wind of his story when he discovered an article in the Washington Post while he was a student at Georgetown University.

Note that during the preparation of the feature film, William Friedkin was able to speak directly with the aunt of the teenager. She told the filmmaker about events not present in Blatty’s book, such as moving furniture.

Finally, it should be noted that for The Exorcist, Friedkin declared that he was also inspired by another case of possession, in this case that of a woman in Earling, Iowa, in 1922.

The birds

Cinema Sorbonne

The Birds, Alfred Hitchcock’s classic released in theaters in 1963, tells the story of a young woman and a lawyer who, in San Francisco, begin a game of seduction with a bird-catcher. As she decides to deliver a couple of birds to her beloved, the woman, played by Tippi Hedren, is attacked by a seagull. Soon, strange phenomena related to the behavior of birds announce an impending tragedy…

The Birds is inspired by a true story that occurred on August 18, 1961, when the inhabitants of the Californian town of Capitola were awakened by angry birds rushing on the roofs. They also found their streets covered with the corpses of birds. Alfred Hitchcock asked for a version from the local newspaper to be used as inspiration for his thriller.

In 2011, the mystery was apparently solved, when researchers found a toxin-producing algae in birds that caused amnesia, disorientation and seizures.

Note that the feature film Les Oiseaux is also inspired by the short story of the same by the British novelist Daphne du Maurier, published in 1952.

Chainsaw Massacre

VORTEX INC. / KIM HENKEL / TOBE HOOPER © 1974 VORTEX INC. All rights reserved.

The masked killer in Tobe Hooper’s horror classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is partly inspired by the actions of real-life American serial killer Ed Gein. An Ed Gein who also inspired other psychopaths on the big screen such as Norman Bates in Psycho or Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs.

Ed Gein, who exhumed corpses and made memories from their bones and skins, also used to wear women’s clothing, like the character Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Arrested in 1957 and died in 1984, Ed Gein was convicted of a dozen murders.

Note that another American serial killer also inspired Tobe Hopper for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. This is Elmer Wayne Henley, played by actor Robert Aramayo in the second season of the Mindhunter series.

These 5 Chilling Horror Movies Are Based On Real Life