Top 15 Scariest Films That Are Inspired by True Events

Are you a fan of true stories and horror? Then, we got you covered. These 15 scary movies are inspired by true events. So grab the popcorn and a blanket to hide under, and let’s get started!

1. The Amityville Horror (2005)

The Amityville Horror 2005
Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

The Amityville Horror revolves around scary incidents that the Lutz family faced when they shifted to their new home at 112 Ocean Avenue. It was revealed that one year before the family moved into the mansion, a man named Ronald had murdered his six family members there.

The movie stars Ryan Reynolds, Margot Kidder, Melissa George, and more. The original film made in 1979 was also based on the events. 

2. Deliver Us From Evil (2014)

Deliver Us from Evil 2014
Image Credit: Screen Gems.

Directed by Scott Derrickson, Deliver Us From Evil explores real-life paranormal incidents as encountered by Ralph Sarchie. Eric Bana perfectly demonstrates the emotions of a man whose soul is completely shattered by witnessing numerous dark events in his career as a cop. Edgar Ramirez plays the role of a priest in this film who convinces Ralph about the existence of demons in reality.

3. The Rite (2011)

The Rite 2011
Image Credit: New Line Cinema.

The Rite is inspired by actual events as narrated by a certified exorcist, Father Gary Thomas. His character, Michael (Colin O’Donoghue), explores his entire journey from being a student to getting trained by Father Lucas.

What interested him in choosing this field was the belief that possession is the result of a troubled mind rather than actual demons. However, some terrifying encounters confront his faith as a demon-possessing Father Lucas (Anthony Hopkins). 

4. Zodiac (2007)

Zodiac 2007
Image Credit: Phoenix Pictures.

Zodiac is based on a serial killer who attempted several murders during the 1960s in San Francisco. What’s strange is that the mystery remains unsolved. The film revolves around a man (Jake Gyllenhaal) obsessed with the case.

He tries to figure out the meaning behind the cryptic messages that the murderer left at the crime scenes. In the process, he even put his years-long marriage at risk. 

5. Poltergeist (1982)

Poltergeist 1982
Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

In Poltergeist, you can navigate through the horrors faced by a family living in Hermann’s house during the 1950s. This haunted abode located in the Long Island suburb had gained attention from the media back then for reporting numerous unusual activities.

These encompassed sudden popping of bottles and random movement of objects without any external force. The movie stars Heather O’Rourke, JoBeth Williams, and Zelda Rubinstein in lead roles. 

6. The Snowtown Murders(2011)

The Snowtown Murders 2011
Image Credit:
Screen Australia.

Depicting the dark side of the human psyche, The Snowtown Murders takes its inspiration from barrel murders that occurred back in the 1990s. Set in the backdrop of an Australian suburb, the film gives a sneak peek into a gang of four’s notorious murder-committing ways.

7. The Birds (1963)

The Birds 1963
Image Credit: Universal-International Pictures.

The movie The Birds demonstrates a real and strange event that took place in California. It was in 1961 when flocks of seagulls poisoned by toxic algae crashed into homes and cars. The aggressive birds puked up their half-digested food. You can see Tippi Hedren, Rod Taylor, and Jessica Tandy playing lead roles in this film. 

8. The Exorcist (1973)

The Exorcist 1973 Linda Blair movies inspired by true events
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Picture.

Based on a book, The Exorcist narrates a real-life incident that occurred back in 1949 with a boy named Roland being possessed by demons. The process of exorcism carried out to set him free was quite scary.

It was followed by numerous spine-tingling occurrences, as pictured cinematically. Starring Linda Blair, Jason Miller, and Ellen Burstyn, this movie is sure to give you goosebumps.  

9. An American Crime (2007)

An American Crime 2007
Image Credit: First Look.

Set in the backdrop of Indiana State, American Crime follows the story of a gruesome murder that the world has seen in real life. A single mother named Gertrude Baniszewski brutally tortured and killed Sylvia Likens. The film’s plot is based on this crime and even contains some disturbing visuals. The star cast of this encompasses Catherine Keener, Elliot Page, and James Franco. 

10. Deranged (1974)

Deranged 1974
Image Credit: American International Pictures.

Inspired by the life of Ed Gein (Roberts Blossom), a notorious serial killer, Deranged is a psychological horror film that should make it to your watchlist. The movie gives insights into some of the most disturbing aspects of Ed’s life, including misogyny and necrophilia.

Additionally, you can also witness what he used to do with the dead bodies, which included building objects with bones and skin while the organs were stored in the fridge to eat later. 

11. The Haunting in Connecticut (2009)

The Haunting in Connecticut 2009
Image Credit: Gold Circle Films.

The Haunting in Connecticut sheds light on the spooky experiences as a couple, Al and Carmen Snedeker, narrate. Apparently, their newly bought house was anything but safe from supernatural elements.

It was then later revealed that the house’s construction over a funeral parlor is the major culprit behind all the unusual things that the couple encountered. Directed by Peter Cornwell, the film stars Kyle Gallner, Amanda Crew, and Virginia Madsen in lead roles. 

12. Winchester (2018)

Winchester 2018
Image Credit: Lionsgate.

Paranormal activities in a San Jose historical landmark shape the plot of Winchester. Known as Winchester Mystery House, Sarah Winchester shifted to this place after the death of her infant daughter and her husband’s unsuccessful fight with tuberculosis.

She began the renovation of the eight-room mansion, which didn’t stop till her death in 1922 due to mysterious reasons. The film stars Helen Mirren, Jason Clark, Sarah Snook, and more. 

13. Stuck (2007)

Stuck 2007
Image Credit: Amicus Entertainment.

In the film Stuck, a night changes the entire lives of two people – a young nursing assistant and a homeless man. Brandi gets involved in a hit-and-run case with the victim getting lodged in her vehicle’s windshield.

Instead of helping him out, she leaves him there until death calls upon him. Upon investigation, she is found guilty and sentenced to 50 years in jail. Mena Suvari plays the role of terrified Brandi Boski, while you can also see Stephen Rea and Russell Hornsby in the supporting cast. 

14. Black Water (2007)

Black Water 2007
Image Credit: AV Pictures.

Inspired by a crocodile attack that occurred back in 2003, Black Water explores a family’s struggles to escape the trap of these deadly animals. The incident happened in mangroves in Northern Australia.

Little did the family know that their vacation, which was supposed to be fun, was going to get ruined by some uninvited creature. You can see footage of real crocodiles in this movie that stars Maeve Dermody, Diana Glenn, and Andy Rodoreda. 

15. The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

The Exorcism of Emily Rose 2005 movies inspired by true events
Image Credit: Screen Gems.

The main character, enacted by Jennifer Carpenter, of The Exorcism of Emily Rose takes inspiration from the life of Anneliese Michel. She went through an exorcism, which led to her death due to dehydration and nutritional deficiency.

Later, the court convicted her family and priests who performed the ritual on charges of negligent homicide. There are several jump scares in the movie, followed by some disturbing graphics. 

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Prom Night 1980
Image Credit: AVCO Embassy Pictures.

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Shirley Temple The Littlest Rebel
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

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Showgirls 1995 kiss
Image Credit: MGM/UA Distribution Co.

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Talk To Me 2022 Sophie Wilde
Image Credit: A24.

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The Haunting 1963
Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

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