Most good horror movies can give us a real adrenaline rush, and there are some that are so scary, they can even make us want to sleep with the lights on.

We can cope with the twisted and uneasy world of horror flicks by reassuring ourselves that all of the stories are fictional and that those horrible events never really happened.

But, have you ever considered that some of your favorite horror movies might actually be based on stories from real life? Here are some classic horror movies that were inspired by terrifying events in real life.

7Was Freddy Kruger Real?



The original ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ was released in 1984 and it was created by horror mastermind Wes Craven. It has since become a famous franchise with nine movies as well as novels and comic books. ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ is centered around Freddy Kruger, one of the most iconic horror movie characters, who executes his revenge by murdering people in their dreams.

Craven revealed that the story draws its inspiration from a rather bizarre and mysterious phenomenon. Namely, the story was inspired by a family from Cambodia, and when the family moved to the US, their son started to experience some disturbing nightmares.

According to Craven, the boy was unable to sleep because something chased him in his dreams. One day, the boy managed to fall asleep, but his parents were woken up by loud screams and saw that their son was dead.

It’s said that the boy died while having a nightmare. This phenomenon has also happened many times in the 1980s, and it was documented that 104 male refugees and immigrants have passed away in their sleep from mysterious causes.



Jigsaw is definitely one of the most twisted characters in horror movie history who uses a variety of deranged methods to test his victims and see how far they are willing to go to injure others in order to escape with their lives.

Could something so twisted happen in real life? Well, a couple of years before the release of ‘Saw,’ a serial killer was on the loose in New Mexico. David Parker Ray got the nickname ‘Toy-Box Killer’ because he would abduct his victims and lock them in a mobile home, which he named his ‘toy box.’

Parker would then torture his victims in cruel ways using various tools and objects in the ‘toy box’ and would film the entire act. In the end, Parker was caught when a female victim managed to escape and was sentenced to 224 years in prison.

Even though the ‘Saw’ creators never cited Parker’s story as their inspiration, there are some eerie similarities between Jigsaw and Parker.

5The Hills Have Eyes



This terrifying film was another one of Wes Craven’s most famous movies, and it was about a family on vacation that gets stuck in Nevada and runs into a family of cannibals.

Craven’s inspiration for this flick was the notorious Bean family, a clan of cannibals in Scotland which existed in the 13th century and was led by Sawney Bean. The Bean family lived in a cave for many years, and according to historical estimates, they killed and consumed around 1,000 people.

4The Real Hannibal Lecter



The inspiration behind this gruesome character was not revealed until ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ celebrated it’s 25th anniversary. Thomas Harris, the writer of the original novels that featured Hannibal Lecter, revealed that the famous character was inspired by a real murderer.

Back in the 1960s, Harris was working on a new story, and he visited a prisoner named Alfredo Treviño, who was a doctor, just like Hannibal. Treviño had an argument with his boyfriend after which he murdered and buried him.

He used surgical methods to separate his victim’s body parts, and his methods and attitude were the inspiration behind Hannibal.

3Child`s Play


This horror classic is mostly remembered for making all of us feel absolutely terrified of toy dolls. Many years before the release of this movie, Robert Otto claimed that his childhood nurse used voodoo to curse his doll and that the doll started to torment him.

Otto said that the possessed doll would move and talk to him. When Otto passed away in the 1970s, the doll stayed behind in his home after it was sold and the family that moved in also claimed that the doll was possessed. Today, the doll that inspired Chucky can be found at a museum in Key West, Florida.

2The Exorcist


Considered among the best horror films, the inspiration behind the plot of this movie came from a newspaper article published in 1949 which told the story of priests that performed an exorcism in real life.

The priests claimed they saw a boy in Maryland who was hovering, talking in a weird language and was able to make other objects fly.

The boy was only mentioned under an alias ‘Roland Doe,’ and the exorcism was officially sanctioned by the Catholic Church after it was concluded that the boy was possessed. After nine priests tried more than thirty different attempts to get rid of the evil spirit, the exorcism was successful.

1The Amityville Horror


Fans of haunted houses will know that the story behind one of the most famous ghost movies is based on a real family who moved into a new house in Amityville, New York.

A year before the Lutz family moved in, six people were killed inside the house. The Lutz family experienced many strange things in the house such as cold spots, flies in winter, slamming doors, hoof prints, weird noises and even green colored slime.

The family tried various things to get rid of the supernatural presence in the house, such as hanging crucifixes and trying to bless the home but after it was ineffective, they left the home and never returned.