Since the dawn of cinema an accusatory finger has been pointed at the movies by self-appointed moral guardians of society who see them as the root cause of humankind’s woes, from the racier films of Pre-Code era Hollywood to the so-called video nasties of the 1980s.
Movies of a more violent nature are often scapegoated as the trigger behind many a real-life crime and unsurprisingly horror films – which are often graphic and gory and sprinkled with gruesome deaths – come under fire on a regular basis, especially when the crime in question is brutal.
The old ‘movies made me do it’ argument is kind of problematic though. When a perpetrator of a crime claims a fictional film or character motivated them, or society whips itself into a moral panic and declares a movie is to blame, they’re neglecting the many more contributing factors at play. Besides, if horror movies cause real-life violent crimes a lot more of us would be locked away.
As any diehard horror fan will tell you, it’s perfectly possible to enjoy a gory movie without resorting to bloody murder. Nevertheless, the following movies became the fall guy in a number of brutal crimes. Whether they were appropriated as no more than a feeble excuse or life really does imitate art is up to you.