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
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.