Movies so often blur the line between truth and fiction. Even those films based on real life events or people typically skew the reality in favor of entertainment value or sentimentality. More often than not, when a movie is based on a true story, the producers and advertisers clearly let you know that fact – plastering it on posters and incessantly repeating it trailers. This is not always the case when just a character from the film is based on real person, but the plot is not based strictly on real events.

So here is a list of 9 famous movie characters you might not have known were based on real people.

9. Norman Bates (Psycho) / Leatherface (Texas Chain Saw Massacre) / Buffalo Bill (Silence of the Lambs)

Norman Bates. Leatherface. Buffalo Bill. You likely recognize these names and faces from your favorite films and most disturbing nightmares. Another name you may recognize is Ed Gein, a notorious real life monster much more deserving of your nightmares. But did you know that all three famous movie monsters were based (at least in part) on the infamous Wisconsin serial killer?

Like Hitchock’s most famously demented mama’s boy, Norman Bates, Ed Gein also had a disturbingly close relationship with his strict, religious mother, whose death pushed him over the edge toward killer. Next up, everyone’s favorite inbred cannibal murderer – Leatherface, whose face mask made out of human skin was based on Gein’s own collection of body parts and skin masks. And finally, Gein’s predilection for skin human suits were also the basis for Jame Gumb aka Buffalo Bill, the serial killer being hunted in Silence of the Lambs.

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This article was first posted on October 26, 2012