10 Horror Movies You Didn't Know Were Based On True Stories

A Nightmare On Elm Street just got a bit more real...

Freddy Krueger
New Line

There's something a little twisted about the fact that millions of people around the world genuinely enjoy watching horror movies, which mostly consist of humans dying in painful, grisly ways.

Maybe it's the feeling of knowing that those horrifying onscreen events are fictional - and are unlikely to happen in real life - that keeps the horror entertaining and at an arms length, but then again, a lot of the spooky movies that we watch actually have roots in real-world events, places, and people. So, in certain cases, the scares are a lot closer to home than you might have realised.

There are some well-known examples of this, like The Amityville Horror, The Conjuring, and The Exorcist, but there are a bunch more you might not know about. Many horror movies don't disclose that they're "based on true events", and even when they do, it can be difficult to discern what's fact, and what's fiction.

As a result, it's highly likely that you've seen one of these ten movies without realising that it was at least partly based on something that actually happened.

10. Child's Play

Freddy Krueger

The whole "doll comes to life and kills people" concept of the Child's Play series is obviously not based on fact (we hope), but the general idea of a creepy doll is.

The famous Chucky doll from Child's Play was inspired by Robert the Haunted Doll, an odd-looking creation with a sinister blank stare and a white sailor outfit. Robert - who is now on public display in a Florida museum - used to be owned by a painter named Robert Eugene Otto, and this is where the doll got its name.

The story goes that Otto was given the doll by a female servant who worked for his parents. She felt unfairly treated, so cursed the doll as a way to punish the Otto family. This resulted in Robert doing some very creepy stuff, like blinking, talking, and even moving. When he was locked in the attic, laughter and footsteps could be heard. Otto kept the doll until his death in 1974, at which point it passed to another family, and the terror continued.

Of course, the supernatural parts of this story are (probably?) not true, but the basic idea of a creepy doll who can talk and move was something that Child's Play took its cues from.


Video editor and writer WhatCulture/WhoCulture. Bought a 4K copy of The Martian in 2016 and still haven't watched it.