Based on a true story

by Shyanne Dove

Based on a true story. Those five words and seventeen letters change a regular horror movie into something much more. The wonder of a horror movie based on real events cause the hair on peoples’ necks to prick up. Surprisingly enough, a number of movies link to events in someone’s real life nightmare.

Older movies like, A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), a film about American teenagers haunted through their dreams by a ghost with knives as fingers based its premise on people in the early 1980s who died of night terrors. Ravenous (1999), a movie about cannibalism during the 19th century, traced its origins back to Alfred Packer’s trial in 1874. Sentenced to 40 years behind bars, he went by the name Big Headed Cannibal. The movie The Zodiac Killer (1971), linked a serial killer to many murders of certain victims due to their birth months.

Newer movie releases present scarier real life horror stories, such as Stuck (2007), where a nursing home worker hits a man with her car. Instead of killing him, the woman leaves him badly injured and wedged in her windscreen, leaving him in the garage. In Monster (2003), a woman from Florida named Aileen Wuornosrom faced the death sentence for murdering six men during the 80s and 90s. The story based on Wuornosrom’s confession and her explicit details of the murders she described makes jaws drop. In Hard Candy(2006), a sinister, middle-aged man falls prey to his “prey” in this horror-thriller mash when he meets a young girl that brings quite the plot twist. The movie producer tied this film back to Japanese girls who lured businessmen into traps where they met their demise.

As terrifying as those stories seem, not all films provide enough evidence to be considered based on a true story. The Conjuring (2013) and Poltergeist (1982) rely on eyewitness accounts and provide little or no physical evidence to support a claim of truth.

Movies based on a true story definitely become more terrifying than entirely fictional tales. Whether haunted by a ghost or some other psycho chasing around prey, movies from true events get the watchers thinking, and sometimes that remains scarier than the movie itself.