Top Horror Movies Based On Real Events

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What makes a horror movie great? Unstoppable killers? Implacable zombies? Or could it be the scariest movies are those that could be...might be...perhaps even were...true?

Decider has put together a list of the 11 Scariest Movies Based on True Events - so pick out one or two and have a little film festival tonight. But remember to lock the doors.

The list probably contains some movies you are hearing about for the first time - but watch a few of these and you'll be peering at your neighbors from behind your blinds - and you might see them peering right back at you. Happy Halloween!

  • 1. "Psycho" - perhaps considered the forefather of the slasher genre, this Alfred Hitchcock classic is based (to some extent) on the true-life tale of serial killer Ed Gein.
  • 2. "The Exorcist" - one of the first movies famed for having people fainting in theaters, the movie - based on the William Peter Blatty novel - made pea soup more than just something to eat on a cold winter's day. The novel on which the movie was based took its inspiration from a series of exorcisms performed in Washington DC in the 1940's. 
  • 3. "The Silence Of The Lambs" - where the monsters could conceivably live next door. We all remember Anthony Hopkins' Hannibal Lecter, but the real villain here is "Buffalo Bill" - based on an amalgam of six different real-life serial killers. 
  • 4. "Scream" - surprised this one's on the list? The movie - that started a huge horror franchise and was based on making a little scary fun of common scary movie tropes - is actually based in part on the real-life "Gainesville Ripper", who killed five college students.
  • 5. "The Conjuring" - by now any self-respecting horror movie fan knows of Ed and Lorrain Warren - the real-life ghostbusters who influenced the "Amityville Horror" franchise, and who have soared to new levels of fame since "The Conjuring" and its many spin-offs. But this one was the launching pad for the Warrens in the 21st century
  • 6. "The Strangers" - home invasion at its most terrifying. Based at least thematically on the Charles Manson murders
  • 7. "The Amityville Horror" - previously mentioned due to the influence of Ed and Lorraine Warren, the novel and movie franchise is based on an early 1970's murder house on Long Island - and what is purported to have happened there before, during and after the murders.
  • 8. "The Sacrament" - not as famous as other movies on this list, this one is based on the true-life events that led up to the Jonestown Massacre in the late 70's
  • 9. "The Snowtown Murders" - not as well known in the States as it is based on the true story of a series of Australian murders that ultimately claimed twelve lives.
  • 10. "Compliance" - Ever hear of the Milgram Experiments? They were held to figure out why average Germans carried out Nazi atrocities in the name of simply "following orders". This movie is based on more recent events where a simple anonymous voice on the phone convinced people to do terrible things. 
  • 11. "Nothing Bad Can Happen" - Based on a true story out of Germany, a young boy meets up with - and moves in with - a fanatical religious family who begin testing his new "faith" with increasing levels of torture. 

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