I despise True Story Horror Movies that end up being 90% B.S. Or in the case of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre pretty much near 100% crap. Don’t get me wrong I like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre but saying it is based on a true story is like saying The Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny is real.
Sorry if I crushed anyone telling you The Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy are not real. So since I truly love true story horror movies I wanted to take a minute to share 7 Actual True Story Horror Movies that are truly fantastic and should be on all of your lists of films to watch.
This movie is VERY barely a true story but it makes the list since so many think its based entirely in truth. The film is based on the abduction of British Tourist Peter Falconio and the attack on his girlfriend Joanne Less in July 2001 by Bradley John Murdoch. This film was being released while the trial was going on so the courts filed an injunction to prevent it swaying the outcome.
Those who have seen Wolf Creek and know the story should recognize that this movie is more based on the Australian Backpack murders by Ivan Milat then the single murder by Peter Falconio. John Jarratt who plays the killer in Wolf Creek went to great extremes to get inside the head and become Ivan Milat the backpack killer. It worked because he was scary as hell in Wolf Creek!
Open Water was released in 2003 and was based on Tom and Eileen Lonergan an American Couple who were stranded in 1998 after going scuba diving. They were accidentally left behind by the boat crew who did not do a proper head count and found themselves stranded in open water with the lion of the seas… sharks. Made for $130,000 it went on to gross $55million dollars and is a great film for fans afraid of the water.
The Girl Next Door
The Girl Next Door tells the story of a girl who is kidnapped by her neighbor, tortured, raped and mutilated in the basement by the local neighborhood kids. Jack Ketchum’s dark and disturbing movie is so surreal and violent that it actually made my stomach turn.
What is even scarier is when you look up the case files of the actual crime you will find that Jack Ketchum’s telling of the tale was no stretch of imagination. The Girl Next Door is sadistic, disturbing and will have you locking your kids up if you have any. Without question one of the best real-horror movies I have seen in my entire life.
Worth noting their is another version of this film called An American Crime which stars Ellen Page but I for one think The Girl Next Door is not only a better film its also much more disturbing. An American Crime had a more well known cast but its not nearly as good as the film based on Jack Ketchum’s book.
The Zodiac killer was never caught and the true story thriller starring Robert Downey Junior is one of the best crime-thriller movies made in years. Touting a fantastic cast and a script true to the actual events the movie is riveting, creepy and although by no means true ‘horror’ it will give you the willies.
The big draw for ZODIAC for me was definitely the collectors edition DVD which included interviews with the only survivors as well as the police officers who investigated the crimes, including the first one. The film is a masterpiece of suspense and storytelling and the only thing that makes me feel warm and fuzzy about this killer is that if he is still alive he is to old to really harm me now.
I am pretty sure I could take him since he is likely 80+ years old. That’s not saying I will want to try though. I will keep my manly gestures on this blog and nowhere else. ( Here is hoping the Zodiac is not reading )
This one is another new one and its by no means a masterpiece but the fact it’s based off the sadistic real life killing of the Mexican Drug Lords makes it a favorite of mine.
The Mexican Cartels tapped a man to be their enforcer and he also had a satanic site and took to ritually killing hundreds of people and torturing them in all kinds of sadistic and disgusting ways. This story hit the news in a big kind of way when Mexican Authorities and DEA agents found a farm that was used by then leader of the ‘cult’ to torture, dismember and commit sadistic ritual killings.
The only good news is this killer wont be able to get you since he died in a massive hail of bullets at the hands of Mexican Special Police. Borderland is well shot, with a fascinating story that mixes a fair bit of fiction around a group of young adults who encounter the cult but also just enough real facts to make it a really creepy and entertaining tale.
Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer
This movie is by no means one of my top films but I put it on this list for being very real in its style of film making and extremely gritty. It tells the story of two killers who worked in tandem to murder people.
The real life killer Henry Lee Lucas went on to confess to over 600 murders but it is widely believed those confessions were done for no other reason then to get him better privileges in jail.
As well while he was confessing the police flew him around the United States to participate in the investigations and he was treated like a celebrity. Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer is very dark and very surreal and a disturbing film based on a true story although it’s still a mystery just how many people Henry Lee Lucas really did kill.
There have been so many tellings of the story of Jack The Ripper it’s almost become its own sub genre in horror. Most of them are mystical with supernatural twists but From Hell is the first one I have watched that matched great story telling with actual facts to try to tell the actual story of Jack the Ripper through the eyes of one of the investigators played by Johnny Depp.
The film is to the point, violent and visually impressive as it takes you through the actual murders. This film much like the other Ripper tellings has its fair share of fiction mixed into it but this one at least goes through the actual crimes and tries to tell it from a straight up angle without the need for ghosts and goblins.
Great film, great storytelling and all around an awesome tale.
So those are 7 of my favorite True Story Horror Movies that actually contain more fact than fiction which leads me to, what are yours? Sound off in the comments with your own favorites and more importantly why.
I also encourage you to read CaptHowdy’s fantastic editorial on True Story Horror Movies, How True Are they?