5 Horror Films Based on True Stories

The new sci-fi/horror film PHOENIX FORGOTTEN, is based on the shocking, true events of March 13, 1997, when several mysterious lights appeared over Phoenix, Arizona. This unprecedented and inexplicable phenomenon became known as "The Phoenix Lights", and remains the most famous and widely viewed UFO sighting in history. 

For the release of the film, which tells the story of three teens who went into the desert shortly after the incident, hoping to document the strange events occurring in their town, Shannon has put together a list of genre films based on true events ranging from supernatural occurrences, UFO sightings, and the horrors that human beings are capable of. 

THE AMITYVILLE HORROR

Synopsis: Newlyweds move into a large house where a mass murder was committed, and experience strange manifestations which drive them away. 

The Bloody Truth: You can't have a list without adding one of the most controversial cases of paranormal activity. THE AMITYVILLE HORROR has been plagued with deceit and lies on both sides of the coin. The famed paranormal ghost hunters, The Warrens, still to this day stand strong in their conviction that this house was haunted; whereas, The Lutz family state that the home was never haunted and the whole story was a hoax. Whatever the case may be, the story has become a beast of it's own with books and films detailing the supposed haunting that took place. One fact does ring true though and that's the murders that took place at the hands of mass murderer Ronald DeFeo Jr. The house may not be haunted but it most certainly doesn't have the happiest of vibes there. 

FIRE IN THE SKY

Synopsis: An Arizona logger mysteriously disappears for five days in an alleged encounter with a flying saucer in 1975. 

The Bloody Truth: I still remember to this day seeing this film with my father when I was in 2nd grade - which come to think of it, was a very young age to be seeing a film about aliens. This film is based off of the book of the same name and centers around the alleged true story of Travis Walton's encounter with extraterrestrial beings and his subsequent abduction in 1975. Still to this day this film gives me the chills and though we may never be able to prove if Walton's story is true, it's considered one of the best documented cases of alien abductions.

THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW

Synopsis: An anthropologists goes to Haiti after hearing rumors about a drug used by black magic practitioners to turn people into zombies. 

The Bloody Truth: We have all heard the stories about there possibly being a place in which the dead rise to become zombies. As with a few other films on this list, this movie is based loosely on the non-fiction book of the same name by ethnobotanist Wade Davis who "recounted his experiences in Haiti while investigating the story of Clairvius Narcisse" (Wikipedia). For those who are not familiar with Narcisse story, he was allegedly "poisoned, buried alive, and revived with a herbal brew which produced what was called a zombie" (Wikipedia). 

THE STRANGERS

Synopsis: A young couple staying in an isolated vacation home are terrorized by three unknown assailants. 

The Bloody Truth: THE STRANGERS is a chilling horror film that showcases the terrifying behavior of a killer. When I first watched this film, I never considered that it may be based on true facts, but director Bryan Bertino has stated in interviews that he came up with the concept based on two real life incidents: the Manson family Tate murders and a series of break-ins that occurred in his own neighborhood (Wikipedia). This is one of those films that will stay with you long after you watch it and a film that you do not want to watch alone. 

THE GIRL NEXT DOOR

Synopsis: Based on the Jack Ketchum novel of the same name, THE GIRL NEXT DOOR follows the unspeakable torture and abuses committed on a teenage girl in the care of her aunt... and the boys who witness and fail to report the crime. 

The Bloody Truth: I'll be honest, I haven't seen the movie, but I did read the book and I was so disgusted and appalled by what I read I couldn't even convince myself to try to watch the movie. That's not to say the book is bad, it's written well with cold precision but the true accounts of this young girls torture and abuse left me absolutely destroyed. This is one of the few books that has gotten under my skin in such a way that I can never read it again. The book, though not entirely accurate, is based loosely on the murder of Sylvia Likens in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1965, and if the book is even a small percentage of the truth, than I can't even imagine the horrors that Sylvia must have faced. 

Devastatingly Yours,
Shannon M.

PHOENIX FORGOTTEN is now out in select theaters