July 29, 2020

Sessions of exorcism, serial maniacs, and ghosts hit the screens of movie theatres from real life.

Horror films based on real events are of particular interest to viewers. Some shrug their shoulders, call everything a fiction, or a fairy tale; others believe in the authenticity of events. The directors take advantage of this. Although they often take stories from life, they add a lot from themselves to catch up with more horror.

We have collected 22 horror films, which is based on real events or famous urban legends.

About exorcism

The exorcist

  • USA, 1973.
  • The horrors.
  • Duration: 122 minutes.
  • IMDb: 8.

Regan, the 12-year-old daughter of the actress, begins behaving strangely. She has unreasonable seizures and a gentle, childish voice that sometimes turns into a severe male bass. Objects fly around the room; the bed shakes, people around die. There is no medical reason for Regan’s behaviour, nor is there a logical explanation for the events. It seems that going to the church and performing the exorcism is the last chance to save the child.

“The Exorcist” of 1973 is based on the novel of the same name, which is based on a real story. At the end of the 40s, reports from anonymous sources appeared in newspapers. They wrote that they had witnessed an exorcism session on a boy under the pseudonym Roland Doe (or Robbie Mannheim). The priests conducting the rite claimed that the boy’s bed was shaking. Objects were flying through the air, and the child himself spoke in an inhuman voice. Sessions were held in the hospital with the permission of the church. But the doctors were sure that Roland was simply mentally ill.

Now films about exorcism have taken their place in the horror genre, but then the movie made a splash. The story of a demon-possessed child was called the scariest movie of its time. Also, people fainted after watching. The picture received four Golden Globes, four Saturns, and was nominated for an Oscar in 10 categories. However, it was awarded only two statuettes.

The exorcism of Emily Rose

  • USA 2005
  • Drama, horror.
  • Duration: 122 minutes.
  • IMDb: 6.7.

The priest tries to prove that he is not guilty of the death of Emily, who died during an exorcism. He recalls the events of those days in detail. He tells the judge and the jury about the strange behaviour of the girl. But doctors are sure that Emily was sick with epilepsy, and not possessed. They were sure that she died due to the negligence of a church minister, in 1976. Annelise Michel died after a series of exorcisms. The girl was diagnosed with epilepsy and symptoms of a mental disorder. But she and her family were convinced of the demonic possession. Annelise did not speak different languages ​​with her voice. She could not touch the crucifix and called herself the names of various demons. As a result, the priest was accused of causing death by negligence. And the parents were charged with criminal inaction. The court found all guilty.

The rite

  • USA, Hungary, Italy, 2011.
  • Drama, horror, mysticism.
  • Duration: 114 minutes.
  • IMDb: 6.

Theological seminary graduate Michael Kovak has lost his faith and is going to renounce his earlier vows. But the abbot is confident that the young man needs to undergo exorcism training. It is necessary to train in the Vatican before jumping to conclusions. Michael agrees and travels to Rome, where he meets his father Lucas Trevent – an experienced exorcist.

The film with Anthony Hopkins in the title role was shot based on the work of Matt Beglio “Rite.” Based on a true story, the book tells the story of a young priest. He is one disbelieving priest from the United States who went to Rome to study exorcism.

Deliver Us from Evil

  • USA 2014
  • Horror, mysticism, thriller.
  • Duration: 118 minutes.
  • IMDb: 6.2.

A sceptical New York police officer seeks help from a priest to solve mystical crimes and conduct an exorcism.

The mystical thriller is based on the biopic “Beware of the night” by former New York police officer Ralph Sarchi. The author talks about supernatural and demonic situations. According to him, he had to deal with those on duty.

About Maniacs


  • USA, 1960.
  • Horror, mysticism, thriller.
  • Duration: 109 minutes.
  • IMDb: 8.5.

A woman steals a large sum of money from an employer and hurries away from the city. She stops to spend the night at a motel. The owner of the motel is a young and handsome man named Norman Bates. But he is not at all what he seems.

The legendary horror film Alfred Hitchcock is familiar to the fans of this genre. But also, motion pictures have become a cult and has not lost its charm these days. The prototype of the main antagonist of Norman Bates was the famous American serial killer Edward Gin. He had a cruel mother. Still, he loved her very much despite everything. Gin was mentally ill. He dug up old graves and took the remains to his home. He even sewed a suit out of women’s skin. He was later accused of the brutal murder of several women. The maniac was then recognized as insane and spent the rest of his life in a psychiatric hospital.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

  • USA, 1974.
  • The horrors.
  • Duration: 83 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7.5.

Sally, with her brother, and friends go to a remote cemetery to check grandfather’s grave: vandals are operating in Texas. At the same time, the company visits the farm and accidentally meets its neighbours. From an eerie family in the neighbourhood, goosebumps run, and fear is well-founded.

This is the story of a maniac, nicknamed Leatherface, who kills people with a chainsaw. It has continued and expanded into a series of eight separate films. The director of the original motion picture Tobe Hooper took the case of Edward Gene, who became the prototype of Leather-Face. Yes, this is the same criminal whose image formed the basis of the character Norman Bates from “Psycho.” True, Gin committed the killings in Wisconsin, not Texas.

There are eight feature films about the Texas maniac Leather Face.

The Town That Dreaded Sundown

  • USA, 1976
  • Crime, drama, horrors.
  • Duration: 90 minutes.
  • IMDb: 6.1.

In a small American town at night, a maniac attacks a couple of lovers. The victims managed to escape, but now the city is in a panic. No one is used to it; people are afraid and waiting for a new assassin attack. After a few weeks, this happens: under the same circumstances, the lovers are found dead.

The plot of the film was based on the real story of a maniac. He is nicknamed Phantom, whose identity was not disclosed. He operated in Texas in 1946 and sowed panic among the residents of the small town. He is credited with eight attacks, all of which took place on weekends.

Eaten alive

  • USA, 1976
  • Horror, thriller.
  • Duration: 91 minutes.
  • IMDb: 5.5.

There is an old hotel next to the Louisiana swamps. The owner of the institution named Judd got himself an unusual pet. A crocodile who lives behind the hotel. Guests who violate the rules do not pay a fine. They go to feed a bloodthirsty reptile.

Here is another Tobe Hooper’s film based on the story of a real maniac. Joe Ball was a serial killer in the 1930s, nicknamed Bluebeard from South Texas. He owned a bar that had an alligator pond. According to legend, Ball fed the corpses of victims to his pets, although this has not been proven.

The Hills Have Eyes

  • USA 1977
  • Horror, thriller.
  • Duration: 89 minutes.
  • IMDb: 6.4.

The Carter family travels across the country to California in an RV. They’re out of luck: The Carters have an accident in the war zone. There are kilometres of desert around with nowhere to wait for help. In addition to this, a family of cavemen began to hunt them.

The plot of the film by Wes Craven is inspired by the story of Alexander Bean and his family. He lived in Scotland in the 15th century. According to legend, the Bean family and their clan were cannibal killers. However, there is no reliable historical information on this matter. Nevertheless, the story is famous in British folklore.

From Hell

  • USA, 2001.
  • Horror, mysticism, thriller.
  • Duration: 122 minutes.
  • IMDb: 6.8.

The mysterious killer Jack the Ripper plunged England into fear. Police inspector Fred Abberline must find him and restore peace to the British. He is trying to solve the mystery, but it is not that easy. Abberline suspects that the serial killer is the fruit of a conspiracy between the Order of Masons and the Royal House.

The maniac, nicknamed Jack the Ripper, killed prostitutes from the slums of London in late 1888. Not a single person knows his identity. He monstrously killed women, carefully removing the internal organs of the victims. He was credited with in-depth knowledge in the field of surgery about this.

Wolf creek

  • Australia, 2005.
  • Horror, thriller.
  • Duration: 99 minutes.
  • IMDb: 6.3.

Students travel to Australia to find a meteorite crater. This is a mystical and mysterious place full of secrets. And now a company of friends is at the very epicentre of events.

The plot was based on the story of the Australian maniac Ivan Milat, who was killing tourists. He was caught and sentenced to life for his crimes.

The Girl Next Door

  • USA 2007
  • Crime, drama, horrors.
  • Duration: 91 minutes.
  • IMDb: 6.7.

Megan and her sister Susan after the death of their parents, live in the house of the Chandler family. Their Aunt Ruth has three sons, but her mother is not the best. The woman was cruel to the girls: beaten, tormented, and humiliated.

The film is based on the novel of the same name by Jack Ketchum, based on a true story. Sylvia Likens from Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, died at the age of 16. The incident happened just after the torture of Gertrude Baniszewski, who was left in the care of the girl, her children and neighbours’ boys.

In the same year, another film was released based on the tragic story of young Sylvia, “American Crime.”


  • USA, Mexico, 2007.
  • Crime, horror, thriller.
  • Duration: 105 minutes.
  • IMDb: 5.6.

Students go on a trip to Mexico. They hope to relax and have some fun. But the adventure turns into hell. Students are captured by drug lords who are members of the satanic cult.

The film is based on a real story. It is about the murder of a teenager by the drug lord Satanist and other cult members in 1989 in Mexico City.

About ghosts, ominous houses and curses

The Amityville horror

  • USA 1979
  • The horrors.
  • Duration: 119 minutes.
  • IMDb: 6.2.

A family with three children buys a luxury home at a very competitive price. They still do not know that past owners have died a terrible death within these walls. New guests fall into the trap of the home and become witnesses of inexplicable and horrific events.

The film is based on the novel of the same name by Jay Anson, based on a real story. Ronald DeFeo Jr. killed his parents, two brothers, and two sisters while they were sleeping. The motives were not visible. Later, the Lutz family settled in the house, but they did not live there for a long time. They were throwing all their belongings. The owners ran away from home. Shortly they were threatened by strange voices, sounds, and smells at night, as well as inexplicable mystical phenomena.

In 2005, a remake of the film was filmed. And in 2017, the story of the sinister house was reinterpreted.

The Entity

  • USA, 1982.
  • Biography, drama, horrors.
  • Duration: 125 minutes.
  • IMDb: 6.6.

Karla Moran was the victim of an invisible creature. She was raped and beaten when a woman was defenceless. Karla wants to understand what happened and seeks help from a specialist – a parapsychologist.

The film is based on the book of the same name by Frank de Felitta. It was inspired by the story of Doris Beaser from Los Angeles, California. In 1974, Doris claimed that the ghosts of three men raped her.

A nightmare on elm street

  • USA, 1984.
  • The horrors.
  • Duration: 92 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7.5.

Students from the same school have the same nightmares—a creepy man in a striped sweater with a burnt face and a five-blade glove. The name of this nightmare is Freddy Krueger. Freddy returned to take revenge. He kills victims in their sleep, but here’s the problem: all those who died in their sleep were dead for real.

The director of the legendary horror Wes Craven was inspired by the story he read about in the Los Angeles Times. The article talked about a family that fled from Cambodia to the United States. Terrible nightmares tormented the young son. He was afraid to sleep and tried to stay awake all the time. Once, when the boy did fall asleep, his parents heard screams in the middle of the night. They ran into the room and found their son dead. He passed away during a nightmare.

The story about the maniac Freddy Krueger continued and grew into a franchise of nine films.

Child’s play

  • USA 1988
  • Horror, thriller.
  • Duration: 87 minutes.
  • IMDb: 6.6.

Little boy Andy Barclay is sure that his doll is alive. And this is true: the evil spirit of the killer infused a harmless toy. No one believes the child, of course, and the doll continues to kill.

At the beginning of the 20th century, little Robert Eugene Otto was given a doll, which he named after himself. He was inseparable from the new toy, but his parents were worried. They heard that two different voices came from the room where their son was playing with the doll. Someone even claimed that the doll is moving. The toy gave rise to many urban legends and now flaunts on a shelf in a museum in Florida.

The Mothman prophecies

  • USA, 2002.
  • Drama, horror, mysticism.
  • Duration: 119 minutes.
  • IMDb: 6.5.

Journalist John Cline lost his wife two years ago. Before her death, she told him about a strange creature. But they did not believe her. The woman was diagnosed with a brain tumour that caused death. By the will of fate, John ends up in the small town of Point Pleasant. He learns about a strange creature that lives in the vicinity. It turns out that it is very similar to the one with which his wife was obsessed.

This mysterious story was born in 1966 in the town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, USA. Many people claimed to have seen a strange creature the size of a man with wings and glowing red eyes. This was widely reported in the press. In 1975 the American journalist John Kiel who is famous for his theories of UFOs wrote a book. It was about a moth-man that was an inspiration to make the film.

An American Haunting

  • UK, Canada, Romania, USA, 2005.
  • Drama, horror.
  • Duration: 83 minutes.
  • IMDb: 5.

The Bell family is respected in society, but they still have ill-wishers. A curse was sent to her, and the evil spirit will not leave until it kills one of the Bells.

The Bell family lived on a farm in Tennessee in the 19th century and were quite wealthy. In 1818, the head of the family, John Bell, began to see images. Those were not real. Strange things started to happen in the house, and creepy sounds appeared. For a whole year, the family suffered from ghost attacks until John died. No one knows who caused it, till the end it remains a mystery.

The haunting in Connecticut

  • USA, Canada, 2009.
  • Drama, horror, mysticism.
  • Duration: 102 minutes.
  • IMDb: 5.9.

The family moves to a new home, closer to the clinic, where his son is getting treatment for cancer. The house has terrible secrets and is full of ghosts.

The plot of the film is inspired by the history of the real-life Snedeker family. In 1986, the family settled in a house in Connecticut that’s closer to the hospital of their child’s treatment. It turned out that the house used to be a funeral home. When the Snedekers found out about this, they began to notice strange and creepy things.

But in the film, of course, everything is greatly exaggerated. And there is no evidence of evil spirits in the house, except for the words of family members.

The conjuring

  • USA, 2013.
  • Horror, mysticism, thriller.
  • Duration: 112 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7.5.

Ed and Lorraine Warren are doing paranormal investigations. They were approached by the family that became the object of the torment of the evil spirit. The couple must defeat the demon and save the family.

The Warren film series is based on true stories. Ed and Lorraine have indeed been investigating paranormal events since the 1950s. The house from The Amityville Horror, the Annabelle doll, the nun from Borley Church, and many, many others. However, sceptics are confident that the results of Warren’s research are not credible.

Winchester: The House that Ghosts Built

  • Australia, USA, 2018.
  • Biography, fantasy, horror.
  • Duration: 99 minutes.
  • IMDb: 5.4.

The heiress of the arms company Sarah Winchester lives in a luxurious mansion with quirky architecture. Inside of the house looks like a labyrinth, but the hostess occasionally rebuilds something and erects new walls. There are reasons for everything. This is how Sarah tries to trap the ghosts, eager to kill the Winchester family.

The picture is based on the real story of the widow of Oliver Winchester’s son, the inventor of the famous rifle. The landlady rebuilt her mansion many times after consulting with a medium. The ghosts got lost and could not find her. Were there ghosts? There is no genuine evidence for any of the conclusions. 

The legendary house is located in San Jose, California, USA, and to this day attracts tourists and nerve-ticklers.

You can also read: