8 movies based on true events

Sometimes the truth is more horrifying than fiction. Here are 8 of those times.
The 15:17 To Paris

The 15:17 To Paris

The true story of a terrorist, a train and three American heroes. In August 2015 on a high-speed train to Paris (at 15:17), three passengers bravely thwarted a terrorist with an AK-47 and 300 rounds of ammunition and prevented a horrific mass shooting. This alarming incident made headlines around the world and inspired 87-year-old filmmaker, Clint Eastwood to make a movie about it. But Eastwood really pulled out an unconventional move by casting the real young men to play themselves – Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, and Spencer Stone. With no previous acting experience, these childhood friends scored roles of a lifetime and even wider fame. Eastwood explained his decision: “I looked at a lot of very good actors who could possibly have done the job. But I kept looking at the faces of these young men - ‘boys,’ I call them. I thought these faces were unique. It just struck me that it would be an interesting experiment. It could be bold or reckless... Anyway, they were enthusiastic about trying it, so we went with them, and I think people will be a little surprised.”

The Disappointments Room

The Disappointments Room

If someone invites you into their ‘disappointments room’ – RUN! Historically, this was the room - usually in the basement or attic - where families kept a child who had a disability or deformity, so they were hidden from the world and spared the family shame or embarrassment. Hard to believe now that such a thing really existed – but in 1857, it did. The owner of one particular house in Rhode Island was prominent Judge Carpenter and his wife, who never publicly acknowledged having a child. Through a study of records, it was discovered the Carpenter’s did have a child...and the child’s grave was even found, with the inscription: Ruth (1895-1900) Daughter of Job S. & Frances E. Carpenter. The film-makers took the story of the Carpenter’s tragic child and have created a modern horror classic starring Kate Beckinsdale, who realises there is a haunting presence in her new home......and it emanates from the disappointments room.

The Amityville Horror

Amityville Horror
Source: [Metro Goldwyn Mayer]

Is this perhaps the most notorious and terrifying house in movie history?
In the movie, the family that moved into this Amityville house was named Lutz, but the real-life family were called DeFeo - and 6 of them perished there on the night of November 13, 1974. 23 year old eldest son Ronald "Butch" DeFeo Jr shot his parents, two brothers and two sisters while they slept. He testified that he had heard voices telling him to murder his family and his attorney tried to establish an insanity plea. But DeFeo was convicted of six counts of second degree murder and is still serving the six consecutive life sentences he was given. The mystery of why he killed his entire family in cold blood still abounds today.

Wolf Creek

Wolf Creek

Source: [Dimension Films]

That hideous, evil chuckle is forever etched into our memory... but did you realise MickTaylor’s carnage in Wolf Creek is based on true events. There were two recent headline-making cases that gripped Australia with their ferocity and brutality- and these formed the inspiration for the story of the psychopath who trawled the outback for innocent young backpackers. The first was Bradley John Murdoch, who abducted and murdered Peter Falconio and tried to kill his girlfriend Joanne Lees. The second was Australia’s most notorious serial killer Ivan Milat, who turned the Belanglo State Forest into a killing zone. Milat’s heinous hunting down of backpackers formed the core of Mick Taylor’s warped personality and deadly cravings. The Australian outback has never been scarier to tourists since the names Peter Falconio, Ivan Milat and Mick Taylor rose to infamy.

The Conjuring 2

The Conjuring 2

The true story behind The Conjuring 2 was known as ‘The Enfield Poltergeist’ and began on the evening of August 30, 1977 in the modest North London home of Peggy Hodgson. It was on that night that her daughter Janet told her that her brothers' beds were wobbling. The next evening, Mrs. Hodgson heard a loud noise from upstairs. She entered her children's bedroom and saw a chest of drawers moving. She tried to stop the heavy oak chest as it moved toward the door, concluding that an invisible force was trying to trap them in the room. As the strange events worsened, audio recordings were made and they recorded the young daughter Janet talking in the deep, cracked voice of an old man, supposedly former tenant Bill Watkins, who had died in the living room of the house many years earlier. Infamous paranormal researchers Ed and Lorraine Warren were called in to investigate, flying to the UK from their home in America. What confronted them when they arrived at the house forms the basis for The Conjuring 2. Ed Warren stated afterwards:"...inhuman spirit phenomena were in progress. Now, you couldn't record the dangerous, threatening atmosphere inside that little house. But you could film the levitations, teleportations, and dematerialisations of people and objects that were happening there - not to mention the many hundreds of hours of tape recordings made of these spirit voices speaking out loud in the rooms."

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Psycho & The Silence Of the Lambs

Silence of the lambs
Source: [Dimension Films]

No real case has inspired more movies than that of serial killer Ed Gein - including Leather Face in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Norman Bates in Psycho and Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs. Gein is the superstar of serial killers, whose atrocities and depraved acts became worldwide sensations. When police finally entered his remote farm home, what they discovered left them speechless and traumatised for life. Mutilated, gutted bodies, ornaments and chair upholstery made out of human skin, cups made of skulls, necklaces made out of nipples; and most famous of all, a mask made out of a real face. This was worse than any make believe horror story. Bullied by his father, smothered by his mother, taunted by other school kids, Gein grew up isolated and alone, his twisted and depraved acts grew into full blown obsessions the likes of which humanity had never experienced before.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Exorcism of Emily Rose
Source: [Lakeshore Entertainment]

If pictures tell a thousand words...then these pictures tell it all. The real Emily Rose was a 17 year old high school student called Anneliese Michel. In the mid 1970’s, she began to hear voices, suffer from convulsions and experience devilish hallucinations. Anneliese was convinced that she had been possessed by several demons, including Lucifer, Judas Iscariot, Nero, Cain, Hitler, and Fleischmann, a disgraced Frankish Priest from the 16th century. Her parents also bought into the possession claims and gave up on doctors and turned to exorcists to try and cure her. It all went catastrophically wrong and Anneliese died during the exorcisms. Her parents and the two priests treating her were all charged and found guilty of negligent homicide.

The Girl Next Door

Girl Next Door
Source: [Modernciné]

The true story behind The Girl Next Door is truly heart-breaking. In the film, two teenage girls are sent to live with their aunt after the deaths of both their parents. This evil woman holds them captive, beating and torturing them- even letting her own children sexually abuse them. The story on which it is based is equally as upsetting – in the mid 60’s, Sylvia Likens was left to live with a family friend, Gertrude Baniszewski, while her circus performer parents travelled. Gertrude tortured and terrorised Sylvia in a similar way to the events in the film, ultimately leading to Sylvia's brutal death. Prosecutors on the case called it "the most terrible crime ever committed in the state of Indiana."

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