13 Terrifying True Stories Behind Hollywood’s Scariest Horror Movies

Published August 26, 2022
Updated March 12, 2024

These myths and horror movies based on true stories feature paranormal spirits, demons, and tales of brutal murders, and while every single one is undoubtedly terrifying, they're also all very real.

Horror Movies Based On True Stories

Getty ImagesEdward Theodore Gein, the inspiration for Leatherface, Buffalo Bill, and more.

They say the truth is stranger than fiction and nothing illustrates that better than these 13 terrifying myths and horror movies based on true stories.

Horror movies are all inherently scary, but the ones that feature the cryptic “based on a true story” tagline seem to incite a deeper kind of fear in people. The idea that the sociopathic serial killer rampaging on-screen is borne out of true events is enough to paralyze even the most seasoned horror flick fan with terror.

With that said, check out these myths and horror movies based on true stories… if you dare.

Scary Movies Based On True Stories: The Conjuring

Photo Of The Perron House

YouTubeAllegedly, this is the oldest known photo of the Perron house, which was taken many years before the family moved in.

The real-life hauntings that inspired 2013’s The Conjuring¬†and 2015’s The Conjuring 2 are so terrifying that it seems like only Hollywood writers could have created them, and indeed, we may wish that was the case, but it isn’t.

The film franchise is based on the horrifying true experiences of Ed and Lorraine Warren. Ed was a self-proclaimed demonologist and his wife, Lorraine, claimed to be a medium who could communicate with the demons that her husband located. Indeed, many horror movies based on true stories that will appear in this list are thanks to the Warrens.

The couple gained a pretty robust clientele after they established the New England Society for Psychic Research in 1952. In fact, one of their most famous cases of demonic possessions became the basis for the 2013 film.


When the Perron family moved into a 14-room farmhouse in Rhode Island in January 1971, they began to notice strange things right off the bat. There would be mysterious noises, odd smells, and missing objects, and the family didn’t really think anything of it until they learned of the house’s history.

Allegedly, the house had been in the same family for eight generations and a great number of them died under suspicious circumstances. One of the most horrible spirits, Bathsheba, was depicted in the film. It turns out that she was a real person and Satanist who lived on the property in the mid-1800s.

Perron House

YouTubeThe Perron House.

The Perron family believed that the spirit of Bathsheba tormented their family. Over a decade-long period, the Warrens visited the home multiple times. But during one seance performed by Lorraine, the Perron children’s mother, Carolyn, became possessed. She rose from the ground and spoke in a demonic voice and tongue.

The family reportedly remained in the house despite these hauntings until the 80s. Once they moved, the possessions and strange goings-on ended.

The Warren’s had a similar experience with the Hodgson family in England in the late 1970s. These visits provided further inspiration for The Conjuring franchise’s second film.

The family reported that their furniture was inexplicably moved without being touched, that objects flew around the room of their volition, and that odd noises would sound throughout the home. The hauntings spontaneously ended just two years after they had begun and the family had no explanation for this.

Caroline Redmond
Caroline is a writer living in New York City who holds a Bachelor's in science from the University of Florida. Her work has appeared in People, Yahoo, Bustle, Entertainment Weekly, and The Boston Herald.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
Cite This Article
Redmond, Caroline. "13 Terrifying True Stories Behind Hollywood’s Scariest Horror Movies." AllThatsInteresting.com, August 26, 2022, https://allthatsinteresting.com/horror-movies-based-on-true-stories. Accessed April 19, 2024.