Sometimes real life can be more impressive than any Hollywood blockbuster, and the same goes for thrillers — scriptwriters often find inspiration in events that actually happened. Who could ever imagine that Bubba Sawyer from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was a real historical character? Or that Ghostbusters actually live among us as a family couple instead of a group of brave guys?
Bright Side wants to share some terrifying stories with you that provide the basis for many films.
12. Tanacu Exorcism — The Nun
The real event: In 2005, a priest at the Romanian Orthodox Church Monastery of Tanacu in Romania named Daniel Petre Corogeanu killed a young parishioner. The priest believed that the woman was possessed by Satan because she behaved strangely sometimes: she laughed and screamed out of place. That’s why he and some other nuns at the monastery decided that an exorcism was necessary, but sadly the woman didn’t survive it. The victim, Maricica Irina Cornici, was suffering from schizophrenia. The priest and the nuns were found guilty and imprisoned for a long time but they didn’t admit their guilt.
The movie: It takes place in Romania, 1952. In a forgotten abbey one nun goes missing, while the other one commits suicide. The Vatican sends a priest and a young nun to investigate the case. But an awakened demon is waiting for them and they’re forced to fight it.
11. The Gainesville Ripper — Scream 2
The real event: A series of cruel murders took place in 1990 in the USA. 5 students were murdered in a college dormitory in Gainesville, Florida. The police couldn’t catch the killer for a long time since he was so clever and very cruel. However, a year later the police managed to find him: an unremarkable waiter named Daniel Harold Rolling. He was sentenced to the death penalty despite suffering from a psychological disorder.
The movie: A young woman and her classmates become victims of a mysterious murderer who wears a mask. The murderer manages to avoid the police and terrorizes the victims.
10. The “charismatic killer” — Silence of the Lambs
The real event: Ted Bundy got the nickname, “charming killer” because he managed to charm his victims. He is one of the most famous serial killers in the USA. Bundy would meet women in public places, imitating an injury or introducing himself as a representative of a governmental service.
Bundy was very quirky. The police arrested him several times but he managed to prove his innocence and would commit new crimes. He even got married between court trials and had a daughter. The killer loved giving interviews and enjoyed fame. However, despite all his attempts, he was sentenced to the death penalty. Approximately 30 people became his victims.
The movie: A crazy maniac kidnaps and kills women in the Midwest, USA. A young FBI agent named Clarice Starling investigates the case. When the police realize that all the crimes were committed by the same person, they ask an inmate, Hannibal Lechter for help.
The scriptwriters created a common portrait of a “super murderer” who was uncatchable and extremely cruel. The first scene of the film was influenced by Ted Bundy’s crimes.
9. Ed Gein — The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Psycho
The real story: Ed Gein is an infamous criminal whose character became popular in pop culture. He spent his childhood with a sadistic father who suffered from alcohol abuse and an imperious mother. He also had an unhealthy relationship with his brother. Gein’s house became a crime scene for many horrible murders. After the murderer was arrested, the house was burned to the ground: locals were believed to have set it on fire. Ed Gein wasn’t imprisoned on the grounds of insanity. He lived a long life and died in a mental hospital from cancer.
The movie: Ed Gein’s crimes provided the basis for many horror books and moves. In Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller, Psycho, a young girl confronts a mysterious maniac. The murderer, as well as Ed Gein, has a difficult relationship with his mother: he kills young women because a voice in his head tells him to do so. In The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, a maniac lives alone on a remote farm and terrorizes the whole neighborhood.
8. Billy Milligan’s multiple personality disorder — Split
The real story: Billy Milligan is probably the most famous person with a multiple personality disorder. 24 personalities lived in his head and they didn’t live together peacefully. People who were in his head pushed him to commit different crimes of violence, robbery, and drug abuse.
Milligan’s childhood was very difficult: his step-father was cruel to him which is what that led to his multiple personality disorder. Milligan was brought to trial twice but in the end, the court found him insane and he was sent to a mental hospital where he spent 10 years. Despite all his treatment, Milligan couldn’t control his alter egos until his death.
The movie: 2 schoolgirls were kidnapped in the middle of the day from a parking lot. After some time the girls find themselves in a locked space with a man who introduces them to his different personalities. The criminal goes to work, visits a psychiatrist and gets the girls ready to meet his most terrifying personality, The Beast.
7. Tami Ashcraft’s story — Adrift
The real story: A 23-year-old yachtswoman Tamy Ashcraft and her fiancé Richard Sharp went on a cruise to the islands located in the Pacific Ocean. The adventure turned out to be a real disaster: they got caught in a tropical hurricane and tried to keep the boat afloat despite 12-meter waves. Their beautiful love story ended tragically: Tamy’s fiancé washed away at sea. However, despite a severe head injury and having only a sectant and a watch to navigate, Tamy managed to get to some people. She fought for her life for 41 days.
The movie: Tamy and Richard met in Tahiti which started their romantic story. Of course, a trip on a luxurious yacht in a warm sea promised only pleasant emotions. But the couple had to confront natural forces and show their spiritual strength to survive.
6. Oliver Sacks — Awakenings
The real story: Oliver Sacks was a famous neurologist, a talented writer and a popularizer of medicine. Awakenings is an autobiographical novel that includes interesting cases from the doctor’s medical practice. The young doctor treated people suffering from encephalitis lethargica. People who survived the infection lost their ability to move and speak and became catatonic. Sacks injected the patients with an experimental drug called L-DOPA at his own risk and their health condition became better immediately.
The movie: A young, shy doctor named Malcolm Sayer starts to work at a hospital with patients suffering from encephalitis lethargica. Some patients hadn’t moved or communicated with the outside world for decades. Sayer tries to find out the reasons for the illness and chooses Leoradro (Robert De Niro) as his first patient who has been “frozen” for 30 years. The awakening of his first patient inspires the doctor and he gives the medicine to others.
5. Bernie Tiede — Bernie
The real story: Bernie Tiede was born in Carthage, Texas and seemed like a really nice guy who was popular among locals, especially elderly women. And it comes as no surprise since he was a mortician that was always ready to help people in grief. He met a rich (and quite old) widow named Marjorie Nugent during her husband’s funeral. She had a bad reputation mostly because of her bad temper. The relationship between them developed apace — the widow even made Bernie a beneficiary in her will.
But soon Marjorie disappeared. It turned out that Bernie Tiede shot her. During the trial, Bernie claimed that the widow treated him badly: they were constantly arguing and she controlled his every move. The jury didn’t buy this statements and sentenced him to a lifetime in prison.
The movie: A friendly coffin maker from Texas becomes friends with an elderly widow. However, because of her bad temper, some trouble appears and the man resorts to drastic measures.
4. A maniac who wrote letters — Zodiac
The real story: A killer with the nickname “Zodiac” is probably the most infamous criminal in the USA. Mostly because he hasn’t been caught yet. He committed murders at the end of the 1960s and 12 people became his victims.
But he is famous for other reasons: he sent satirical letters to local newspapers. In them, the criminal confessed to his crimes, revealed their details and made fun of the police. Additionally, Zodiac made cryptograms with encoded personal information about himself. Most of them haven’t been decoded. The authorities believed that Zodiac could have been a military man or a police officer since he was familiar with investigation procedures and managed to escape the police.
The movie: A bloody maniac terrorizes San Francisco and the surrounding areas for 25 years. He disappears and then comes back again. The police even doubt that it could be the same person. But the murderer who calls himself Zodiac sends letters that prove he hasn’t retired.
3. Satanic cults — Regression
The real story: The topic of satanic cults was widely discussed at the end of the 1980s. And it comes as no surprise: satanic rituals with mysterious attributes attracted public attention. Sectants performed bloody rituals and even children participated in some of them.
The movie: The case of a young Angela Gray attracted detective Bruce Kenner’s attention. After a psychology session, it turns out that her father had performed satanic rituals on her when Angela was a kid. The detective gets involved in a mysterious story that takes place beyond good and evil.
2. The researchers of paranormal phenomena, Ed and Lorraine Warren — The Conjuring
The real story: In January of 1971 the Perron family moved into a new house where unexplainable events started to take place. They’d hear creaking in the kitchen, dirt would appear after they would clean, and it was impossible to sleep at night — it felt like the house was “sighing”.
The family turned to famous ghostbusters Ed and Lorraine Warren for help. The spouses were well-known as researchers of paranormal phenomena. They came to the conclusion that there was an evil spirit in the house and tried to get rid of it but their attempts weren’t successful. The Perron family lived in this house for 10 more years until they could afford to move.
The movie: The researchers of paranormal phenomena face the most difficult case in their practice. The house which holds a family of five children is possessed by evil powers and they’re forced to fight them.
1. The story of Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme — Heavenly Creatures
The real story: Teenagers Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme became friends at a girl’s school in Christchurch, New Zeland. Soon their relationship became very strong: they both loved fantasy, writing, and finished each other’s sentences. At that time in 1954, the close friendship between the girls caused a negative reaction by neighbors and their parents were sure there was more to their “friendly” relationship.
Juliet’s parents wanted to move to the Republic of South Africa to break the unhealthy connection. Loyal Pauline was ready to follow her to the other side of the world but her mother was strongly against it. So the girls came up with a plan to kill her.
The horrible plan was carried out and the girls were caught quickly. Because they were underage, they were sentenced to 5 years in prison. They didn’t communicate after the release and left the country. Juliet has become a famous writer of historical detective novels under the pen-name, Anne Perry.
The movie: The beautiful Juliet moves to a small town in New Zeland. She meets Pauline and the girls become friends and then discover romantic feelings for each other. The girls’ parents try to separate them but they decide to take revenge.
Which story did you find the most terrifying? Share it with us in the comments!