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    15 "Based On A True Story" Horror Movies That Took A Looot Of Liberties In Their Retellings

    Just how true are these true stories anyway?

    Everyone loves a good scare now and then. If you're a horror movie fan, chances are you've figured out which movies hit the sweet spot and which miss the mark.

    There's something to be said about the "based on a true story" genre of horror. You can't deny there's an extra scary element to knowing something isn't a work of fiction.

    That said, filmmakers are known to take a creative liberty or two and in horror, maybe three or four or ten, as they did with these films.

    1. Take The Conjuring, for example. Ed and Lorraine Warren were real paranormal investigators who really did meet the Perron family, a couple and their five daughters, who were plagued by some kind of haunting.

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    Two major differences in the film didn't reflect the actual experience. For one, the haunting never made Caroline Perron consider harming her children. Also, Ed Warren never did an exorcism.

    There was once a seance which temporarily rendered Caroline "possessed," but it was performed by one of the priests the family sometimes worked with.

    2. The true story behind The Exorcism of Emily Rose is pretty heartbreaking.

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    Anneliese Michel, the real Emily Rose, was a devoutly religious young woman experiencing what was likely epilepsy. When medications didn't help her recover, she believed she was cursed.

    Michel underwent over 60 exorcisms in the span of a year and ultimately died as a result of fasting in preparation for another attempt, unlike in the film where she is believed to have died during an exorcism, for reasons disputed throughout the plot.

    3. The Amityville Horror is one of the most well-known "based on a true story" horror films but many have disputed what exactly happened at that ill-fated Long Island home.

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    While some say the Lutz's were haunted after the DeFeo's were previously killed in the home, some say it's a tall tale wound around a tragedy to make it profitable for the family that followed.

    4. The idea for Jaws started with a 1964 incident where a fisherman faced off against a great white off the coast of Long Island, NY.

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    Frank Mundus was proud to have inspired Captain Quint, but of course, there was a lot of creative license taken from there.

    5. And in case that wasn't enough Long Island creepiness for you, Poltergeist is inspired by the Hermann family of Seaford, who was featured in Life for their claims of creepy paranormal happenings in their home.

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    While there were certainly creepy happenings, skeletons never popped out of the pool, and the home was not on a Native American burial ground. As a matter of fact, it was a new build that only the Hermann family had lived in.

    6. The Exorcist was based on a short newspaper story about a 14-year-old boy who started having paranormal experiences after being gifted an ouija board by his aunt, who died shortly thereafter.

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    Many of the changes made to the story were made to protect the teen's identity, but there was also quite a bit of creative fictionalization.  

    7. Texas Chainsaw Massacre is based on a true story...that had nothing to do with chainsaws and didn't happen in Texas.

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    While the original never claimed to be inspired by a true story, the 2003 remake did. Murderer Leatherface was based on Wisconsin farmer Ed Gein, whose techniques were similar to those depicted in the film.

    8. Also inspired by Gein? Psycho. Turns out, the killer had a very complicated relationship with his mother, who he viewed as possessive, controlling, and manipulative.

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    9. A website that offered guests in Thailand the opportunity to shoot someone in the head for $10,000 was the inspiration behind Hostel.

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    Like many things on the internet, however, there was no indication whether this was actually something anyone paid for and went through with.

    10. Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds was based, in part, on a mass bird attack in the small town of Capitola, California on August 18, 1961.

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    Scientists later determined the birds' unusual behavior was likely due to plankton poisoning, but that didn't stop it from becoming historical horror fodder.

    11. Scream may not advertise itself as loosely based on a true story, but it's got some of these others beat.

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    The killer was inspired by the Gainsville Ripper, Danny Rolling, who stabbed five Florida students to death in 1990. The incident may have inspired Ghostface, but from there it was all creativity.

    12. The idea for Nightmare on Elm Street came after Wes Craven read a series of Los Angeles Times articles about a young Cambodian man who suffered horrifying nightmares after escaping the country's Killing Fields.

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    He was physically determined to be fine despite sustaining injuries during these nightmares and ultimately died during one nightmare.

    "He told his parents he was afraid that if he slept, the thing chasing him would get him, so he tried to stay awake for days at a time. When he finally fell asleep, his parents thought this crisis was over. Then they heard screams in the middle of the night. By the time they got to him, he was dead," Wes Craven told Cinema Blend. "He died in the middle of a nightmare. Here was a youngster having a vision of a horror that everyone older was denying. That became the central line of Nightmare on Elm Street."

    And while that theme stuck, the gratuitous nature of the '80s horror certainly took over from there.

    13. Jerry Blake in The Stepfather was inspired by murderer John List, who killed his wife, mother, and three children at their home in New Jersey before changing his identity and going on with his life. He later felt remorse for his actions.

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    Jerry Blake, on the other hand, keeps going after killing his family and goes on to find more victims. 

    14. The Haunting in Connecticut was based on the story of Allen and Carmen Snedeker, who moved into a rented home in Southington in 1986 with their daughter and three young sons — one of which was undergoing cancer treatment — only to discover it was a haunted former funeral home.

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    While the movie runs with the concept, IRL there was very little concrete proof that anything paranormal was happening in the home, and many have argued about what was actually happening instead.

    15. In the 1930s, a man named Joe Ball allegedly killed up to 20 women and fed them to crocodiles in a pond at his saloon because he believed he couldn't be convicted of murder if there were no bodies to find.

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    This inspired the 1980's horror flick, Eaten Alive, but the film took the story a few steps further. Instead of a saloon, it's a hotel that has a lagoon where the crocs live and women aren't the only ones killed.

    What other "based on a true story" horror flicks are your favorites? Let's get spooky in the comments!