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    16 Real Crime Events That Were So Disturbing They Got Turned Into Movies

    Did you know that the ~real~ Annabelle is still around today?!

    We asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us the scariest movies that were based on true crime events. Here are the terrifying results.

    1. The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976, 2014)

    American International Pictures / Wikimedia Commons / Via

    The back story: It's based on a real-life serial killer that terrorised the town of Texarkana – attacking eight people (five of whom were killed) over a period of 10 weeks in 1946. The 'phantom killer' was never caught.

    "I watched it as an 11-year-old on my first night living in our new house in the same city, so I was pretty spooked."


    2. An American Crime (2007)

    Showtime / Wikimedia Commons / Via

    The back story: The disturbing storyline of the film is based on the real and heartbreaking story of Sylvia Likens, a 16-year-old girl who was brutally tortured and eventually murdered by her guardian and several neighbourhood children in 1965.

    "It was truly horrific what they did to that poor girl."


    3. Murder By Numbers (2002)

    Warner Bros. Pictures / German Federal Archive / Wikimedia Commons / Via /

    The back story: The film is based on the case of Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb – two privileged college students who kidnapped and murdered a 14-year-old boy in an attempt to commit the 'perfect crime'.

    "It was a story that rocked the nation at the time and it addressed issues about privilege and class that are still relevant today."


    "Not to mention they were in a very abusive relationship with each other, which built on the negative stereotype of gay men during the time."


    4. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974, 2003)

    Bryanston Distribution Company / Wikimedia Commons / Via

    The back story: The films are loosely based on the actions of real-life murderer Ed Gein who, like Leatherface, would also mutilate the bodies of his victims and wear human skin over his own.


    5. Jennifer's Body (2009)

    20th Century Fox

    The Back story: The brutal real-life murder of 15-year-old Elyse Pahler by a band called Hatred in 1996 had disturbingly similar motives to that of Jennifer Check in Jennifer's Body.

    "Their reasoning behind it was that they “needed to commit a sacrifice to the Devil” to give their band the “craziness” it needed to go professional."


    6. Annabelle (2014)

    Warner Bros. Pictures / Altor / Wikimedia Commons / Via

    The back story: Ed and Lorraine Warren were paranormal investigators who worked on a number of spooky cases. In the '60s they were asked to investigate a Raggedy Ann doll that exhibited malicious and frightening behaviour – the doll had been pronounced by a psychic medium as being possessed by the spirit of a girl named Annabelle.

    "Apparently they kept an artefact from every case they worked on – including the real Annabelle – and stored it in a little in-house museum in Connecticut where they lived. They're both deceased now but I think the work they did was very interesting."


    7. The Amityville Horror (1979, 2005)

    MGM Distribution Co. / BrownieCharles99 / Wikimedia Commons / Via

    The back story: The films follow the real story of the Lutz family, who were said to be haunted by the ghosts of the victims of a brutal murder that took place in their house in Amityville a few years before they moved in. This was one of the earliest cases that Ed and Lorraine Warren worked on, and one of the most disturbing.


    8. The Conjuring (2013)

    Warner Bros. Pictures

    The back story: Another of Ed and Lorraine's real life cases – the film is based on the Perron family, who were said to be terrorised by hauntings from their home's previous owner – and suspected murderer – Bathsheba Sherman (yes, the very same Bathsheba from the film) over the course of ten years. The movie itself is critically acclaimed for its slightly too realistic portrayal of the family's demonic haunting.


    9. Zodiac (2007)

    Paramount Pictures / San Fransisco Police Department / Wikimedia Commons / Via

    The back story: The film (based on a book of the same name by Robert Graysmith) follows the story of the manhunt for the 'Zodiac Killer' – a real-life serial murderer who would send cryptic messages and bloodstained clothing to taunt the police and press, forcing them to publish his letters in order to create mass hysteria. The case remains open to this day, and is one of the most widely-recognised unsolved murder cases in history.

    "The still-unknown serial killer shot and stabbed up to 37 people."


    10. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

    New Line Cinema

    The back story: Director Wes Craven said his inspiration for Freddy Krueger's power to slip into people's minds and murder them in their sleep came from reading about a series of mysterious deaths – all the victims had had recurring nightmares and died in their sleep.

    "In the 1970s, The Los Angeles Times published an article detailing a family who survived the Killing Fields in Cambodia and fled to the United States. Their son often experienced terrifying nightmares of being chased. He would try to stay awake for days at a time but when he eventually fell asleep, his parents heard loud screams and discovered that he had died during one of his nightmares."


    11. Scream (1996)

    Dimension Films / State of Florida Corrections / Wikimedia Commons / Via

    The back story: Danny Rolling murdered five University of Florida students over four days in the summer of 1990. The massacre of students and terror this inspired formed the basis of the storyline for Scream.

    "My aunt and uncle were at UF at the time and it really had the entire town in a state of panic (fleeing the town, bolting doors and windows, dropping out of classes). Sadly, one of the victims was my mom’s cousin."


    12. Winchester (2018)

    Lionsgate / InSapphoWeTrust / Wikimedia Commons / Via

    The back story: After her child and gun company-owner husband passed away, Sarah Winchester moved away and decided to build a huge house with the $20 million that she had inherited. The 'Winchester Mystery House' was claimed to be haunted by the ghosts of people killed by Winchester guns.

    "She would say she was tormented by the victims of her late husband's gun company and she built little rooms and doors leading to nowhere to trap them – though some say this was her just trying to escape her grief."


    13. In Cold Blood (1967)

    Columbia Pictures

    The back story: In November 1959 four members of the Clutter family were brutally murdered in their home by two ex-convicts, Perry Smith and Richard Hickock. Truman Capote wrote about the events in his novel In Cold Blood, which was later adapted into film.

    "The book is very detailed and pretty accurate to the original story, and the first movie adaptation was filmed inside the actual house in which the murders took place. Some truly amazing writing, filled with chilling and sad events."


    14. The Strangers (2008)

    Rogue Pictures / California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation / Wikimedia Commons / Via

    The back story: The film follows a couple that are terrorised by masked 'strangers' in their holiday home. Writer-director Bryan Bertino was inspired by a number of real-life events, including the Manson family Tate murders and a series of break-ins that happened around Bertino's own home as a child.

    "It's partly based on the director's experience as a kid when someone knocked on his family's door while his parents were out. When his sister answered, the strangers asked for someone who didn't live there. They later found out that these people would break into the house if the door wasn't answered."


    15. Monster (2003)

    Newmarket Films / Florida Department of Corrections / Wikimedia Commons / Via

    The back story: The film is a biographical crime drama about the life of Aileen Wuornos – a serial killer and prostitute who murdered a number of her clients. Wuornos claimed that the killings were committed in self-defence, as the men had either raped or attempted to rape her.

    "She shot and killed seven middle aged men. Charlize Theron (who played Aileen in the film) won an oscar for the movie."


    16. Bernie (2011)

    Millennium Entertainment

    The back story: More of a dark comedy than a proper ~horror~, this movie was based on the murder of Marjorie Nugent by her charismatic companion, Bernie Tiede. Nugent's cold and unpleasant nature, combined with Tiede's natural charm caused locals to actually jump to Tiede's defence for the murder.


    Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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