It is common practice in horror films to add the phrase “Based On a True Story” on the poster. This generates a buzz for a release as what is scarier than a horror film based on reality! However, this phrase is now used rather loosely, with some films only including one element from reality.

On the other side, there are some films were inspired by real events. This article will explore five true stories that served as an inspiration for famous and iconic horror films.


We must add a Spoiler warning for the films below as well as a content warning. Read at your peril.

1. Backcountry

Backcountry is loosely based on the true story of Mark Jordan and Jacqueline Perry, who was attacked by a bear in 2005 when hiking. The bear attacked Jacqueline and mauled her badly. Mark stabbed the bear repeatedly with his knife to prevent the bear from carrying her away. He loaded his wife into a Kayak and paddled to safety. Jaqueline, however, could not be saved and died from her injuries.

2. Zodiac

5 True Stories Behind Popular Horror Films
The Zodiac Killer

Operating from the late 60s to early 70, the zodiac killer had five confirmed murders linked to him but claimed to have killed 37 people. The most notable thing about the killer was a series of boastful letters the killer sent to the press threatening to kill more if they did not print the letters in the paper. The movie version was directed from the point of view of the media. This brought more attention to the killer, but the fact that he was never caught is unlikely to change

3. The Mothman Prophecies

5 True Stories Behind Popular Horror Films
The Mothman Prophecies

On 15th November 1966, two young couples drove outside a town in West Virginia where they claimed to see a creature they described as a “Flying man with 10-foot wings.”The creature was then spotted by various other town residents, including two firefighters who claimed that the creature had glowing red eyes. The creature has seemingly been spotted several times since the mainstream movie was released in 2002. Though no hard evidence of the creature was ever found.

4. Hounds of Love


5 True Stories Behind Popular Horror Films
David and Catherine Birnie

The horror film Hounds Of Love is based on the Moorhouse Murders in Perth, Australia, in 86. David and Catherine Birnie killed four women on Moorhouse street. Catherine left her husband to move in with David, and the couple began to feed off each other’s sadistic pleasures. They kidnapped, raped, and killed four women. When Catherine was asked about it, she said, She didn’t feel a thing. The fifth intended victim ran away and called the cops on them. Thus the evil duo was arrested.

5. Silence Of The Lambs

5 true stories behind popular horror films
Silence Of The Lambs

Ed Gein was a simple man living in Plainfield, Wisconsin. His overbearing mother controlled his life and constantly barred him from meeting with friends and girls. Augusta Gein made sure that she controlled her son’s life and that she was a god to him. When she died, Ed lost it. He began robbing graves of women who looked like his mother and taking different body parts with him. He eventually murdered two women.

When the police finally went to his house, they found furniture made from human bones, chairs upholstered in human skin, human skulls made into bowls, the removed private parts of several women, and a woman suit stitched with skin that he used to wear. Many films took inspiration from Ed Gein, yet none can live up to the affinity for gore shown by Ed Gein.

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