Sleep tight (Pictures: REX/Getty)

You slink under a blanket on the couch as you watch some psychopath/demon/possessed doll chop away at an unlucky punter who is in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Blood-curdling screams float into your loungeroom as you watch the action unfold through the spaces between your fingers, held over your eyes.

The mayhem ends, you breathe a sigh of relief, clean the crumbs from your chest and slide off to bed, safe in the knowledge the tale you were just terrorised by was a work of pure fiction.

Or was it?

Did the madman once exist? Is this scary story one that happened IRL? Are you about to never leave your house ever again?

While we may love to scare the absolute bajeesus out of ourselves on the reg with a horror film (especially at this time of year) do you know the terrifying true stories that lit the spark of inspiration for some of the most blood thirsty and nightmare-inducing flicks?

You’re about to.

The classic: Amityville Horror

It just LOOKS creepy

So nice they made it twice. And by nice we mean utterly disturbing.

The two films, first made in 1979 and then again in 2005 (which followed the 1977 book of the same name), were inspired by the true events of George and Kathy Lutz.

The pair claimed their house in Long Island was haunted by violent and demonic presences that eventually drove them out of their home.

The place was investigated by Ed and Lorraine Warren (more, much more on them later), with it believed the place was haunted following the DeFeo murders.

Hi Ryan (Picture: Rex Features)

On 13 November, 1974, Ronald DeFeo Jr shot and killed six members of his family at 112 Ocean Avenue, in the suburban neighborhood in Amityville. He was convicted of second-degree murder in November 1975.

In December 1975, George and Kathy Lutz and their three children moved into the house. After 28 days, the Lutzes left the house, claiming to have been terrorised by paranormal phenomena while living there, with George waking at 3.15am every morning – the time of the murders.

In the film, Ryan Reynolds also had a great beard.

The real house totally still exists by the way.

The Conjuring Universe

So much spook (Picture: Rex Features)

Perhaps one of the most famous in western filmmaking, the Conjuring Universe centres on 2013’s The Conjuring, 2015’s The Conjuring 2 and its various shootoffs, like Annabelle Comes Home and The Nun.

The whole shebang is centred on Ed and Lorraine Warren, a self-proclaimed demonologist and a medium.

Ed and Lorraine really existed, you know, and here is where the inspiration lies, after they founded the New England Society For Psychic Research back in 1952.

The first movie centres on the real life story of the Perron family who, after moving into a massive farmhouse in Rhose Island in 1971, began to notice strange occurances including mysterious noises, odd smells and missing objects.

The real Lorraine Warren (Picture: FilmMagic)

Turns out the house had been in one family for eight generations, with a bunch of members dying in rather suspicious circumstances such as murder and suicide. In the OG film, the spirit Bathsheba was depicted and turns out she was a very real person, a Satanist, apparently, who lived on the Perron property in the 1800s.

With the Perrons believing Bethsheba was terrorising them, the Warrens visited over a 10-year period and conducted many a séance in which it was believed the family’s mother, Carolyn, was possessed.

Not content with one film, we mean haunted house, the Warrens moved onto the Hodgson family, which formed the basis for the second Conjuring film.

More possessions, more demonic hauntings, all based on real life events. Fun times.

Annabelle Comes Home

Nope (Picture: Rex Features)

Part of the Conjuring Universe you just got goosebumps reading all about above, Annabelle Comes Home (2019) is an offshoot off that but comes with her own horrifically creepy backstory.

Ed and Lorraine Warren investigated the apparently possessed doll of Annabelle before they headed to the Perron house, after, in 1968, two roomates claimed their Raggedy Ann doll was taken over by the spirit of a young girl named Annabelle Higgins.

The couple took the doll and placed it in the family’s Occult Museum.

Since then the doll has spawned many films including Annabelle, Annabelle: Creation as well as those in the Conjuring Universe such as Annabelle Comes Home.

Veronica

Veronica has a terrifying real story (Picture: Netflix/veronica)

The 2017 film, directed by REC mastermind Paco Plaza, tells the story of Veronica (played by Sandra Escacena), who, for some ridiculous reason, uses a ouija board during a solar eclipse and then tries to summon the spirit of a dead friend who died in a motorcycle accident. However, she and her friends accidentally disturb the spirit of Veronica’s dead father and summon a sinister demon.

The case is known as the ‘Vallecas case’, which takes the name from the neighbourhood in Madrid where a young girl named Estefania Gutierrez Lazari reportedly performed a seance to summon a classmate who died in a motorcycle accident.

A nun interrupted the fun ‘ol paranormal activity and broke the ouija board, but after playing the game, Estefania complained to her parents about hallucinations and hearing voices, as well as convulsing. No doctors could figure out what was wrong with her – and in August 1991, two months after the ouija board incident, Estefania died a ‘sudden and suspicious death’ in the Gregorio Maranon Hospital.

After Estefania’s parents claimed they noticed shadows moving in their house and strange occurances, the police report stated four officers cited seeing doors open in an ‘unnatural way’, a Jesus separated from his cross, and hearing loud noises come from empty rooms.

The Exorcist

Apparently this actually happened (Picture: Rex Features)

Another classic, The Exorcist (1973) was claimed to be one of the freakiest movies ever released and decades on we have to say it’s still pretty WTF.

In the film we see Regan who, after playing with a Ouija board and contacting a supposedly imaginary friend whom she calls Captain Howdy, begins acting strangely, including making mysterious noises, stealing, constantly using obscene language, and exhibiting abnormal strength.

What’s even more terrifying is the fact it’s based on the story of a 14-year-old boy, Roland Doe, who was believed to have been demonically possessed in 1949.

Roland’s family reported furniture moving on its own, scratches all over his body, and loud, disembodied voices.

Cute, right?

With seemingly no other move to make, his family enlisted the help of the Catholic Church. Father Raymond Bishop, one of the priests noted in his diary: ‘At midnight, the Fathers planned to give (Roland) Holy Communion, but Satan would have no part of it. Even while the institution of the Blessed Sacrament was explained, his body was badly scratched and branded. The word HELLO was printed on his chest and thigh.’

It was latest concluded by paranormal sceptics that Roland was likely a mentally ill teenager acting out.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Again, everyone loves a film based on a real life exorcism, don’t they?

This one (released in 2005) was based on the story of Anneliese Michel, who, at the age of 17, was diagnosed with epilepsy, and given medication, after showing symptoms of apparent possession.

Still, she continued to have seizures, claimed she was having visions and hearing voices. Saying she was being told she was a sinner by one of the voices, she was genuflecting, or kneeling, 600 times a day and eventually rupturing her knee ligaments.

After undergoing 67 exorcisms in 10 months, she eventually stopped eating and died of starvation in 1976.

Her parents and priests were charged with negligent homicide for allowing her to starve – which formed the basis of the plot of The Exorcism Of Emily Rose.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Based on a real guy, apparently (Picture: Rex Features)

Leatherface, the lead antagonist in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974 and 2003), was based on Ed Gein, a serial killer who was known as the ‘Butcher of Plainfield’.

Not only Leatherface, he’s also suspected to be the inspiration behind Normal Bates’s Psycho character (owing to his apparent obsession with his mother) and Buffalo Bill in the Silence Of The Lambs.

Fun times.

Ed Gein inspired many heinous characters (Picture: Getty)

He is suspected to have killed several victims, and robbed the graves of the recently buried.

Using the skin of women, he created a suit that he wore supposedly pretending to be his mother (getting the Buffalo Bill vibes yet?), while also constructing lamps, belts and bowls made out of human body parts.

When A Stranger Calls

Turning kids off ever becoming babysitters, When A Stranger Calls (films released in both 1979 and 2006) is based on the unsolved murder of 13-year-old Janett Christmas in 1950.

She was babysitting when she rang the Columbia Police Department and told them to ‘come quick’ before hanging up.

Police weren’t able to trace the call, so it wasn’t until Greg Romack’s parents returned they found the babysitter’s body in a pool of blood, having been raped and strangled with a cord.

Forming the basis of many a horror story, it was ruled the murder had been an ‘inside job’ by someone who knew the layout of the house well.

The Girl Next Door

The Girl Next Door (2004) tells the horrific story of Meg and her disabled sister Susan, who lost their parents in a car accident and were sent to live with their reclusive aunt, Ruth her sons, Willie, Ralphie, and Donny.

The tragic story is loosely based on the death of Sylvia Likens, who was found dead at the age of 16 in the basement of her temporary home.

After her parents left her and her sister in the care of Gertrude Baniszewski, a mother of seven, she was found dead only three months later.

Her emaciated corpse was found, apparently with hundreds of wounds after she had been tortured to death.

Wolf Creek

Did Ivan Milat inspire Mick? (Picture: Rex Features)

The Australian horror (released in 2005) centres on the abduction and murder of backpackers, who stumble across farmer Mick Taylor.

Soon horrors occur as they’re systematically picked off in a series of gory deaths, including being stabbed, shot and paralysed, seemingly in the name of sport for Mick who, as it is discovered, has a psychopathic collection of cars, cameras and possessions of those he’d killed before.

The tale is based on a real string of murders that occurred in Australia’s Belanglo State Forest in the 90s by Ivan Milat, AKA ‘the Backpacker Killer’.

While the convicted killer (who died last week in prison) long denied his involvement in the murders of several backpackers, he was convicted for torturing and killing at least seven people. However, it’s believed his body count is much higher.

Some of his victims were killed through seemingly being used as target practice, others had their spinal cord severed and one was decapitated – her head never being found.

Eaten Alive

The 1976 horror tells the story of Judd, who owns the Starlight Hotel…and a pet crocodile. Mentally-unhinged, he terrorises those who come to stay at his hotel by either feeding them to his crocodile or killing them himself with various objects, such as a scythe.

The tale is based on that of Joe Ball who owned the Sociable Inn in the early 1900s. He was said to have kept multiple alligators in an enclosure near the saloon and after three ladies went missing, it was believed Joe had murdered them and fed them to his pet alligators.

There was never any evidence as to this, however when police questioned him in 1938 he shot himself.

Anyway, sleep tight.

MORE: Sarah Paulson ‘needs’ to be a part of American Horror Story as she eyes up season 10

MORE: Unexplained deaths and mysterious fires: The terrifying ‘cursed’ sets of horror films





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