Movies that got their inspirations from true-to-life murders
Sony Pictures With Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time In Hollywood dancing around the story of the Manson Family and Sharon Tate, it got me thinking about other films that are based off of true serial killer stories. While we’ve already touched on a list of films based off of real-life atrocities and this one on how genius level some serial killers were, figured we could introduce you to more movies based on some scary true events.While the true stories behind the films are frightening, and the movies themselves kinda chilling, the worst part of it all is that this isn’t even half of the movies out there. Hollywood’s been mining the darkest deeds of humans for as long as they’ve been around.
Miramax Films Heavenly Creatures (1994)
This psychological feature from Peter Jackson stars Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey, and is based on the story of Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme and the most heinous murder in New Zealand’s history.In 1954, the two girls were inseparable; playing games and writing stories. It was also evident that the girls were obsessed with one another. Then, Juliet’s family decided they were going move, and Pauline wanted to move with her.
Her mom obviously said no.
NZ History The two girls lured Parker’s mom into a park and bludgeoned her to death, hitting her with a brick in a sock over 20x.The girls were arrested for murder, sentenced, and incarcerated in separate prisons. After 5 and a half years, they were released and both changed their names and started new lives.
Interestingly enough, Juliet Hulme is now a prolific crime writer under the name
Dimension Films Scream (1996)
This iconic horror series portrays a group of high school students who are gruesomely murdered by a knifed killer known as Ghostface.While the movie was both a commentary and subversion of the horror genre, and revitalized it for the 90’s, it was based on a true story.
Wikipedia In 1990, 5 students were murdered by the Gainesville Ripper in Florida. The culprit was eventually identified as Danny Rolling, who wanted to become a murder “superstar” like Ted Bundy. His MO was to break in, assault, murder and pose his victims.During his reign of terror, high school students were moving and sleeping together in groups as protection. Rolling was eventually captured during a burglary, and the police were able match his tools. He ended up getting the death penalty in 2006.
Universal Studios Changeling (2008)
This film, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Angelina Jolie, was based on one heck of a fucked up true crime tale.In March of 1928, 9-year old Walter Collins never came back from the movies. His mother enlisted the help of the LAPD and they searched for months. In August, the police picked up a boy who claimed to be Walter.
HIs mother said it wasn’t her son, but no one believed her. She was eventually consigned to a psychiatric facility. But that’s not the worst of it.
JH Moncrieff The truth was that Walter was abducted and murdered by Gordon Stewart Northcott. Dubbed the Wineville Chicken Coop murders, Northcott would bring the boys back to his ranch, abuse and murder them, then bury their bodies with quicklime under his chicken coop.Thankfully, one of his victims (his nephew), got wise and ratted him out. Northcott was tried and hung.
What’s really fucking scary about the whole story is that a) the ‘unofficial’ truth is that the police found a random kid to pretend to be Walter to get his mom to leave them alone and b) when she was imprisoned, she was forced to confess to his murder, and thus Northcott wasn’t convicted of that one.
Dimension Films Wolf Creek (2005)
This Aussie horror film concerns three backpackers who find themselves taken captive and subsequently hunted by Mick Taylor, a deranged psychopathic xenophobic killer, in the outback. While it sounds like a reasonable and fictitious horror plot, it’s actually based on a terrifyingly true story about the backpacker murders.
Source Starting in 1992, the bodies of seven backpackers were found hidden under ferns and sticks in a state forest. Each of them had some variation of being shot, stabbed, mutilated and/or strangled, and it was later discovered that the perpetrator was a 50-year-old road worker named Ivan Milat.He was picking up the hitchhikers and luring them into the forest to kill them. Thankfully, one potential victim was able to escape and lead the police to Milat. He’s currently serving out consecutive life sentences.
Newmarket Films Monster (2003)
Monster tells the story of Aileen Wuornos, who was a prostitute in Daytona Beach, FL. Winning Charlize Theron an Oscar for best actress, it dramatizes the luring and murder of seven middle-aged businessmen by Aileen, under the guise of self-defence.
All That’s Interesting In reality, Aileen was just a psychopath. Coming from a traumatic and abusive home, she had a rap sheet and initially claimed that the 7 men had tried to rape and assault her. Later, she admitted that she just hated men and wanted to punish them. She was charged with 6 counts of manslaughter and was executed by lethal injection in 2002 after a bizarre time on death row.
Paramount Zodiac (2007)
One of the most enduring mysteries in true-crime history, this David Fincher film tell of the slow and frustrating search for the Zodiac killer, who preyed on young couples in their cars, in 1960-1970 San Francisco.Of all the movies on this list, this is probably the most historically accurate. It’s also an insanely gripping movie.
Wikipedia To this date, the Zodiac murders remain unsolved. Sending taunting letters to the police and the newspapers, the killer claimed to have killed 37 people and offered cryptic clues and puzzles to reveal his identity, but no one could figure them out at the time. Even today, only one has been definitively solved.Much like Jack the Ripper, this serial killer created a huge panic, left bloodied bodies in his wake, and disappeared without a trace.
Warner Bros. Badlands (1973)
According to director Terrence Malick, the character played by Martin Sheen in this film – Kit Caruthers, was inspired by the real-life spree killer Charles Starkweather.As is with the rest of the directors work, this film is gorgeously shot and incredibly influential, despite it’s grisly subject matter.
Source From December 1957 to January 1958, 19-year-old Charles Starkweather and his 14-year-old girlfriend Carol Ann Fugate murdered 11 people, all because his parents didn’t approve of his relationship. Known for his dyed black hair and signature black and white cowboy boots, he murdered his girlfriend’s family, including her 2-year-old sister, as well as random salesmen, gas station attendants and teens.He ended up getting sentence to death and executed, while Fugate got tried as an accomplice and spent almost 20 years in prison.
This story also influenced Peter Jackson’s
The Frighteners and Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers.
American International Pictures The Amityville Horror (1979)
This horror film is based on the house of Ronald DeFeo Jr., who shot and murdered the 6 members of his family in their Amityville, Long Island home in cold blood.The movie tells the story of the Lutz family, who moves in, knowing only a little bit of the DeFeo tragedy, and encounter a paranormal terror.
Vintages In reality, the true details of that night are murky. While Ronald DeFeo Jr. was found covered in blood, and his prints were on the shotgun, all of his family members were found face down in bed, shot. You’d think that the first gunshot would have woken everyone else up so they could escape, but everyone was apparently sleeping when they got shot, with no evidence of being drugged. As well, the neighbours didn’t report the sound of any gunshots, despite all the homes on the street being in tight proximity.In fact, DeFeo Jr. has changed his story several times since the time of his arrest and incarceration, but none of them can be pinpointed as the truth, making this serial murder all the more baffling.
Paramount Pictures Psycho (1960)
Based off of a 1959 novel by Robert Bloch, this film was inspired by Ed Gein, a nondescript guy, living with his mom in a small town. Much like in the film, no one knew that his mom was actually dead, and he was wearing her skin as a suit.
Wikimedia It was only when police entered his ramshackle farmhouse in rural Wisconsin, that the depths of Gein’s depravity were revealed. He had human skulls that were transformed into bowls, chairs made of human skin, a lampshade made from a face, and several women’s vulvas in a shoebox.Claiming that he dug up the bodies from local graveyards, he finally admitted that he’d also murdered two women. He spent the rest of his life in a mental institution where he died. To date, no one’s sure why he did what he did.
His story also went on to inspire the characters of Leatherface in
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs.
Netflix Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019)
This Netflix original got some rave reviews, but most thought that it glorified, rather than condemned, Ted Bundy.What makes this one unique is that it looks at the mystery and mystique of Bundy, though his relationship with his girlfriend, answering the question; “what kind of person accidentally dates a serial killer?”
All that’s Interesting Truthfully, Bundy was a handsome and charming sociopath. He’d find ways of getting close to you, getting you to trust him, then he’d murder and defile his victims. He was tried for the murders of at least 30 women, but that’s only the one’s we know about.What truly made him scary, however, was how meticulous and intelligent he was. He was able to get away with multiple murders, across multiple states over decades, and had an almost chameleon-like ability to change his look and manner. He also knew the law and knew how to get away with it.
Via Cheatsheet & BuzzFeed
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