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DID YOU READ

10 Horror Movies Inspired By True Stories

Nightmare on Elm Street

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We go to horror movies to forget our real world problems. Who cares about paying the rent or your jerk boss when there’s a serial killer under your bed? But vampires, ghosts and zombies are just spooky stories we tell each other for kicks. Right? They’re so fun because they can’t really hurt us. Or can they? You might be surprised how many of your favorite horror movies are based on true stories. You know, the type that really can come and get you while you sleep. Here are 10 movie at least partly based on true stories.


10. Bram Stoker’s Dracula

The grandaddy of horror villains, Bram Stoker’s legendary vampire didn’t just appear out of thin air. Stoker is believed to have based him on Vlad III Dracula, otherwise known as “Vlad the Impaler,” a Romanian prince who’s said to have killed up to 100,000 people during his reign of terror. Stoker came to this association late in the writing of his novel, and thankfully made some last second edits. Can you imagine if he had stuck with the character’s original name, Count Wampyr?


9. Open Water

This 2003 thriller was inspired by the true story of Tom and Eileen Lonergan, an American couple accidentally left behind by a diving company in the Great Barrier Reef.  Shockingly it took two days for the company to realize what they’d done. While a search was quickly manned, the couple was never found. They were believed to have succumbed to dehydration or sharks, neither of which are things you want to succumb to.


8. A Nightmare on Elm Street

Director Wes Craven was inspired to write the first Nightmare after reading an LA Times article about a group of Cambodian immigrants who refused to sleep because of their vivid nightmares. Some of the men even died in the throws of their dreams. While Freddy Krueger wasn’t directly to blame, the idea of killer nightmares was too good for Craven to resist, and a monster movie legend was born.


7. The Amityville Horror

“Based on a True Story” can mean a lot of different things in the world of horror movies. Just because someone said something happened, doesn’t necessarily make it true. That might be the case here, thanks to real world paranormal detectives Ed and Lorraine Warren, who helped turn this haunted house story into a national sensation. They went on to investigate 10,000 cases in their ghost hunting career, some of which turned into other movies. This film is based on a book by Jay Arson, who took the haunted Lutz family, along with the Warrens, at their word.


6. The Conjuring

Ed and Lorraine Warren strike again, moving to centerstage in this haunted house tale. Tapes of the supposed haunting apparently made their way to producer Tony DeRosa-Grund, who spent 20 years trying to turn this “true story” into a feature film.


5. The Girl Next Door

This film is based on the real-life murder of Sylvia Likens, back in the summer of 1956. A seemingly typical teen girl, Likens was tortured to death by the woman charged with caring for her, along with her children and other neighborhood kids. The prosecutor of the trial called the murder “the most terrible crime ever committed in the state of Indiana.”


4. Wolf Creek

Two true stories helped inspire this film about a group of backpackers whose car breaks down in the Australian Outback, only to find themselves the target of a psychotic bushman. Ivan Milat kidnapped and tortured a series of hitchhikers in Australia back in the ’90s, while Bradley John Murdoch murdered a British tourist in a remote part of the Outback in 2001. Turns out dingoes aren’t the only things killing down under these days.


3. The Serpent and the Rainbow

Wes Craven’s zombie movie is loosely based on a non-fiction book by ethnobotanist Wade Davis, which explored the supposedly true accounts of people being brought back to life with local Haitian traditions and herbal medicines. While many of his accounts have come into questions, Davis no doubt helped popularize the notion of the real life zombie.


2. The Exorcist

Elements of the original novel, written by William Peter Blatty, were based on an actual exorcism performed by Jesuit priests William S. Bowbern and William Holloran in 1949. The name of the supposedly possessed boy has never been released, so we can only guess how similar the exorcism was to the film based on it. One would imagine it had substantially less pea soup.


1. Psycho…and Silence of the Lambs…and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Numerous movies have been based on the horrific exploits of Ed Gein, a serial killer famous for stealing bodies from graves that resembled his mother, and making furniture out of their skin. Details from his disturbing life have been used to motivate countless killers in the movies, including everyone from Norman Bates to Leatherface.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

via GIPHY

Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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