Truth is stranger than fiction, and sometimes it’s also more disturbing. Here are eight people (and one fish) who inspired the creation of cinematic bad guys.
9. Vlad III Dracula
“The Impaler” had such a reputation for violence and cruelty that his legend lives on as the granddaddy of all vampires, thanks to Bram Stoker’s novel using his name.
8. Elizabeth Bathory
This Hungarian countess with connections to Transylvanian royalty tortured and killed so many young women that legends claimed she bathed in their blood to preserve her vitality, securing her a place in vampire lore.
7. The Jersey Shore Maneater
The Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916 were the inspiration for Peter Benchley’s 1974 novel Jaws, which became Steven Spielberg’s first blockbuster… and perhaps THE first blockbuster.