It should come as no surprise to anyone with even a modicum of skepticism that most “fact-based” horror movies play very, very loose with the events they claim to have been inspired by. Nevertheless, the “Based on a True Story” trend continues unabated to this day, and is in fact more prevalent than ever.
In advance of this weekend's supposedly fact-based horror/thriller “Backcountry” — which centers on an urban couple being terrorized by a black bear during a camping trip — we've taken a look back at ten previous horror films “inspired by” real-life events to see how closely they adhere to the stories they're allegedly based on.
To be clear: only films marketed as such apply here. While classic fright films like “The Exorcist” and “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” were rumored to be based on real events, claims of truthfulness were never made in their respective marketing campaigns. The latter in particular may have suggested as much with its gritty aesthetic, news reporter-style trailer voiceover and oddly-worded “What happened was true” tagline (the film was actually inspired by the crimes of notorious serial killer Ed Gein), but no factual basis was ever overtly maintained.
So will any of the films listed withstand the light of scrutiny? Check out our rundown below (in order of least to most truthful), from the 1976 slasher “The Town That Dreaded Sundown” to the 2009 supernatural horror flick “The Haunting in Connecticut.”