When watching any horror or psychological thriller movie, especially if it is one where people get killed, the first thing that pops into your head is, “God! I am glad it is just a movie!” But what if it isn’t?
In this article, we will review some of the most horrifying serial killer movies that were actually based on true stories. In a perfect world, none of us could get killed or stalked or end up as another human being’s prey. However, in our far-from-being-perfect world, there are absolutely no limits to what a disturbed individual can do.
My Friend Dahmer (2017)
Based on the life of one of our most dangerous serial killers, Ross Lynch portrays Jeffrey Dahmer, the awkward, shy, and disturbed teenager who ended up as a serial killer. The movie is based on the graphic novel written by Dahmer’s high school colleague, John’ Derf’ Backderf, who knew the real Jeffrey Dahmer in school. When we think of all the factors that create murderers, or serial killers, a serious question is brought to the table: Is a serial killer born or made? In Dahmer’s case, it is a combination of both.
A typical child was raised in a seemingly ordinary home; however, it was far from normal. Dahmer’s childhood, the scientific activities he used to do with his father when they bleached the bones of dead animals they found under their house, his parents’ divorce, and his mother’s mental illness all paved the way for him to become a serial killer, a cannibal and a rapist.
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile (2019)
“Extremely wicked, shockingly evil and vile.” these were the words that the court judge used to describe serial killer Ted Bundy’s horrific murders in his trial. The movie presents a thread of Ted Bundy’s murders from the point of view of his girlfriend, Liz. Ted Bundy was a handsome, fun and intelligent man, making it impossible for those who knew him to believe he could commit such brutal crimes. During the 1970s or probably earlier, Bundy kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and killed several women in many states, such as Florida, Oregon, Washington, and Utah.
Ted Bundy as a child, was shy and often bullied because of that. However, he had some excellent social skills and was brilliant, which helped him lead a successful career. In addition, Bundy was capable of maintaining healthy and seemingly normal relationships with many women, making it harder for people to believe what he did. Although he only confessed to murdering 28 people, it is thought that he was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of others. He was finally executed in the electric chair in Florida in 1989.
Wolf Creek (2005)
Wolf Creek is one of these movies that can easily get under your skin! But it gets even worse when you know it is based on horrific events. The movie shares the story of three backpackers who were returning from a hike in Wolf Creek National Park located in the Australian Outback.
The three young people came back to find their car not working and that they were in the position to accept help from who seemed to be a lovely man. However, when they woke up the following day, let us just say, “The nice man is no longer nice!”. The tortures and killings in the movie are fierce enough to make you lock your door and stay in for days. So, what about what really happened in Wolf Creek? Multiple stories inspired the plot of the movie.
One of these stories occurred in the Northern Territory, two thousand kilometres from Wolf Creek. Peter Falconio and Joanne Lees were British tourists travelling at night on the Stuart Highway heading to Darwin. Not long before, a man called Bradly John Murdoch stopped them on the road, claiming that he noticed sparks coming out of their van. When Peter went with Murdoch to check what was happening, Joanne heard a gunshot. She soon found Murdoch standing at her window, pointing his gun at her, bound her hand and dragged her into his vehicle.
Joanne, however, managed to escape and hide till the man lost all hope in finding her, and he was later caught by the police and sentenced to 28 years in prison in December 2005. Peter’s body has not been found yet, and no one knows what really happened to him. The couple’s true story was documented in Joanne’s book, The Only True Story, published in 2006.
Another story that took place in New South Wales is also a perfect match to what happened in Wolf Creek. In the 1990s, a serial killer called Ivan Milat used to pick up hitchhikers, torture them in the woods and brutally kill them. Ivan Milat was also sentenced to life in prison.
To multiply the horror, let us face the fact that a real-life brutal serial killer also inspired Scream. Although the movie’s events occur in the fictional town of Woodsboro, California, where a teenage girl and her high school friends are stalked and killed by a masked serial killer, the writer was inspired by a real serial killer called Danny Rolling. Dany Rolling was also known as the Gainesville Ripper, a brutal serial killer who used to mutilate his victims and put them in weird sexual positions. In 1990, Rolling killed five students, spreading horror in Florida.
There is no doubt that Charlize Theron shocked the whole world with her look in Monster in 2003. However, she only did that to perfectly portray the life of the struggling young woman, Aileen Wuornos, who proved that not only men are capable of committing horrific crimes. The movie sheds light on Aileen’s painful childhood and what she had to endure.
When she was only 14 years old, she was raped by her grandfather’s friend, became pregnant, and her baby was put up for adoption. She worked as a prostitute to men, although she had a female girlfriend, and ended up shooting seven middle-aged white men and then robbing them and stealing their cars. Though she was not the first American female serial killer, she is considered to be the first woman to put down her victims using a gun.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
This one is definitely among many people’s favourite movies. The Silence of the Lambs tells the story of a serial killer, Buffalo Bill, who has a sick desire to kidnap overweight women, locks them in a chamber filled with human flesh, and eventually kills them to create bodysuits out of their skin. Ed Gein was the serial killer who inspired the making of this character. He used to make dishes out of his victims’ skulls, drink from them, and sit on chairs made of bones.
The Frozen Ground (2013)
This frightening thriller is based on the true story of serial killer Robert Hansen, who was also known as the Butcher Baker. The brutal killer used to kidnap young women, rape and torture them simply, and then set them free in the woods of Alaska, only to hunt them as he hunts animals.
In this movie, Nicolas Cage plays the role of an Alaska State Trooper who cooperates with a 17-year-old young girl who managed to escape Hansen’s madness after he tortured and brutally raped her right before killing her. It is worth mentioning that Hansen used to prey on prostitutes; he believed they were inferior and wanted to get rid of them and also avenge his younger self, as many women rejected him. Hansen managed to lead a normal life; he was married with little kids, loved by his community, and respected by all. It is absolutely terrifying what a regular face can hide.
It is kind of overwhelming to accept these horrific acts as actual events. It is terrifying and sickening to think about what these serial killers’ victims had to endure before they left our world. Also, it is hard to protect oneself from these disturbed individuals. However, it is also important not to make yourself an easy catch by following simple and easy steps.
To name a few, you can start avoiding roaming narrow streets by yourself, do not accept help or get into a car with a stranger, always have an eye for the minor red flags in those you think you know, and most importantly, never believe that you know someone as you think you do. It is crucial always to trust your guts and the chills you get when meeting someone, even if they sound “nice”. Stay safe out there; you can never know which creep’s killing list you are on!