The Amityville Horror draws on the real experiences of the Lutz family during the 28 days they spent in their Amityville, N.Y., home at 112 Ocean Avenue. Thirteen months before the family moved in, Ronald DeFeo Jr. had murdered six members of his family in the house. The Lutz' experiences launched a series of books and is the basis for 11 films. Daniel Lutz, the eldest of the Lutz children, spoke about his experiences publicly for the first time in the documentary My Amityville Horror, released in 2012.
'Fire in the Sky' (1993)
Fire in the Sky retells the tale of Travis Walton, a man who claims to have been abducted by aliens on Nov. 5, 1975, while heading home to Snowflake, Ariz., with a few colleagues. Walton was missing for five days before returning. He published his experiences in a book called The Walton Experience, which was later republished and titled Fire in the Sky following the release of the movie.
Jeremy Renner plays well-known serial killer and rapist Jeffrey Dahmer in the 2002 biopic. Though the crimes portrayed are real events, the victims' names were changed.
Charlize Theron won 17 awards, including an Oscar, for her portrayal of former prostitute-turned-serial killer Aileen Wuornos. Wuornos was convicted on six counts of first-degree murder — though there was a seventh victim — and was executed in Florida in 2002.
'Open Water' (2003)
A couple left behind in the open ocean after their scuba diving group left without them isn't just the premise of Open Water, but the real story of Tom and Eileen Lonergan. The Lonergans were tourists visiting Australia's Great Barrier Reef when they were left behind Jan. 25, 1998. Experts doubt that the Lonergans shared the same fate as the characters in the film, but the couple was never found.
'The Exorcism of Emily Rose' (2005)
The story of Emily Rose is loosely based on that of Anneliese Michel, a young German woman who underwent an exorcism and later died from malnutrition and dehydration. Her parents and the priests involved were charged with negligent homicide following her death. This is director Scott Derrickson's first exorcism movie based on real events.
'Black Water' (2007)
What begins as a family vacation to the mangroves of Northern Australia ends up with a crocodile attack and a fight to survive in Black Water. The marketing for the film said that it was based on real-life events, and to an extent, that's true. The movie is inspired by a crocodile attack that happened in Northern Australia in 2003. The film used footage of real crocodiles (and some CGI) to create the vicious monsters portrayed in the embellished story.
Rider Strong and Sean Astin star in Borderland, a film that centers on three friends who head down to Mexico to celebrate their college graduation but stumble upon a cult that practices human sacrifice. The film is loosely based on the life of Adolfo Constanzo, an American-born serial killer and cult leader who moved to Mexico City as an adult where he met friends who would become his future followers.
After committing a hit-and-run where the victim becomes lodged in the windshield, a young nursing assistant named Brandi (Mena Suvari) tries to figure out her next course of action. Brandi is based on Chante Jawan Mallard, a Texan woman who hit Gregory Glen Biggs — a homeless man — and left him embedded in her windshield until he died. She was convicted and sentenced to 50 years in prison for her crime.
'The Haunting in Connecticut' (2009)
In 1986, the Snedeker family rented a home in Connecticut that turned out to be a former mortuary. Well-known demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren declared the home to be overrun by demons. The experiences of the Snedeker family provide the inspiration for what happens to the Campbell family in The Haunting in Connecticut.
'The Rite' (2011)
Colin O'Donoghue stars as Michael Kovak, whose experiences are inspired by the real life Father Gary Thomas, "one of 14 Vatican-certified exorcists working in the U.S." While studying in Rome, Thomas met journalist Matt Baglio, who wrote about Thomas' journey in The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist. Thomas helped supervise the making of the film.
'The Possession' (2012)
The Possession originated from an eBay listing for a "dybbuk box" accompanied by a horror story written by its owner Kevin Mannis. In Hebrew folklore, a dybbuk is a malicious a spirit that has the ability to haunt and possess the living.
'The Conjuring' (2013)
Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga play Ed and Lorraine Warren, demonologists known for investigating the Lutz family. The Conjuring draws on a previous case of theirs that involved a creepy doll.
'Deliver Us From Evil' (2014)
Eric Bana portrays real New York cop Ralph Sarchie, who encountered paranormal activity while working on crimes in the city. This is director Scott Derrickson's second film based on real events.