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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
The Movie : A group of young people traveling through rural Texas fall prey to a family of cannibals, including Leatherface, who wears a mask made from the skin of his victims.
Real: The character Norman Bates was inspired by Ed Gein, a Wisconsin man who was arrested in 1957 for committing two murders and digging up the corpses of countless other women who reminded him of his dead mother. He skinned the bodies to make lamp shades, socks and a "woman suit" in hopes of becoming a woman. He was found to be insane and spent the rest of his life in a mental institution.
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)
The Movie : Henry is a serial killer who`s killed hundreds of people, sometimes aided by his roommate, Otis. He finds some solace in Otis`s sister, Becky.
The Real : Writer/director John McNaughton was inspired by serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, who had an accomplice named Ottis Toole and a romantic relationship with Otis` young relative (his niece, Frieda Powell). However, the movie`s killing spree is based more on Lucas` confessions than on actual fact. Lucas confessed to 600 murders, in part because the confessions led police to offer him improved conditions in jail. Most of his confessions were disproved, but Lucas was still convicted of 11 murders, including that of Powell, and spent the rest of his life in prison.
An American Haunting (2006)
The Movie: Nineteenth-century landowner John Bell and his family are tormented by an invisible entity, which targets his daughter Betsy in particular.
The Real : The movie is based on the legend of the Bell Witch, a tale that originated in Tennessee in the 1800s. It is believed by many to be a work of fiction, although the characters in the story were real. According to the tale, John Bell was poisoned by the ghost, and although the film`s marketing declared that it is "validated by the State of Tennessee as the only case in US history where a spirit has caused the death of a human being," there is no such validation on record. Some claim that The Blair Witch Project was also influenced by the story.
The Haunting in Connecticut (2009)
The Movie: The Campbell family moves to Connecticut to be near the doctor caring for their ill son, Matt. They soon realize that their new home is a former mortuary haunted by a malevolent force.
The Real: The film`s inspiration was the Parker family, who moved to Connecticut in 1986 to be close to the specialists treating their 14-year-old son, Paul, for cancer. In the basement, where Paul slept, they discovered embalming equipment that implied that the house had been a funeral home. They reported encountering unexplained phenomena, like bloody floors, disembodied voices and shadowy figures. Paul became possessed by a force that caused him to attack his family. Eventually, an exorcism was performed to cleanse the house.