“Compliance” follows the final scam rather closely, though it adds more sexually explicit details to up the shock factor. It even includes the use of security footage to catch the creep, which is how police were able to capture Stewart.
Ed and Lorraine Warren are known as the con men of the paranormal world, exploiting the desperate for fame and recognition. But in James Wan’s “The Conjuring” franchise, the Warrens (Vera Farmiga plays Lorraine, and Patrick Wilson plays her husband, Ed) became ghost-hunting Catholic superheroes.
The second film about the Warrens, “The Conjuring 2,” is based on the case of the Enfield Poltergeist, which tormented a single mother named Peggy Hodgson and her four children in their north London home. For 18 months, Hodgson and her family claimed that they saw furniture moving by itself, heard knocks and disembodied voices, and actually levitated. The youngest daughter, Janet, played in the film by Madison Wolfe, allegedly became possessed by the poltergeist, who spoke through her and told investigators he was the ghost of Bill Wilkens, who died in the house (this was corroborated by public records).
It wasn’t just the Hodgsons who had a brush with the paranormal, either. Over 30 people, including journalists, neighbors, and other investigators, witnessed some sort of activity. However, the Warrens were not as involved in the case as “The Conjuring 2” would lead you to believe. In fact, the Warrens showed up to the house unannounced and were initially not allowed inside. Regardless, regarding the case, the real-life Ed Warren said, “Those who deal with the supernatural day in and day out know the phenomena are there — there’s no doubt about it.”
“Fire in the Sky” is an alien abduction film based on the book “The Walton Experience,” which was written by Travis Walton, an actual alien abductee. Walton was a logger who, along with his coworkers, discovered a saucer-shaped flying object floating in the woods. He made the questionable decision to approach it and was subsequently brought inside the vessel via a bright beam of light. This was witnessed by his co-workers, who drove away in fear. While in the ship, Walton says he fought small, bald creatures until a human being calmed him down and placed a mask over his face, knocking him out. Walton woke up five days later on the side of a highway.
“The Snowtown Murders” is a grisly biopic about the actual Snowtown killings, which were also known as the “Bodies in Barrels” murders. These crimes were not the work of just one person, but rather a group of four who became some of Australia’s most infamous serial killers: John Bunting, Robert Wagner, James Vlassakis, and Mark Haydon, who helped dispose of the bodies.
Between 1992 and 1999, Bunting, Wagner, and Vlassakis tortured and killed 12 people, then disposed of their dismembered remains in barrels. Unlike most serial killers, the trio killed people they knew. Specifically, they targeted friends and family members who Bunting declared weak, particularly pedophiles and those who identified as gay. Before killing them, however, the men tortured their victims, crushing their genitals and breaking toes with pliers. Their final victim was Haydon’s wife, who Bunting thought was too promiscuous; Haydon didn’t express any remorse or grief over her death.
“The Snowtown Murders” director Justin Kurzel captures the increasingly horrific specifics of the case in intimate detail, never sugarcoating or trying to soften the horrendous story.
If you’re looking for the most disturbing film on this list, “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” is it. It features a fictionalized version of Henry Lee Lucas, a serial killer active from 1960 to 1963 who was also known as the One-Eyed Drifter Killer and the Confession Killer.
In total, Lucas was convicted for three murders and was assumed to have committed eight others; he claimed that he’d killed hundreds. Lucas is the epitome of a drifter killer, meaning that he moved from place to place, killing at random, which made it more difficult to apprehend him. But Lucas didn’t just murder; he raped, robbed, attempted to kidnap children, and committed many other horrific crimes. He kept company with people like Ottis Toole (played Tom Towles), a large and intimidating drug dealer who became his accomplice.
“Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” is so frightening because it is filmed like a home movie, complete with a shaky camera and grainy footage that makes it feel like a video tape you’d find buried in a closet. Michael Rooker plays Lucas, and his actions feel quite real, making the experience akin to watching a snuff film.
William Friedkin’s 1973 horror classic “The Exorcist” is often cited as one of the scariest movies of all time. What makes it even scarier is that it is based on the actual exorcism of Roland Doe in 1949 (Roland Doe is not the boy’s real name, but the one used to protect his family’s privacy).
While Roland becomes Regan in the film, Friedkin said that most of the film’s events were actually observed by Doe’s family during the possession, as verified by those involved. He also consulted the journals of the priests who performed Doe’s exorcism to ensure that he got the details right. Strange things started happening to Doe’s family after the death of his aunt Harriet, with whom Doe was very close. As an only child, Doe clung to Harriet, who introduced him to Ouija boards and spiritualism. After her passing, objects would levitate and fly across the room when Doe was nearby.
As the possession got worse, a number of exorcisms were performed on Doe. One was halted after Doe ripped a box spring out of a mattress and sliced a priest’s arm open. During the final, and successful, exorcism, strange marks appeared on Doe’s body, he broke a priest’s nose, and his head reportedly spun around (although that was never corroborated). These days, however, Doe’s case is thought to be a fake, merely a case of a mentally ill teenager.
The Zodiac Killer terrorized the San Francisco Bay area in the late ’60s, killing a confirmed five people, though he claimed in cryptic notes to have killed 37. Even more terrifying, the Zodiac Killer was never caught. David Fincher took that bone-chilling story and adapted it into the 2007 film “Zodiac,” which documents the lives of the men who became obsessed with trying to solve the case. Political cartoonist Robert Graysmith (played by Jake Gyllenhaal), journalist Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr.), and Detective David Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) were all real people who were deeply involved in the hunt for the Zodiac Killer, and became fixated on catching the perpetrator.
This content was originally published here.