Do Horror Movies Make Real Serial Killers

A Scrap of Flesh - General Horror

Do Horror Movies Inspire Real Serial Killers

All throughout time there have been serial killers, and many of them have gained a significant amount of fame for their atrocities.  There are some popular movies which a lot of people argue are based upon real life serial killers…but are there any horror movies which have inspired real life serial killing?  Are there any serial killers who have mimicked the killings they have seen on-screen? It may be more difficult to tell, as it may be reasonable to assume these types of cases get less media attention.  This would probably be due to the likelihood that law enforcement would want to reduce the notoriety any perpetrators may be seeking by copying a slasher horror movie (and rightfully so).  But seriously: have there been any serial killers that have copied the on-screen murders we have all come to know in the fictional world of the horror movie genre?  Horror Enthusiast has dove deep into some of the darker alleyways of serial killer history to find the truth.

Serial Killers That Were Inspired By Horror Movies

Whether it is for good or evil, human beings are far great at mimicking one another; thus it is only natural some serial killers wound up following in the footsteps of their fictional, on-screen horror “heroes.” These are a few of the more notorious cases (listed in no particular order).

Martin Bryant Loved Chucky

The Child’s Play movies can be creepy. And at times, Chucky can really seem to come to life, however, breathing life into a real life serial killer seems to be an unfortunate consequence.  The Port Arthur Massacre (Bryant’s murder spree) took place between the 28th and 29th of April in 1996. Unfortunately, 35 people were killed.  It has been revealed in several interviews and investigations that Bryant had an unhealthy obsession with Chucky and specifically the second Child’s Play movie (Child’s Play 2).  He felt very strongly that the movie gave him power and he absolutely identified with and related to the murderous Chucky doll.

Thierry Jaradin Copied The Scream Movies

Scream has been so iconic and notorious for being one of the most serial killer-like movies. It is so representative of serial killing that even an American judge described it as a great way to learn to commit homicide.  That said, Thierry Jaradin chose to murder a young girl, Alisson Cambier in 2001 while wearing an actual Scream costume and with a large kitchen knife.  He muffled her voice while stabbing her a reported 30 times, leaving her body literally ripped open.  He very openly confessed to murdering her in the fashion of the famous ghostface killer from the Scream franchise and has essentially circulated rumors of a love affair between the two (reported as untrue by family members of the victim).

Barry Loukaitis Was a Huge Natural Born Killers Fan

In 1996, Barry Loukaitis entered Frontier Middle School in Moses Lake, Washington, and killed 3 people, including his Algebra teacher.  He may have been influenced by many films with school shootings, however, he identified with the horror movie Natural Born Killers. While Natural Born Killers may be only borderline horror, the entire incident was horrifying and then copied by several other student-killers moving forward in time.

Horror Movies That Were Inspired By Serial Killers

On countless occasions, serial killers grace the cover of front page news everywhere, and it has always been this way all throughout time. These real life serial killers create such a fear in their infamy that it is understandable many horror directors choose to capitalize on the big names. These are some of the more popular movies that were inspired by serial killers (listed in no particular order).

Zodiac Was Based On The Real Life Zodiac Killer

The 2006 horror-suspense The Zodiac was based on a real life zodiac killer of the same M.O.. The real life zodiac killings took place in the 1960s and 70s and unfortunately were never solved.  The Zodiac was absolutely based on a true story and the unfortunate deaths of anywhere between 5 and 37 people.  The killer himself in a series of letters sent to the police and various media agencies (newspapers, etc.), confirmed being responsible for 37 deaths, however, investigators have only officially tied 7 victims to the zodiac killer (of which only 5 were actually killed).  Supposedly, if the zodiac riddles were solved, the killer’s identity would be exposed, however, to this very day only 25 percent of the “crytpograms” have been solved.

Scream Was Based On The Gainesville Ripper

The year was 1990 and Danny Rolling of Louisiana had made his way in life to Gainesville, Florida, where he would shatter a number of lives all in one short murderous spree.  In total, five victims suffered hideous fates. They would be young University students, all female but one.  He had raped the women (all but one) and left the girls in sexually provocative positions…creating immense shock for the loved ones who found them, law enforcement and the media. The killer’s sly entry, home-invasion tactics, targeting of college students and his killing methods (knife to the back), all inspired the creators of Scream to actually write and make the movies feared today.

The Strangers Was Based On The Manson Murders

Man with scary mask giving peace sign from horror movie The Strangers

The scary movie known as “The Strangers” is another home invasion-style horror flick…however, the terror it portrays was based on the notorious murderous spree of the Manson family. The Mason family murder spree took place at the end of the 1960s and was covered extremely closely by the media.  Charles Manson, in reality, may have had some more serious motivations in mind when shooting Bernard Crowe, and murdering the rest of his victims, however, the writer of The Strangers (Bryan Bertino) has revealed his motivation behind the movie being deranged Manson-style murders.

Halloween Was Based On Real Life Killer Edmund Kemper

Edmund Kemper was a deeply disturbed individual and serial killer. He shares many similarities with Michael Myers. Although it is never directly connected to the Halloween franchise, the murderous thinking and actual serial killings of Edmund Kemper almost mimic Michael Myers.  Some even suggest the mask selected for Myers, was made to look a lot like Kemper himself.  Kemper is most notorious for killing his grand parents and mother, however, he is responsible for a total of 10 victims…most of which were sincerely disfigured.

Dahmer, and My Friend Dahmer, Were Based On Real Life Killer Jeffrey Dahmer

Very obviously some movies are named explicitly after their inspirations. Dahmer (2002) and My Friend Dahmer (2017) are two made after the truly gruesome killings of real-life Jeffrey Dahmer.  Dahmer was a social outcast who lured (usually) young gay males back to his home where they would be (sometimes) drugged, raped, murdered and normally disfigured or otherwise mutilated.  In total, 17 men and boys were targeted. The movies themselves focus on the details of the exchanges of Dahmer and his victims (Dahmer, 2002), and his early life (My Friend Dahmer, 2007).

Monster Was Based On Real Life Prostitute Killer Aileen Carol Wuornos

Monster (2003), staring Charlize Theron and Christina Ricci, focuses on the real life serial killer Aileen Carol Wuornos.  Wuornos was a prostitute from age 15, after suffering a series of unfortunate sexual and non-sexual abuse incidents scattered throughout her entire childhood life.  She would eventually shoot 7 men at point blank range in what she would describe as “self defense against rape and unwanted advances.”  Her convictions would begin rolling in during 1992 following her confessions and a lengthy investigation.

Close Relations to Serial Killers

Some movies like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, are based off of the idea of a murderer, but only loosely off of real life events. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was based off of real life “Ed Gein,” who was notorious for grave robbing. Ed Gein would steal parts of corpses (or the entire thing) and turn the pieces into furniture, clothing, masks, and other fiendish creations. The terror of the idea of such a person also being a murderer and wearing their victims flesh only seemed like the most natural step to take for film genius and the father of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Tobe Hooper. 

Some people also claim that Ted Bundy inspired American Psycho, though any true Bundy fanatic will explain that Patrick Bateman and Ted Bundy are nothing alike.  Wes Craven explained that Freddy Krueger was based upon a few different inspirations but most notably a homeless bully he remembers stalking him on his walk home. And finally, there is Stephen King’s “IT,” whom most people assume was inspired by John Wayne Gacy.  In reality, IT was inspired by a creepy bridge and the idea of a troll living underneath it…which eventually transformed into the creepy clown in the sewer instead.

Cleaver’s Final Say On Serial Killing and Horror Movies

While there may be many opportunities in the horror genre when it comes to film making, it is true some of them are merely based off of real life events. As far as serial killers being created from watching horror movies, very little evidence exists which would prove such a theory. In fact, most surveys seem to indicate that horror movie fans are typically very peaceful people.  There will always be some examples of humans copying other humans though, no matter the genre or publication; and thus it is natural that there are a few cases of serial killers manifesting the same types of slayings depicted on screen.


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