Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black And the dark street winds and bends. Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow, And watch where the chalk-white arrows go To the place where the sidewalk ends.
Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow, And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go, For the children, they mark, and the children, they know The place where the sidewalk ends.
- Shel Silverstein
Hollywood seems to never run out of ideas for the latest and greatest movies being produced and there is a reason. Many of the well-known horror movies to date are actually based on true crimes and notorious murders who have left their harsh mark on reality. Here is the surprising truth behind these films that will leave any horror film fan shaking to their core.
The movie it inspired: The Face of an Angel
The 2011 film, starring Hayden Panettiere as Amanda Knox, is based on the murder of exchange student Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy. The film has been updated noting the subsequent acquittal of Knox and Sollecito on appeal.
The movie it inspired: American Gangster
Lucas was a narcotics trafficker who operated in Harlem from the 196os to the 1970s. He is notoriously known for having smuggled illegal substances using the coffins of dead American servicemen. Interestingly enough, Lucas appeared on set during filming American Gangster to provide advice such as how he carried his gun.
The movie it inspired: All Good Things
Starring Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst, All Good Things was inspired by the life of the accused murderer Robert Durst. Durst is suspected of having murdered three people, including his first wife Kathleen McCormack Durst. Durst’s next trial date is scheduled for 2020.
John du Pont
The movie it inspired: Foxcatcher
At the time of his murder, Dave Schultz was one of America’s most accomplished Olympic wrestlers. On January 26, 1996, Schultz was murdered in cold blood by John du Pont, who used his fortune to run one of the premier wrestling training champions in the world. No one was ever really sure why du Pont did what he did. Schultz’s wife was asked by the 9-1-1 operator why du Pont had done it, she replied, “Because he’s insane!”
The movie it inspired: Wolf Creek
Murdoch had plenty of run-ins with the law throughout his life. In 2003, the same year he was acquitted for abuse and abduction charges, Murdoch was arrested and charged with the murder of English backpacker Peter Falconio.
The West Memphis Three
The movie it inspired: Devil’s Knot
Adopted from Mara Leveritt’s 2002 book of the same name, Devil’s Knot is about the true story of three murdered children and the three teenagers, known as the West Memphis Three, who were convicted of killing them. Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley received life sentences without parole and Damien Echols received the death penalty.
Bonnie & Clyde
The movie it inspired: Bonnie and Clyde
Probably the most notorious criminal couple to have ever traveled the United States robbing banks and gas stations. Bonnie and Clyde murdered at least nine police officers and four civilians. The 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde glamorized the pair with a romantic aura.
Steven Jay Russell
The movie it inspired: I Love You Phillip Morris
Russell is a con artist who escaped from prison multiple times. While incarcerated, Russell fell in love with fellow inmate, Phillip Morris. Russell escaped prison four times to be reunited with Morris after his partner was released. His crimes were also featured on the television show I Almost Got Away with It in an episode titled “Got A Boyfriend to Support.”
The movie it inspired: 10 Rillington Place
The film dramatizes British serial killer John Christie. He murdered at least eight people, including his wife, Ethel, by strangling them in his apartment at 10 Rillington Place, London. Christie moved out of his flat, but soon afterward three of his victims were discovered in the alcove in the kitchen. Two other victims were found in the garden, and his wife was found beneath the floorboards.
Karla Homolka & Paul Bernardo
The movie it inspired: Karla
The 2006 physiological thriller is based on the crimes of Canadian serial killers Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka. Karla and her husband abused and murdered at least three minors, as well as her sister, Tammy, which the two recorded.
The movie it inspired: Berdella
Also known as the Kansas City Butcher and The Collector, Berdella kidnapped, abused, tortured, and murdered at least six men between 1985 and 1987. He would force his victims to endure weeks of captivity before they met their grisly end. Berdella described his murders as being “some of my darkest fantasies becoming my reality.”
Richard Hickock & Perry Smith
The movie it inspired: In Cold Blood
The 1967 crime film was based on Truman Capote’s nonfiction book of the same name. It’s about two murderers, Richard Hickock and Perry Smith, who break into the wealthy Clutter family home to steal money. In order to leave no witnesses, they murdered the whole Clutter family, including their two teenage daughters.