Poll: The best true story horror films
An interesting question I asked some time back was what are the best true story horror films? You know, the ones like The Exorcist or The Amityville Horror? Films that are, for the most part, reportedly based on very real happenings.
Of course some of these films could be easily disputed as not true, as superstition, altered over time and through many storytellings, or just purely made up, but when you walk into that cinema and you're sold these as real, then you're already set-up for a scare, wether you like to think it's real or not real.
So let's see what you thought were the best true story horror films. I'm very surprised at the amount of titles. Despite pre-feeding the list with a few there weren't many new suggestions, in fact only one or two. Ignoring most of those that received no votes, let's look at the list in reverse order.
The Serpent and the Rainbow is one of the stories that I'm surprised received nothing and I can only assume that you haven't seen the film, or that I'm pushing the rating up because I've read the book too. No matter, no one out there gave it any love and so it's sitting in last place. Shame though as the idea of real zombification and of being buried alive is scary in itself, but then being tortured on a chair as your private parts are nailed down is equally scary!
An American Haunting, despite the poor storytelling and badly handled plot, 5% of you did find it a scary true story. I admit there were a few moments that managed to get me, but the rest of it was pretty poor and dropped the ball a number of times. It's a story that appears many times in this list, that of possession from the famous Bell Witch story over a hundred years ago.
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer also received 5% and I thought it might get a lot more. This is really a very scary film, and the portrayal of the character is, at times, rather chilling. It sees a documentary maker following a real life serial killer and becoming more and more drawn into his world.
The Entity, which we're still waiting to see if Hideo Nakata is going to remake, was a recipient of 10%. That was a freaky film when I saw it, I must admit I was attracted to the idea of seeing Barbara Hershey having sex with nothing, but then I was a teenager and these things were just hitting me. However I was soon scared out of my wits, and helped along by the marvellous practical effects that had me convinced. The very idea that something that can't be seen or stopped can have that much control and power over you is frightening indeed. The Entity tells the story of a woman who was repeatedly abused and raped by, well, an invisible entity.
The Exorcism of Emily Rose (Filmstalker review) really did frighten me, but perhaps not for the reasons that the film-makers wanted it to. I was more frightened by the way that the woman most likely died from basic neglect and lack of care in prescribing and taking drugs, and those who should have been caring for her were so caught up in their belief that devils had taken her over. Whatever the reasons, 14% of you thought that this film was a damn scary one too.
The Amityville Horror, and I would refer you to the first one for this, came in second place with 24% of the votes. That is a cold and scary story, once again the idea that something you can't see can control you and make you do some truly horrible things. Possession is a fantastic plot line for horror films, and in this story we hear the tale of the man who became possessed by an evil in the house that ordered him to kill his entire family, an order that it had already given to the previous occupant who had then slaughtered everyone in the house. The case is true, but it's the defence of the killer that there was an evil that made him do it.
However there is only one winner, and there's no real surprise, The Exorcist wins 43% of the votes and therefore this poll. The Exorcist is one of the scariest films ever, and I still think one of the scariest franchises too, but it's the first film that really sets the bar that the rest of the franchise never quite reaches - apart from that ghost in the corridor with the shears moment in the second film. This is the creepiest story around, and the fact that William Peter Blatty wrote it based on a real story of an exorcism of a young boy is even more frightening. This could really have happened.
43% - The Exorcist
24% - The Amityville Horror
14% - The Exorcism of Emily Rose
10% - The Entity
5% - Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
5% - An American Haunting
0% - The Serpent and the Rainbow
I'd say that this list is pretty spot on and I don't see it changing much since, or in the near future.