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Behind the Horror: True Stories That Inspired Horror Movies

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Uncover the twisted tales that inspired the big screen's greatest screams. Which case of demonic possession inspired The Exorcist? What horrifying front-page story generated the idea for A Nightmare on Elm Street? Which film was inspired by an 18th-century Japanese folktale? Unearth the terrifying and true tales behind some of the scariest Horror movies to ever haunt our sc Uncover the twisted tales that inspired the big screen's greatest screams. Which case of demonic possession inspired The Exorcist? What horrifying front-page story generated the idea for A Nightmare on Elm Street? Which film was inspired by an 18th-century Japanese folktale? Unearth the terrifying and true tales behind some of the scariest Horror movies to ever haunt our screens, including the Enfield poltergeist case that was retold in The Conjuring 2 and the creepy doll that inspired Chucky in Child's Play. Behind the Horror dissects these and other bizarre tales to reveal haunting real-life stories of abduction, disappearance, murder, and exorcism.


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Uncover the twisted tales that inspired the big screen's greatest screams. Which case of demonic possession inspired The Exorcist? What horrifying front-page story generated the idea for A Nightmare on Elm Street? Which film was inspired by an 18th-century Japanese folktale? Unearth the terrifying and true tales behind some of the scariest Horror movies to ever haunt our sc Uncover the twisted tales that inspired the big screen's greatest screams. Which case of demonic possession inspired The Exorcist? What horrifying front-page story generated the idea for A Nightmare on Elm Street? Which film was inspired by an 18th-century Japanese folktale? Unearth the terrifying and true tales behind some of the scariest Horror movies to ever haunt our screens, including the Enfield poltergeist case that was retold in The Conjuring 2 and the creepy doll that inspired Chucky in Child's Play. Behind the Horror dissects these and other bizarre tales to reveal haunting real-life stories of abduction, disappearance, murder, and exorcism.

30 review for Behind the Horror: True Stories That Inspired Horror Movies

  1. 4 out of 5

    Johann (jobis89)

    “As for the doll, it remains in the Warrens’ museum to this day, inside a case marked “Warning, positively do not open.”” Is there anything more terrifying/exciting than when you’re watching a horror movie that is based on a true story?? There’s a certain thrill associated with exposing yourself to such movies - will I be able to separate myself from the horror or will I not sleep tonight?! Behind the Horror is a book that will appeal to horror movie fans, as well as true crime fanatics and those “As for the doll, it remains in the Warrens’ museum to this day, inside a case marked “Warning, positively do not open.”” Is there anything more terrifying/exciting than when you’re watching a horror movie that is based on a true story?? There’s a certain thrill associated with exposing yourself to such movies - will I be able to separate myself from the horror or will I not sleep tonight?! Behind the Horror is a book that will appeal to horror movie fans, as well as true crime fanatics and those who enjoy the paranormal - and if you happen to love all of those, like myself, then it will feel like the holy grail. In each chapter, Dr Lee Mellor tackles a different horror movie that is inspired by a real life story. First and foremost, there are spoilers for the horror movies that Mellor is discussing, so you’ve been warned! Luckily I had already seen most of the movies covered, and those that I haven’t seen I didn’t care too much about reading the plot. Each chapter opens with a short summary of the movie in question, before Mellor delves into the surrounding background. Numerous famous movies and cases are explored, from The Exorcist, Jaws and The Conjuring to the crimes of Ted Bundy, the exorcism of “Roland Doe” and the Salem witch trials. And shout out to my faves Ed and Lorraine Warren who made a few appearances! But there were also a few less popular ones that I had never heard of before, such as the Texarkana moonlight murders and the Gainesville Ripper. All very interesting. I enjoyed revisiting the stories and movies that I know so well, in addition to learning some new facts and trivia that I can slide up my sleeve for future reference. I’d definitely recommend! Oh, and there’s pictures included! Always a bonus. 4 stars.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Daviau

    This is an absolute must read for any horror and/or true crime fan. I was completely hooked from the very first page, I couldn’t get enough of this book. Getting to see the true crime and other origins of some of my favourite horror movies was truly fascinating! I didn’t know any of the facts presented in this book, I’ve never delved into where the movies I love so much came from before. It was all new information for me and my mind absolutely was blown by what I was reading. It’s fascinating to This is an absolute must read for any horror and/or true crime fan. I was completely hooked from the very first page, I couldn’t get enough of this book. Getting to see the true crime and other origins of some of my favourite horror movies was truly fascinating! I didn’t know any of the facts presented in this book, I’ve never delved into where the movies I love so much came from before. It was all new information for me and my mind absolutely was blown by what I was reading. It’s fascinating to see how closely horror and true crime are related in some cases, I honestly had no idea. I really loved reading where the more supernatural/religious movies like The Exorcist came from as well, once again, all new information for me. I really, truly couldn’t have enjoyed this book more and I can’t stress enough how much you should read this book if you’re into horror and true crime!

  3. 5 out of 5

    ❤️

    This is a fun crossover between horror and true crime. If you're really into horror, you may already know a lot of what this book has to offer, but there were things even I was only vaguely familiar with, if at all, regarding the full details. It's a succinct little book, but still gives a really good amount of all the essential info of each case it discusses, and even when Mellor discussed how most of the paranormal cases have since been debunked he did so without diminishing the impact those st This is a fun crossover between horror and true crime. If you're really into horror, you may already know a lot of what this book has to offer, but there were things even I was only vaguely familiar with, if at all, regarding the full details. It's a succinct little book, but still gives a really good amount of all the essential info of each case it discusses, and even when Mellor discussed how most of the paranormal cases have since been debunked he did so without diminishing the impact those stories had on the horror genre. If you like horror movies, or learning about true crime, and especially if you like both, this is definitely a worthwhile little book to read. Although, do keep in mind that it does spoil each film it talks about.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sean Kennedy

    There wasn’t really much here I didn’t already know but it was fun to have in one book. The main issue were small little mistakes about the films themselves. Yes, they were minor ones but enough to make me wonder how the author made them in the first place and how nobody else picked up on them in proof reading. An example being that Scream apparently starts off with the murder of a ‘babysitter’.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Scott Rhee

    Did you know that: ****Wes Craven came up with the idea for “A Nightmare on Elm Street” after reading about a real-life epidemic of mysterious sleeping deaths. Primarily occurring in males from Southeast Asia, Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome (SUNDS) is exactly what it sounds like: dying suddenly in one’s sleep. There are many different causes for this, including pre-existing heart disease, but Craven wondered if it couldn’t also be some strange guy in an ugly sweater with knives for h Did you know that: ****Wes Craven came up with the idea for “A Nightmare on Elm Street” after reading about a real-life epidemic of mysterious sleeping deaths. Primarily occurring in males from Southeast Asia, Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome (SUNDS) is exactly what it sounds like: dying suddenly in one’s sleep. There are many different causes for this, including pre-existing heart disease, but Craven wondered if it couldn’t also be some strange guy in an ugly sweater with knives for hands jumping inexplicably into your subconscious and killing you in your dream. Who’s to say it isn’t? ****A real-life shark attack in Beach Haven, New Jersey in 1916 left four dead and one seriously injured. Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws” (and the Peter Benchley novel it was based on) was loosely based on this incident. Also, the story that Quint (Robert Shaw) relates in the movie about the USS Indianapolis is a true story. During World War II, in the Pacific, the U.S. battleship was sunk by a Japanese submarine. Of the crew of 1195 men, roughly 900 survived the bombing. Unfortunately, in the days that followed, the splashing and bleeding survivors attracted numerous sharks, and a feeding frenzy began. Not even four days later, when rescue finally arrived, only 316 men were left alive. ****Anthony Hopkin’s Oscar-winning performance of the sociopathic but charming Dr. Hannibal Lecter is a composite character based on three famous serial killers: a Mexican doctor named Alfredo Trevino who killed and dismembered his lover and buried the body parts in a small box; Russia’s most famous serial killer, Andrei Chikatilo, who was arrested and executed for the murders (and cannibalization) of 53 women and children; and “The Monster of Florence”, an Italian serial killer alleged to have killed 14 people whose identity is still unknown today. ****The 1979 film “The Amityville Horror” was all bullshit. Based on a book by Jay Anson claiming to be a true story, the truth behind the film is even crazier. The Lutz family bought the famous house in 1975 for a great deal, mainly due to the fact that the previous owners were murdered in it. Over many nights of wine-drinking and telling wild ghost stories, the Lutzes and a lawyer named William Weber decided to have Anson write a book about their “paranormal experience” in the house. Weber admitted years later that the whole thing was “a hoax” with the sole purpose of making money. The fact that gullible people still believe that the house is haunted is testament to the fact that everybody loves a good ghost story. These are just a few of the many cool “true stories” behind some classic horror films in Dr. Lee Mellor’s “Behind the Horror”. I could go on and on—-especially about the numerous pre-war German serial killers that formed the basis for Fritz Lang’s classic 1931 film “M: A City Searches for a Murderer” or the real-life exorcism that was the basis for William Friedkin’s “The Exorcist”—-but I don’t want to give all the fun away. And this book is, especially for horror fans, a lot of fun.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Miriam

    5 stars audio 5+++++ riveting and enlightening stars story

  7. 5 out of 5

    ~Madison

    It was good! Some chapters were super disturbing and it made me not be able to read this at night lol

  8. 4 out of 5

    Stacey-Lea

    3.5 stars Behind the Horror was far more analytical than I thought it might be and less focused on the film aspect as I had hoped. I still found majority of the book intriguing but a few of the chapters definitely slowed me down in the factual depths Dr Lee Millor went into. Still a fascinating read for those of us with the morbid curiosities of true horror stories and the love of horror film. I've rounded this up to four stars purely for the chapters on The Silence of the Lambs,Scream (though I 3.5 stars Behind the Horror was far more analytical than I thought it might be and less focused on the film aspect as I had hoped. I still found majority of the book intriguing but a few of the chapters definitely slowed me down in the factual depths Dr Lee Millor went into. Still a fascinating read for those of us with the morbid curiosities of true horror stories and the love of horror film. I've rounded this up to four stars purely for the chapters on The Silence of the Lambs,Scream (though I was confused about the apparent opening murder being that of a babysitter?), and The Witch and The Lighthouse. Which were all toward the end finally moving me through the book a lot faster because of my love for these films.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Natalie 8luebird

    True Crime/ Horror will never cease to be the thing that terrifies me the most. For me, nothing is scarier than reality and when reading this book, I genuinely found myself scared shitless. It’s the unknown. The invasion of safe space. The unpredictability of (hu)man. The idea that someone could gain your trust, infiltrate your life, and then take it. It’s the depth of darkness and depravity that dwells in the human mind. And how that may manifest. It’s the tangibility. The possibility. The simpl True Crime/ Horror will never cease to be the thing that terrifies me the most. For me, nothing is scarier than reality and when reading this book, I genuinely found myself scared shitless. It’s the unknown. The invasion of safe space. The unpredictability of (hu)man. The idea that someone could gain your trust, infiltrate your life, and then take it. It’s the depth of darkness and depravity that dwells in the human mind. And how that may manifest. It’s the tangibility. The possibility. The simple actuality that you are governed entirely by uncontrollable circumstance. You may wake up one day for it be to your last, and yet be completely oblivious. For all the fear it inspired in me, I found Behind the Horror fascinating and exhilarating. When people ask why we enjoy horror and true crime, the answer comes from science. The biochemical reaction that is piston triggered by fear releases a heady, euphoric rush of adrenaline, dopamine and endorphins (which is extremely valuable to a person who is naturally low on these), acting on the opiate receptors in our brains to encourage pleasure and pain relief. Sexy! Whilst providing a suitable sense of shit scared (but safe) satisfaction, this book is actually very informative without being overbearing. There are brief, spoiler inclusive, summaries of the films before the author delves into their individual inspirations. The inclusion of photographs (which I viewed by daylight) was a brilliant touch that allowed for the truly terrifying experience of matching a murderous mystery to an actual face that would be seared into the brain before creeping into your dreams that very night. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Though I did end up checking the locks and under the bed just in case. I recommend it to all horror fans.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Hyzie

    I feel like I might have enjoyed this more if I hadn't audiobooked it? I've been listening to a lot of true crime AND horror movie podcasts, so this seemed like exactly what I needed next, but the voice and delivery was really dry for the content and it made it hard to stay focused. The lack of an introduction also really threw me. I'm used to a bit of "hey, here's what's going on and why I wrote this" and this dove straight into the first story. I actually backed up the audiobook because I thou I feel like I might have enjoyed this more if I hadn't audiobooked it? I've been listening to a lot of true crime AND horror movie podcasts, so this seemed like exactly what I needed next, but the voice and delivery was really dry for the content and it made it hard to stay focused. The lack of an introduction also really threw me. I'm used to a bit of "hey, here's what's going on and why I wrote this" and this dove straight into the first story. I actually backed up the audiobook because I thought I'd somehow skipped a chapter. The stories chosen are interesting, though occasionally I found the connections to the movies a little bit of a stretch. Maybe there was some inspiration drawn, but I didn't really think it was the story "behind" some of these. Obviously others were exactly what was behind the story, including all the stuff about the Warrens, but I did occasionally forget what movie I was supposed to be hearing the story behind. Overall, it's an interesting selection of true crime and horror connections and I might pick it back up as a book to see if I get more out of it without the oddly calm voice of the narrator.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    Review to come.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Matt Graupman

    I’m a huge horror fan. My mother is not. I remember having a conversation with her once when I was young where she said that she didn’t like the genre because she didn’t want to be reminded that those sorts of things happen. Being a know-it-all teenager, I’m sure I gave her a dismissive roll of the eyes and thought to myself, “yeah right, like there’s someone out there who would actually murder a person, skin them, and wear their face, like in ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’” (you know, for exampl I’m a huge horror fan. My mother is not. I remember having a conversation with her once when I was young where she said that she didn’t like the genre because she didn’t want to be reminded that those sorts of things happen. Being a know-it-all teenager, I’m sure I gave her a dismissive roll of the eyes and thought to myself, “yeah right, like there’s someone out there who would actually murder a person, skin them, and wear their face, like in ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’” (you know, for example). She was right (of course) because there wasn’t a PERSON that would do something like that but, rather, a whole bunch of PEOPLE. And you can read aaaaaaall about them in Dr. Lee Mellor’s “Behind The Horror: True Stories That Inspired Horror Movies.” This book dissects the inspirations - some well known, some not so much - for a selection of classic horror films, from “Psycho” to “The Silence Of The Lambs” to “Scream” to “The Conjuring” to “The Lighthouse,” and hits harder than those movies simply because this stuff is all REAL. It’s fascinating! It’s disturbing! It’s a must read for all horror fans!!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    As a true crime and horror fan this book was an obvious choice for me and it was so, so good! I've always said if a horror film scares me then that is how I rate it as being good and as you can imagine ones inspired by true events are usually very highly rated by me because if a horror film could actually happen in real life then that is the pinnacle of fear in my opinion so to learn about the actual crimes that inspired some of my all time favourite horror films was so interesting. Each chapter As a true crime and horror fan this book was an obvious choice for me and it was so, so good! I've always said if a horror film scares me then that is how I rate it as being good and as you can imagine ones inspired by true events are usually very highly rated by me because if a horror film could actually happen in real life then that is the pinnacle of fear in my opinion so to learn about the actual crimes that inspired some of my all time favourite horror films was so interesting. Each chapter in this great non-fic read is based on a different horror film and goes into detail about the cases that inspired the directors and writers of iconic horror films when they were working on them to help create the films we know today. It was incredibly interesting and filled with so many facts and so much information to really help you delve into the cases. Overall, I highly recommend this book if you are a fan of true crime and horror!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Karen Bullock

    Quite possibly the coolest non fiction book I have come across this year, combining my two literary loves: horror & true crime. 17 horror movies discussed and the very informative true life experiences that inspired these block buster hits. Some are based off of heinous crimes and the serial killers we’ve watched countless documentaries on, whereas others fall under the scope of paranormal, and the strange and unusual. If you love scary movies and true crime, and parapsychology? this is a book you Quite possibly the coolest non fiction book I have come across this year, combining my two literary loves: horror & true crime. 17 horror movies discussed and the very informative true life experiences that inspired these block buster hits. Some are based off of heinous crimes and the serial killers we’ve watched countless documentaries on, whereas others fall under the scope of paranormal, and the strange and unusual. If you love scary movies and true crime, and parapsychology? this is a book you shouldn’t miss! Grateful to have found this gem.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Goodwin

    A well-researched collection of true crime incidents that served as inspiration for some of the greatest horror movies of all time. Mellor has an easy and unpretentious writing style sprinkled with wry humour to sometimes counteract the incredibly bleak and violent subject matter. The tales, and often hoaxes, behind the poltergeist- inspired films, such as 'Poltergeist' and the 'Amityville Horror' are the weaker chapters, but overall, this was an enjoyable page-turner. A well-researched collection of true crime incidents that served as inspiration for some of the greatest horror movies of all time. Mellor has an easy and unpretentious writing style sprinkled with wry humour to sometimes counteract the incredibly bleak and violent subject matter. The tales, and often hoaxes, behind the poltergeist- inspired films, such as 'Poltergeist' and the 'Amityville Horror' are the weaker chapters, but overall, this was an enjoyable page-turner.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Missy (myweereads)

    “There is nothing scarier than a true story” Behind The Horror by Dr Lee Mellor is an in-depth look at the true stories which influenced the horror movies we have all come to know and enjoy. He takes each movie and relates it to the true events which inspired the stories to be told. A lot of the movies mentioned are well known to me from watching and enjoying them and it’s true the moment you see the phrase “based on a true story” it adds that whole new element of horror. Movies such as Jaws, Psyc “There is nothing scarier than a true story” Behind The Horror by Dr Lee Mellor is an in-depth look at the true stories which influenced the horror movies we have all come to know and enjoy. He takes each movie and relates it to the true events which inspired the stories to be told. A lot of the movies mentioned are well known to me from watching and enjoying them and it’s true the moment you see the phrase “based on a true story” it adds that whole new element of horror. Movies such as Jaws, Psycho, The Exorcist, The Amityville Horror, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Silence Of The Lambs and The Mothman Prophecies are the ones I knew a little bit about their background. There are many more the author looks into and the specific facts were quite surprising to me. The book is a horror fans dream, I know I do it if I watch or read something I’ve enjoyed I will turn to google and start my own investigation on how the story came together 😆 that’s exactly what this book does for you. Some facts were maybe new to you and some you may already know. I was surprised by a few which were mentioned like The Witch and The Lighthouse. A fun read I would definitely recommend and thanks to @jobis89 for putting this on my radar 🖤

  17. 4 out of 5

    Madeleine Hernandez-g

    " As for the doll, it remains in the Warrens' museum to this day, inside a case marked 'Warning, positively do not open'. " (Annabelle, 2014) I'm rating this more on my overall experience than on the book, because since I knew the author would spoil all of the movies mentioned, I figured it was a great opportunity to watch all 21 of them. I'm so glad I did, because most of them are classic horror movies that I've been wanting to watch for years! I've always loved horror movies, but now I'm obsess " As for the doll, it remains in the Warrens' museum to this day, inside a case marked 'Warning, positively do not open'. " (Annabelle, 2014) I'm rating this more on my overall experience than on the book, because since I knew the author would spoil all of the movies mentioned, I figured it was a great opportunity to watch all 21 of them. I'm so glad I did, because most of them are classic horror movies that I've been wanting to watch for years! I've always loved horror movies, but now I'm obsessed 👻. My favorites to watch were: Psycho (1960) The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) (so disturbing!) A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) The Silence of the Lambs (1991) Scream (1996) The ones that I liked the least were The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976), Annabelle (2014), and The Lighthouse (2019). I liked reading about serial killers, hauntings and shark attacks, but the writing wasn't the best. I also noticed there was a mistake about the movie Scream. It said that the opening scene was the murder of a babysitter, but if you watched the movie, you know that the girl is not a babysitter at all. Here is another quote that I liked: "Beginning at 10:30 p.m., the ensemble held three séances, with most in attendance reportedly experiencing noxious and highly disturbing phenomena. Among the guests' many vague pronouncements, Lorraine Warren was unequivocal: 'Whatever is here is, in my estimation, most definitely of a negative nature. It has nothing to do with anyone who had once walked the earth in human form. It is right from the bowels of the earth... It doesn't have to stay here, but I think it's a resting place.' " (The Amityville Horror, 1979)

  18. 5 out of 5

    John Williams

    Excellent material, written at arms length The book covered a much more broad set of material than I expected. I anticipated the stories about serial killers. I did not expect the history of the Vietnam war and an exploration of the cultural link between goats and Satan. That said, the author’s tone is often distant, nearly academic. And the background material on ghost movies is somewhat redundant, drawing so much (as he does) on the work of Ed and Lorraine Warren. I think I have read more than Excellent material, written at arms length The book covered a much more broad set of material than I expected. I anticipated the stories about serial killers. I did not expect the history of the Vietnam war and an exploration of the cultural link between goats and Satan. That said, the author’s tone is often distant, nearly academic. And the background material on ghost movies is somewhat redundant, drawing so much (as he does) on the work of Ed and Lorraine Warren. I think I have read more than enough about the Warrens to suit me.

  19. 5 out of 5

    David Veith

    Fun read. I really like the section on Jaws, I remember reading on some of the shark attacks (the ones in the river, but not the ones on the shore) and I did not know the movie was based on those. I have read books on serial killers so that was a lot of info I had already read, but still fun to read again. I also like the section on Wolf Creek, just scary to think how things can go sideways.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jen Hunt

    I really enjoyed this book. There were only a few stories that I felt could have used a bit more of cohesive story transition. I appreciated the author’s format for the stories. There were a lot of movies that I thought were just fiction! i was shocked to learn about some of the stories. Def recommend. Fascinating.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dani

    I appreciated the straightforward way this book was written. It didn’t seem to embellish any of the details of the true crime stories that inspired famous movies and somehow, that made it an even creepier read. I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    Great book for true crime and horror fans

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lee McKerracher

    If you have always wondered what sparked the plot of horror movies, then this is your book. Lee Mellor has selected some of horror's classic films including Psycho, Texas Chain Saw Massacre, The Exorcist, Jaws, Amityville Horror and Nightmare on Elm Street to name a few, and delves into the stories behind the stories. What people and events sparked a director's interest to create a classic horror film. Some of the people Mellor examines that unwittingly became part of these classic films include If you have always wondered what sparked the plot of horror movies, then this is your book. Lee Mellor has selected some of horror's classic films including Psycho, Texas Chain Saw Massacre, The Exorcist, Jaws, Amityville Horror and Nightmare on Elm Street to name a few, and delves into the stories behind the stories. What people and events sparked a director's interest to create a classic horror film. Some of the people Mellor examines that unwittingly became part of these classic films include Australia's serial killer Ivan Milat, the very creepy English serial killer John Christie and American Danny Rolling who was known as the Gainesville Ripper. It is a fascinating read and unveils a few hoaxes and unscrupulous characters that have not only made news in the mainstream media, but their stories have spiced up the plots of many films that make your skin crawl.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Danni The Girl

    Oh what a cracker of a book. Well, I say cracker, I mean it was so interesting. Each section is a different horror film, that then goes into detail about the true stories behind the horror films. I loved reading most of this. I think the only reason I didn't give it 5 stars, was for some reason the stories that were based on ghosts bored me. I just wasn't interested in them. The real-life stories really caught my attention, and it was interesting as well to see the differences between the true s Oh what a cracker of a book. Well, I say cracker, I mean it was so interesting. Each section is a different horror film, that then goes into detail about the true stories behind the horror films. I loved reading most of this. I think the only reason I didn't give it 5 stars, was for some reason the stories that were based on ghosts bored me. I just wasn't interested in them. The real-life stories really caught my attention, and it was interesting as well to see the differences between the true stories and how they translated them to film. The only one I wasn't sure about was The Exorcist......because that's a book... and I have read it, but yea this is a cracking read, and I feel like it really helped me from slipping into a slump. Pick it up! 

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lydia Peever

    Perfect intersection of crime and horror. Gives some background to what built some favourite movies and added a couple to my watch list. With Dr. Mellor's style being conversational, the true accounts read stranger than fiction and as ever, more terrifying. Perfect intersection of crime and horror. Gives some background to what built some favourite movies and added a couple to my watch list. With Dr. Mellor's style being conversational, the true accounts read stranger than fiction and as ever, more terrifying.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tyler

    Deserves a solid 3.75 stars. Some fascinating film history.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Bridgeman

    First published in 2020 by Dorling Kindersley in paperback, ebook and audiobook formats,'Behind The Horror: Real Stories Behind The Big Screen's Greatest Screams' is a deep dive into the origin stories, and inspirations for, the most culturally significant horror films of the 20th and 21st centuries. Starting with Fritz Lang's 'M', moving through to 'Rope', 'Jaws','The Town That Dreaded Sundown' and up to modern times with 'The Conjuring',Dr Lee Mellor examines why the films were so significantly First published in 2020 by Dorling Kindersley in paperback, ebook and audiobook formats,'Behind The Horror: Real Stories Behind The Big Screen's Greatest Screams' is a deep dive into the origin stories, and inspirations for, the most culturally significant horror films of the 20th and 21st centuries. Starting with Fritz Lang's 'M', moving through to 'Rope', 'Jaws','The Town That Dreaded Sundown' and up to modern times with 'The Conjuring',Dr Lee Mellor examines why the films were so significantly successful in tapping into the fears of the times they were released in. It also seeks to answer the age old question,'Where do you get your ideas from?' From my perspective, I found a whole load of trivia to bamboozle friends and family with whilst developing a better understanding of my favourite films. This is especially true of those based on books, such 'The Silence Of The Lambs', which is itself, allegedly based on the social reporting of the 'Ed Gein' case. It illustrates how tales of a person dressing up in human costumes, wanting to transform into something 'other' can be transmuted into a moral panic over 'that weird fella who lives over there and is a bit too close to his mother' There is an interesting article on the use of Ed Gein and The Silence Of The Lambs as examples of latent homo- and trans-phobia here, which discusses the history of how framing individuals in a certain way reflects the fears of the time very succinctly. It also focusses on how we, the public, take things at face value-or at least did until the the emergence of fake news-and tend to continue that narrative because it suits the overarching patriarchal hegemony. Some of these stories make for truly horrifying reading which surpasses even the most tortured films -I for one have never seen 'Texas Chain Saw Massacre',but know enough about it to be aware that I could not handle it. And the story behind it was even worse than I could have imagined. The best bit of the book, for me, was the background of 'A Nightmare On Elm Street' where a series of unexplained deaths following the Vietnam war, of Vietnamese men, really astounded me. Sleeplessness being fatal was a concept I had truly never considered, and after reading this book, I read further about sleep deprivation being used as torture device and it was so fascinating. In the 80's-90's, much of pop culture was about getting the most out of each day, the rise of the Yuppie and sleep being for the weak. The 'me me me' generation were being tackled by the younger, teenagers who had to come together to collectively fight the sleepwalking adults, and also atone for the sins of their parents. Freddy Krueger, as an allegory of the Vietnam War, 'The Serpent And The Rainbow' as an exploration of the 'heathen' and 'the othering' of so-called primitive cultures in Haiti, and so forth, really hold a mirror up to the culture in which they inhabit and provide a reasonable basis not only for their initial success, but also their lingering in the public consciousness. The other month I watched Jaws, with my youngest daughter (10) and the way she hid behind her cushion and screamed with pure delight/terror tickled me so hard. When we finished, she said it was the best film she had ever seen, and I'm not going to lie, I was so happy that it reached her on that level because her older sisters had proclaimed the special effects dubious, and less than convincing. This is not what we saw, we watched the steadfast Chief Brody trying to fight capitalism as the mayor of Amity placed capitalism as a priority over the lives of holidaymakers (which never made any sense!) The David fighting the Goliath, the friendship that develops between Brody, Quint and Hooper, the edge of your seat thrills as the strings kick in on the soundtrack...it made for such a wonderful viewing experience that I had patiently been waiting for since her eldest sister was a similar age! So thank you, Dr Mellor, for expanding my knowledge of the world, getting me to think harder, read wider and enjoy more, these classic films which cover all sorts of monsters but, in the end, return to the most insidious beast of all, humankind.

  28. 5 out of 5

    J.N.

    My true crime book club picked this one for the month. If you are a fan of horror movies, true crime, or both, this will be right up your alley. This book explores the true cases and people that inspired the themes, plots, and characters of famous classic and modern horror movies. I mostly listened to this one on audio and thought the narrator did a good job. Each chapter covers a different horror movie. For the most part, I was more interested in the movies I have seen and enjoyed, though this m My true crime book club picked this one for the month. If you are a fan of horror movies, true crime, or both, this will be right up your alley. This book explores the true cases and people that inspired the themes, plots, and characters of famous classic and modern horror movies. I mostly listened to this one on audio and thought the narrator did a good job. Each chapter covers a different horror movie. For the most part, I was more interested in the movies I have seen and enjoyed, though this made me more interested in certain movies I hadn’t really considered too much of a priority before. The only movie I really knew much about was The Amityville Horror, though there were still a few new-to-me facts. I knew the basics behind Jaws as well but had never looked too deeply into the inspiration so that chapter was especially fun to read about since that is my all time favorite movie. It honestly made me feel a little ashamed that I didn’t know quite as much as I thought I did! It’s also amazing just how many movies were based on true events and people that I didn’t realize before. Some chapters are definitely better than others. A few felt a little dry to me but overall the chapters and movies covered were intriguing. There are so many movies being covered, though, that I felt like my brain had been overloaded with information by the end. There are a few errors in regards to certain movie plots not being completely correct (such as Drew Barrymore’s character in Scream being listed as babysitting when she was actually preparing for a movie night at home with her boyfriend—I looked this up just to make sure I wasn’t remembering things wrong). One thing I didn’t like about this book is how abruptly it ended. It felt incomplete and once it was over, I double checked my audiobook and then the ebook edition I had just to make sure it hadn’t skipped a section. Overall, I really enjoyed this one. I’m not sure I would read it all the way through again but it would be a great book to have on hand just to reread a section or two in the future. This was hovering around 4 stars until the abrupt ending. 3.5 stars!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Am Y

    An interesting read. The book talks about a number of different famous horror/suspense movies and the events/people that they were based on. Some of the movies featured include "Scream", "Psycho", "Jaws", "Silence of the Lambs", "Poltergeist", "The Conjuring", "The Amityville Horror", "A Nightmare on Elm Street", "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", and more. I was quite surprised to learn that "Jaws" was based on some rather unusual real-life shark attacks that really did claim the lives of 4 people, An interesting read. The book talks about a number of different famous horror/suspense movies and the events/people that they were based on. Some of the movies featured include "Scream", "Psycho", "Jaws", "Silence of the Lambs", "Poltergeist", "The Conjuring", "The Amityville Horror", "A Nightmare on Elm Street", "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", and more. I was quite surprised to learn that "Jaws" was based on some rather unusual real-life shark attacks that really did claim the lives of 4 people, including a child. We are also introduced to the various real-life serial killers, ranging from the more famous (e.g. Ted Bundy, Ed Gein, etc) to the obscure/unheard of (e.g. Karl Denke), who served as inspiration for many of the movies' villains. The most interesting read for me was "Nightmare on Elm St", as we learn it was based on a series of actual sudden and unexplained nocturnal deaths that affected, in particular, the Hmong people of Laos. (There is a scientific explanation for it - google "SUNDS".) I did not care for the chapters which talked about supposed exorcisms, hauntings and other purported supernatural phenomena, because none of them could be proven to be "true", and were all mostly stories told or retold by other people. The author, though, does make known his skepticism regarding all of these supposed "true" stories too. The book would have been much better if it had just cut out all the supernatural gunk and stuck to real-life events that could be proven 100% to have happened. Just because someone claims something happened to them in real life, doesn't mean it did. Many people are liars, especially when lying can get them money in the form of fame and lucrative book deals. Everything else was an enjoyable to go through. NB: The book contains massive spoilers for all the movies it features, so if you haven't yet watched them, be warned!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lynsey Walker

    I’m struggling to think of a witty, interesting review for this one, the kind of review I know my fans expect and deserve. But alas I must disappoint you oh loyal followers, as this book is the epitome of mediocre and therefore deserves a corresponding review. The premise of this is a good one, all the gory murders behind your favourite scary films! What could possible go wrong?? Well for starters I have discovered that most of the murders used as inspiration for the films are pretty much the sa I’m struggling to think of a witty, interesting review for this one, the kind of review I know my fans expect and deserve. But alas I must disappoint you oh loyal followers, as this book is the epitome of mediocre and therefore deserves a corresponding review. The premise of this is a good one, all the gory murders behind your favourite scary films! What could possible go wrong?? Well for starters I have discovered that most of the murders used as inspiration for the films are pretty much the same, kill/assault/shoot/stab/cut up/bury and only the filmmakers have turned them into something memorable. After a while I was bored with the repetitive nature of the murders and the text book way they were laid out. No embellishments here gang, oh no! just facts and figures. After the 257th murder I was a little fatigued to say the least. The spooky inspirational stories just proved that the people involved in the ghostly goings on where probably lying and that the public are soppy and just really want ‘to believe’. There is nothing wrong with this book per-say, it starts off well with some Germans eating people but I just found it a bit lacklustre and as said before a bit text-booky in it’s presentation. If you’re into your horror films and your true crime then it is interesting, so maybe give it a go, my copies going spare if you want it.

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