The Exorcist (1973)
The True Story: A 13-year-old boy living in Maryland in 1949 had an exorcism performed on him when he was purportedly possessed by an evil entity.
Most Insane Moment: Young Regans’ bone-cracking contortion is pretty nuts, but it’s the colourful language and icky masturbatory aid that gets the Most Insane badge of honour.
You Couldn't Make It Up. Oh Wait, They Did: Pretty much everything Regan does in the movie is pure fiction.
Wolf Creek (2005)
The True Story: Aussie killer Bradley John Murdoch killed a British tourist, while Ivan Milat picked up hitchhikers, took them into the woods and tortured and killed them in the ’90s. Both served as inspiration for Greg McLean’s film.
Most Insane Moment: Kirsty becomes a torture puppet for Mick, who shoots at her and sexually abuses her.
You Couldn't Make It Up. Oh Wait, They Did: That mock crucifix bit? Can’t be true, surely…
The Sound Of Music (1965)
The True Story: The real Von Trapp family first welcomed Maria into their home as a teacher to one of the children who was recovering from scarlet fever. When they fled the Nazis, they left by train – not by galumphing over a Swiss mountain.
Most Insane Moment: The entire film is a retina-sizzling explosion of musical moments, though the random Nazi chase through the monastery is pretty out there.
You Couldn't Make It Up. Oh Wait, They Did: In real life there were 10 Von Trapp children, while Maria herself only married George because she loved the children – not him.
The True Story: Wisconsin-based Ed Gein was arrested in 1957 for murder – and for digging up the corpses of women who reminded him of his dearly departed mother.
Most Insane Moment: That breath-bating moment when you discover that Normal Bates has been playing his mother all along – and has been keeping her maggot-ridden corpse in the basement.
You Couldn't Make It Up. Oh Wait, They Did: Gein never attacked a woman in the shower while dressed as his mother.
The Mothman Prophecies (2002)
The True Story: Sightings of a huge winged beast known as the Mothman were recorded during 1966 in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. It was considered to be a portent of doom. Then, in ’67, the Silver Bridge collapsed and killed 46 people.
Most Insane Moment: Oh, you know, just the small matter of a bridge up and collapsing .
You Couldn't Make It Up. Oh Wait, They Did: Okay, the bridge part’s the real deal, but the rest of the film’s pure make believe.
The True Story: That most infamous of inception tales, with a rain storm in 1916 forcing Percy Shelley and Mary Godwin (later, Shelley) to stay inside while they visited Lord Byron in his villa. After reading ghost stories, Mary came up with Frankenstein , while Byron would later write The Vampyre .
Most Insane Moment: In the film, Mary is groped in the night by monsters who inspire her to write her story. Then there are satanic rituals and all-manner of lightning-accompanied silliness.
You Couldn't Make It Up. Oh Wait, They Did: Did any of the stuff in the movie actually happen in real life? Highly unlikely.
The True Story: Real-life shark attacks had Jersey inhabitants shoring up in 1916, when five people were attacked during the summer season, four of whom died. A great white was deemed responsible and killed.
Most Insane Moment: After Quint’s chomped to pieces, things get nuttier when police chief Brody blows the razor-toothed nasty to pieces with an air tank.
You Couldn't Make It Up. Oh Wait, They Did: No sharks were blown up in Jersey in 1916, as far as we can tell…
Audrey Rose (1977)
The True Story: Screenwriter Frank De Felitta looked into reincarnation when he discovered his six-year-old son playing the piano perfectly despite having never taken a lesson. An LA occultist told De Felitta that his son was suffering from an “incarnation leak”.
Most Insane Moment: During a hypnotherapy session, young Audrey relives her former life as Ivy, who died in a car accident, and up and dies herself.
You Couldn't Make It Up. Oh Wait, They Did: The entire story is fabricated out of De Felitta’s existential musings.
The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
The True Story: Scotsman Alexander ‘Sawney’ Bean was the inspiration for this story, having lived in the 15th century and led a 40-man clan that cannibalised over a thousand people and dwelled in caves for 25 years.
Most Insane Moment: Ruby eats a dead dog as punishment for abandoning the hill people.
You Couldn't Make It Up. Oh Wait, They Did: The character of Jupiter is a twisted and entirely fictional creation. All the other characters are based on fact. (Oh, alright, they’re not.)
The True Story: A 20ft crocodile living in Burundi is believed to be the biggest ever to have lived, and is thought to have killed 300 people in its time. Now getting on in years (he’s roughly 65), the creature has always evaded capture.
Most Insane Moment: A guard attempts to rape Aviva, but the hulking Gustave turns up and eats him up. And rightly so.
You Couldn't Make It Up. Oh Wait, They Did: Does this giant crocodile even really exist? We’ve got a whiff of the Nellies about thissun.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
The True Story: Oh, look, it’s Ed Gein again. This time, the focus is on the fact that the infamous slayer skinned his victims and wore their hoods.
Most Insane Moment: Two words: chain saw. Oh, and two more: meat hook.
You Couldn't Make It Up. Oh Wait, They Did: Though Gein’s family life was a misery, there’s no evidence that he sat around with crusty old relatives contemplating who to butcher.
Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer (1986)
The True Story: Henry Lee Lucas confessed to killing 600 murders in his time, though most of those were disproved and pegged as an attempt to acquire better jail conditions. In the end, Henry was convicted of 11 murders and was jailed for life.
Most Insane Moment: Henry wants a colour TV? Henry gets a colour TV. And a few fireworks .
You Couldn't Make It Up. Oh Wait, They Did: Henry’s lover Becky was made considerably older for the movie – even serial killers shouldn’t date 12 year olds.
The True Story: Florida serial killer Aileen Wuornos killed seven men at the end of the ‘80s, claiming that they raped her. Having been convicted of murder, she was sent to death row and given a lethal injection in 2002.
Most Insane Moment: After a punter moves the goal posts, Aileen finds herself tied up in the front of a car …
You Couldn't Make It Up. Oh Wait, They Did: Even Aileen didn’t know what was the truth by the end, having told so many different stories throughout her life. Want to go through the film with a fine tooth comb? Thought not…
The Haunting In Connecticut (2009)
The True Story: After discovering embalming equipment in their new basement, where their teenage son slept, the Parker family were greeted with supernatural occurrences like bloody floors, spooky voices and shadowy figures. Later, Paul became possessed and attacked his family.
Most Insane Moment: Matt wakes up to find thousands of letters have been scratched into his skin. It’s called paper, dude.
You Couldn't Make It Up. Oh Wait, They Did: Rotting fruit? Gross, but pretty sure it wasn't the result of a haunting.
The Entity (1981)
The True Story: Paranormal researchers visited a woman called Doris Bither in 1974 who claimed she had been the victim of sexual assault by an unseen entity. In their time there, the researchers saw apparitions and caught floating lights on camera.
Most Insane Moment: Possessed woman Carla is pinned to her bed, completely naked while unseen hands caress her body…
You Couldn't Make It Up. Oh Wait, They Did: Carla faces down the ghost in the hospital’s protected area and manages to freeze it using helium tanks…
Im Not There (2007)
The True Story: Singer Bob Dylan came to fame in the 1960s and is now renowned as an artist whose lyrics play with politics, philosophy and literature.
Most Insane Moment: Cate Blanchett plays Bob Dylan… and nails it .
You Couldn't Make It Up. Oh Wait, They Did: Is Bob Dylan really four different people? It would certainly explain a lot.
The Amityville Horror (1979)
The True Story: George and Kathy Lutz moved into their dream home, only to spend just four weeks there after experiencing demonic imagery, walls that bled green slime and spooky voices.
Most Insane Moment: When a priest attempts to free the house of its evil possession, doors slam, flies cover him and he eventually goes blind. Ouch.
You Couldn't Make It Up. Oh Wait, They Did: The entire ‘true story’ is considered to be a hoax, and the house’s back story in the movie is entirely fictional.
The Serpent And The Rainbow (1988)
The True Story: ‘True’ in inverted commas for this one, as Canadian scientist Wade Davis published a nonfiction book that shared his experiences with zombification in Haiti. Namely, he argues that natural toxins can turn humans into zombies, who in turn can be controlled by a puppet master.
Most Insane Moment: Alan wakes up next to a dead woman. Chilling.
You Couldn't Make It Up. Oh Wait, They Did: Uh, nightmare worlds, being transformed into zombies – stop us when you find something that sounds made up…
Loch Ness (1996)
The True Story: The Loch Ness monster has been an ongoing myth since it first surfaced in 1933. While numerous photos of the creature have been debunked as hoaxes, numerous scientific experiments have taken place at the lake in an attempt to draw out the beast.
Most Insane Moment: Isabel communicates with the Loch Ness monster with a string of strange whistles. God help us…
You Couldn't Make It Up. Oh Wait, They Did: Uh, the bit with the family of Nessies might be twisting facts…
Dead Ringers (1988)
The True Story: Still unsolved is the case of Stewart and Cyril Marcus, 45-year-old gynaecologist twins who were discovered dead in their department in 1975. They had become addicted to barbiturates.
Most Insane Moment: ‘Mutant woman’ Beverly is sent to see metallurgist Anders Wolleck, who’s created some very unconventional gynae instruments…
You Couldn't Make It Up. Oh Wait, They Did: All of the stuff about ‘trifurcate’ Beverly is fictional.
The True Story: Charles Raymond Starkweather killed 11 people in Nebraska and Wyoming as he embarked on a two month road trip across America with his 14-year-old girlfriend. Just five months later he was executed for his crimes.
Most Insane Moment: The forest battering ram, not to mention the idyllic woodland lifestyle the couple lead – completely barking.
You Couldn't Make It Up. Oh Wait, They Did: Starkweather actually killed his girlfriend’s entire family before taking to the road with her. In Malick’s film, he just kills her father. Nice of him.
The Exorcism Of Emily Rose (2005)
The True Story: In 1968, a German teen called Anneliese Michel was thought to be possessed by a demon after she suffered paralysis and visions, alongside self-abuse and starvation. Two priests eventually exorcised several demons from her over the course of 10 months.
Most Insane Moment: With flexibility like that, Emily should really join the Cirque du Soleil.
You Couldn't Make It Up. Oh Wait, They Did: In real life, Emily Rose’s parents and the priest who tried to help her were all found guilty of manslaughter.
The Elephant Man (1980)
The True Story: Leicester-born Joseph Merrick suffered terrible abnormalities that meant he was branded the Elephant Man. Rejected by his family, he exhibited himself as a freak in a penny gaff in Whitechapel, before dying aged 27.
Most Insane Moment: “I am not an animal!” Merrick is chased by travellers in London Liverpool Street station, and finally confronts his tormentors.
You Couldn't Make It Up. Oh Wait, They Did: The abuse that Merrick suffers while working for a freak show is widely believed to be complete fiction.
An American Haunting (2006)
The True Story: The Bell Witch legend tells of John Bell, who was reportedly poisoned by a ghost in Tennessee in the 1800s.
Most Insane Moment: Betsy doesn’t half get dragged around a lot.
You Couldn't Make It Up. Oh Wait, They Did: There is no existing record that this ever actually happened.
The Krays (1990)
The True Story: The Kray twins were mobsters who were active in the 1950s and ‘60s. In their time they committed robbery and arson, and murdered Jack ‘The Hat McVitie and George Cornell. They also enjoyed socialising with celebrities.
Most Insane Moment: Ronald demonstrates what he means by a Chelsea smile, beating the Joker…
You Couldn't Make It Up. Oh Wait, They Did: Not so much making it up as omitting key facts, The Krays skips pivotal moments in the brothers’ history, such as helping murdered Frank Mitchell to escape imprisonment.
The True Story: An Austrian couple are murdered by three teenagers while they are on holiday in the Czech Republic.
Most Insane Moment: As he is chased through woodland, Lucas manages to kill one of his attackers - only to find it’s a young boy. His bad.
You Couldn't Make It Up. Oh Wait, They Did: The entire film is based on very shady reports, meaning it’s almost entirely fictional.
Open Water (2004)
The True Story: Married couple Tom and Eileen Longergran were left stranded off Australia’s Great Barrier Reef in 1998 when a diving company left them behind to fend for themselves.
Most Insane Moment: Jellyfish. Jellyfish! JELLYFISH!
You Couldn't Make It Up. Oh Wait, They Did: The Longergans are not thought to have been killed by sharks.
The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)
The True Story: Ed Gein again, who reportedly skinned bodies in order to make lamp shades, sock and a woman suit in an attempt to turn himself into one of the fairer sex.
Most Insane Moment: It’s got to be the woman suit – and that copycat-tempting bit where Buffalo Bill puts his todger between his legs.
You Couldn't Make It Up. Oh Wait, They Did: Gein never had any contact with a Dr Hannibal Lecter, as far as we can tell.
Bonnie And Clyde (1967)
The True Story: Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow ransacked America during the Great Depression. They robbed banks and petrol stations, and killed nine police officers before being fatally shot.
Most Insane Moment: Only that bloody, shocking final ambush .
You Couldn't Make It Up. Oh Wait, They Did: In reality, Parker and Barrow belonged to a gang who never appear in the film. Then there’s the ambush scene, which erroneously suggests the pair weren’t armed when they were eventually killed.
Ed Wood (1994)
The True Story: Edward D. Wood Jr. is commonly acknowledged as one of the worst filmmakers ever to have lived. An eccentric working in the 1950s, he cut films together using stock footage, and worked with Béla Lugosi. Toward the end of his career he made porn instead.
Most Insane Moment: Johnny Depp gets dolled up in drag… and quite likes it. Not insane because it's drag, but because he's prettier than Sarah Jessica Parker.
You Couldn't Make It Up. Oh Wait, They Did: Burton’s film shows Lugosi as a miserable, lonely old man. Really, he was married until he died and never swore in front of women.