The real-life event that The Strangers is based on

Scary movies are downright fun to watch, especially if the film claims to be based on true events. What's more fun than sleuthing around the internet to determine if the events were actually true? Cult classics such as The Exorcist, The Conjuring and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre played off the "based on true events" tagline, even going so far as to spawn multiple sequels beyond the original story and delve into a more far fetched plot.

But while some stories, such as The Haunting In Connecticut or The Rite bear many similarities to real-life occurrences, other horror films turn out to be quite a stretch to apply to real-life events. Whether you mind it or not, 2008's "The Strangers" falls into the latter category.

While the horror flick "The Strangers" sees a young couple being hunted, tortured and murdered by a group of masked assailants, none of the aforementioned events actually happened during the "true events" that the film claims to be based on. The screenplay was inspired by two events, the Manson family murders and as a series of break-ins that occurred in screenwriter Bryan Bertino's neighborhood as a child. Although movie critics noted similarities between the events of the film and the 1981 Keddie cabin murders, Bertino did not cite the Keddie events as a reference.

Feeling inspired

According to the film's production notes, Bertino was heavily inspired by the true crime book Helter Skelter by Curt Gentry and Vincent Bugliosi, which detailed the Manson family murders.

"I was thinking about the Tate murders and realizing that these detailed descriptions had painted a story of what it was like in the house with the victims. But none of the victims knew about the Manson family or why it was happening to them. So, I got really fascinated with telling the victims' tale. And not filling it in with an FBI profile and not filling it in with finding out that somebody's grandmother beat them and now they want to kill everybody. You read obituaries every day where someone is killed for a random reason. Yes, we may eventually find out why, but sometimes they don't."

Per Listverse, Bertino devised the film based on a childhood memory. The memory in question: young Bryan was sitting out on a street near his neighbor's home when someone knocked on their door. "As a kid, I lived in a house on a street in the middle of nowhere. One night, while our parents were out, somebody knocked on the front door and my little sister answered it. At the door were some people asking for somebody who didn't live there."

It was later realized that the unknown individuals were going to houses and breaking in, although events tied to the incident weren't linked to any murders. Talk about a stretch.