Despite being a genre that's definitely not for everybody, if there's one thing that everyone can agree on about horror movies, it's that they definitely give us some of the most memorable villains in history. Whether they're supernatural creatures haunting us from beyond the grave, or twisted people with a knack for murder, these characters continue to haunt our nightmares to this day.
However, life can often be just as scary as fiction, and in the case of these 10 villains, there's actually a true story behind them.
One of the most iconic slasher villains in horror history was based on a real-life horror villain; serial killer Ed Gein. Gein would famously craft things around his house from human remains, including drying some of the victims' faces into dry, leathery masks.
The most famous vampire in all of fiction actually has his roots in a very real person; Count Vlad Tepes III, the ruler of the Romanian region of Wallachia in the late 1400s. Better-known as Vlad The Impaler, he was famous for his cruelty, and held off both the Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire by lining the roads into Wallachia with thousands of prisoners of war who were impaled on spikes. As far as we know though, he never did drink blood.
Relax; there isn't actually a demon that comes back every 27 years to kill the children of a small town in Maine (or at least not that we know of). Instead, Pennywise's clown design is inspired by real-life serial killer John Wayne Gacy, who often lured children to their deaths by dressing as a clown.
It's been speculated for years that the most famous cannibal of all time was based on a real person, and in 2013, creator Thomas Harris revealed he was based on real-life physician and murderer Alfredo Ballí Treviño, who Harris actually interviewed while writing his books. Treviño was convicted of murdering his lover and mutilating the body, and was implicated in the disappearance of several hitchhikers.