5 American Horror Story Characters Inspired by Real Stories

While it’s comforting to know that many horror movies are products of a creative imagination and fictitious, there are many scary shows and horror movies based on true stories. Here are five American Horror Story plotlines and characters that were inspired by real events and stories.

The Black Dahlia, ‘American Horror Story: Murder House’ – Season 1

Most horror fans are familiar with the chilling story of the Black Dahlia. Elizabeth Short, portrayed by Mena Suvari in the first season of the nightmarish anthology horror series, was an aspiring actress whose severely-mutilated corpse was discovered in a hotel in Los Angeles. Her body had been severed at the waist, and all the blood had been drained from it. The killer had carved a Glasgow smile on her face by cutting the corners of her mouth to her ears, a haunting image that inspired a number of movies and books. Her murder remains a mystery till today.

Dr. Thredson, ‘American Horror Story: Asylum’ – Season 2

In the second season, Zachary Quinto plays the role of Dr. Thredson, whose character is based on the story of Ed Gein, a notorious murderer and grave-robber who had a dysfunctional relationship with his fanatically religious mother. A search of his derelict Wisconsin farmhouse lead to the gruesome discovery of the decapitated body of a store clerk he had murdered and the head of a local tavern owner, along with several disturbing items fashioned out of human skin and bones. Gein admitted that soon after his mother’s death, he started crafting a suit made from the skin of dead bodies so that he could pretend to be his mother.

Madame Delphine LaLaurie, ‘American Horror Story: Coven’ – Season 3

It’s hard to imagine that the abominably racist and sadistic Madame LaLaurie could be based on a real person. In season three, Kathy Bates plays the role of Marie Delphine LaLaurie, a prominent New Orleans socialite who tortured and murdered many of her slaves at her mansion. The atrocities that she committed came to light following a fire that broke out at her mansion. After a mob of people attacked the residence, she escaped justice by fleeing to France. The mansion, which has now been restored, still stands today at 1140 Royal Street.

Edward Mordrake, ‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ – Season 4

Many of the characters in the fourth season are based on real people, including the performers Pepper, who suffered from microcephaly and Jimmy Darling, who had ectrodactyly, but did you know that Edward Mordrake, the man with a second face on the back of his head, is also based on a true story? Played by Wes Bentley, Mordrake believed that the face was evil and that it whispered atrocious things to him at night. He repeatedly begged doctors to have it surgically removed, and ultimately, he committed suicide at the age of 23. In the letter that he left behind, he again urged that the demonic face be destroyed prior to his burial.

Jeffrey Dahmer, ‘American Horror Story: Hotel – Season 5

The hotel in season 5 of American Horror Story is said to be partly based on the Hotel Cecil, located in Los Angeles. Many serial killers are rumored to have stayed at the hotel, including the infamous Jeffrey Dahmer, played by Seth Gabel. Dahmer, also known as the Milwaukee Cannibal, was a serial killer who murdered 17 men and boys. What makes the story even more gruesome is that he was known to have dismembered and even eaten his victims after raping and killing them while looking deceptively “normal.”

What are some of the horror movies based on true stories that you have seen? Join the conversation by commenting below.

December 07, 2022 — Nightmare Toys