The true stories that influenced The Strangers

The Strangers

The true stories that influenced The Strangers

In 2008 a horror film was created called The Strangers, and 10 years later in 2018 The Strangers: Prey at night was realised. The Strangers stood out to many people, including myself, as all the sudden horror movies came closer to blurring the lines of fiction and non-fiction. Yes, these killers wore creepy masks, but that was it. There was no alien trying to kill everyone, or a huge villain that was seemingly impossible to kill chasing after the victims, but real-life people acting on their sadistic pleasures. Not that there is anything wrong with these fictional horrors but a relatively new genre of horror was being formed, which personally made me more scared in my day to day life than anything made up. But did you know that The Strangers was actually inspired by real life events?

The Sharon Tate murder of 1969

The Stranger’s was inspired by three separate events. The first event is the infamous Charles Manson killing of Sharon Tate in 1969, August 9th. Sharon Tate was a promising upcoming actress, and was at Roman Polanski’s (who was a very popular movie director’s) house. Sharon Tate was 8 and a half months pregnant, and her and 4 others were brutally stabbed to death. They then graphically wrote “pig” on the front door in Sharon Tate’s blood. This disturbing home invasion as well as the intense levels of cruelty, would later on take direct influence in many of the scenes The Stranger’s movies explore.

The Keddie Cabin murders in 1981

In July 1979, Glenna Susan “Sue” Sharp along with her five children, left her home in Connecticut after separating from her abusive husband. She decided to relocate to northern California, where her brother Don was residing at the time. Upon arriving in California, she began renting a small trailer formerly occupied by her brother at the Claremont Trailer Village in Quincy. The following fall, she moved to house #28 in the rural Sierra Nevada resort town of Keddie. The house was much larger than the trailer, and for the first time in a long time she felt safe and happy. There, she resided with her 15-year-old son, John, 14-year-old daughter Sheila; 12-year-old daughter Tina and her two younger sons, Rick (age 10) and Greg (age 5).
Around 7:00 am on the morning of April 12, Sheila returned to #28 from her friend’s house, and discovered the dead bodies of Sue, John, and Dana in the house’s living room. All three had been bound with medical tape and electrical cords. Tina was absent from the home, while the three younger children—Rick, Greg, and Justin—were unharmed in an adjacent bedroom. Initial reports stated that the three young boys had slept through the incident, though this was later contradicted. Upon discovering the scene, Sheila rushed back to the friend’s house, whereupon her friend’s Father retrieved the three sons through the bedroom window. He later admitted to having briefly entered the home through the back door to see if anyone was still alive, potentially contaminating evidence in the process.
The murders of Sue, John, and Dana were notably vicious: two bloodied knives and one hammer were found at the scene, and one of the knives had been bent at roughly 30 degrees from all the damage it had done on the victims. Blood spatter evidence from inside the house indicated that the murders of Sue, John, and Dana had all taken place in the living room. What really made these murders stand out, was that the murders are suspected to have been done by complete strangers. The only known suspects are shown here, which were two people who happened to have been walking around the area at the time. When Bryan Bertino, the director of The Stranger’s was asked about his strongest influence towards the movie, these murders were his answer.

Bryan Bertino’s personal experience

The final inspiration Bryan Bertino had for The Stranger’s movies’, was from an incident he experienced as a child. When Bryan was little, one night he heard strangers knocking at the door of his family’s house. The strangers realized that his house had people in and went on further to knock on other people’s houses. A few days later, the director found out the intruders were checking to see which houses were empty. If they received no response when knocking at the doors, they would break into the house and ransack it. Now I don’t know about you but that’d make me hate any strangers from the get go!
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