We all know Hollywood loves a good spectacle. Especially at the sake of exploitation and there’s no better thing to exploit than a true story. Well, a partially true story. The “Based on a True Story” disclaimer seems to show up in the tagline and opening scene of just about every movie nowadays. However, most of those so-called “true stories” have as much validity as a meteorologist predicting a cold day in LA. Honestly, just how much of a “true story” could The Conjuring possibly be anyway?
With dozens of remakes and sequels being released on a yearly basis, it’s safe to say that Hollywood is really starting to run out of ideas. Granted, it’s not easy to arrive to the same job with a new idea every week, but surely, there are better options than drinking out the same well over and over again. Instead of making more remakes and sequels nobody asked for and deciding to adapt a book to film by pulling a random one out of a hat, how about they try and adapt some true stories that actually demand to be told through film?
Sometimes, the best, most captivating stories are the ones based in facts and sometimes, fact is harder to believe than fiction. These next 15 stories on this list are a testament to that and all of them would make some interesting movies.
15. Armin Meiwes: Cannibal
Where to even begin with this one.
In 2001, Armin Meiwes was just one of many people in the world with a cannibal fetish. Meaning he and many other people have fantasized about eating people. His fetish went as far as submitting an advertisement on a local cannibal website stating that he wanted a “well-built 18 to 30 year old to be slaughtered and then consumed.” A bit extreme for a first date, but alright. Whatever strikes your fancy.
Bernd Jürgen Armando Brandes would answer the call. So did others–surprisingly–but they backed off at the last minute. Brandes would meet up with Meiwes for dinner–literally–and they started off with Brandes’ penis of course. After unsuccessfully trying to bite it off, Meiwes severed it with a knife and the two attempted to eat it together. Because sharing is caring, guys. Brandes bled out and died while Meiwes read a Star Trek book for 3 hours and then ate what was left of Brandes. Meiwes was given life in prison.
14. A Screw Up Leads to a Second Chance at Life
From one disturbing story to an inspiring one, the story of Cornealious “Mike” Anderson is schmaltzy enough to warrant a Disney movie.
Anderson was arrested in 2000 for robbing a Burger King and then convicted in 2002 to a sentence of 13 years. However, for some reason, no one bothered to check that Anderson was taken to jail and since no one bothered to take him, Anderson didn’t bother going. This was later revealed to be due to a clerical error, but it’s still pretty incompetent. Then again, to be fair, it’s better to forget a guy isn’t in jail than to forget that a guy is in jail. Don’t worry. We’ll get to that in a moment right after we’re done with Anderson.
The St. Louis courthouse decided to correct that mistake by arresting Anderson in 2013, but that would’ve been a mistake in itself given how much Anderson turned his life around since avoiding conviction. He founded the Anderson Construction and Investment company and got married. When deemed an upstanding citizen who actually contributed to society, it was unanimously decided to let Anderson go with credit for time served.
13. The Incarceration of Daniel Chong
Ever felt like people just forgot you existed? Be grateful you weren’t in Daniel Chong’s shoes: being forgotten by officers while in a DEA holding cell.
When Chong attended a 4/20 holiday party in 2013, he only had high expectations (sorry, I couldn’t help myself) for a good time. That was until the next morning when the apartment he was in was raided for drugs and guns. Chong and 8 other people were arrested and detained by the DEA. Seven of those arrested were taken to county jail, another was released, and Chong was just…forgotten. The last thing Chong was told was that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and would be given a ride home soon. That ride never came and neither did anyone else for 5 days. With 5 days without food or water, Chong had no choice but to drink his own urine and eat some methamphetamine he found under a blanket in the cell. When finally released, he filed a $20 million claim against the DEA, but settled on $4.1 million.
12. Alice Roosevelt Will Have Her Revenge
Frankly, Hollywood could make a movie about anyone of the Roosevelt’s and it would likely amount to unbelievable entertainment. Being President and all, Teddy has already been subject to plenty of on-screen portrayals, but his daughter Alice has rarely (if ever) been given an enigmatic screen portrait that matched her personality.
Often noted as the first celebrity of the 20th century, Alice Roosevelt did things in public that one would consider risque in the early 1900s. She smoked, drank, gambled, brought snakes to parties, made beer during the Prohibition Era…she was a wild child whose life in itself deserves a biopic. But it’s one particular highlight from her life that has enough soap opera drama to fill out a film franchise.
It’s been speculated that Alice walked in on her husband Rep. Nicholas Longworth cheating on her with a journalist who happened to be good friends with Alice. So, allegedly, Alice sought out to spin a web of affairs that saw her sleep with US Senator William Borah, who in turn would sleep with that journalist.
These may just be rumors without concrete confirmation, but they’re rumors too juicy to at least play around with as part of some over the top political drama. And again, Alice Roosevelt is deserving of a film based on her character alone.
11. Christopher Lee
Just Christopher Lee. His entire life story deserves the Hollywood treatment.
Hollywood loves releasing biopics (especially during award season), but none seem more fit for the big screen than that of the late, great Sir Christopher Lee.
We all recognize this man as the face of Count Dracula, Count Dooku, Saruman the White, Francisco Scaramanga, or any other role from his over 200 film credits. What many people don’t know is that before he was an actor, he was a Special Ops agent during World War II. He was even attached to the Special Air Service for some time. Before his death, Lee spoke very little about any of his time with Special Ops (aka the Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, which would be a badass name for a film) because he swore to secrecy, but the little we do know is incredibly fascinating in its own right. Hollywood tends to glamorize true stories anyway. They’d just have to spit-shine and polish some bits for the screen.
And that’s just a fraction of Lee’s life. Take into consideration that he was also a successful heavy metal singer in addition to his military service and acting career and we’ve got ourselves the most exciting biopic that’s yet to be made.
10. A Shared Madness Psychosis
Twins can be pretty freaky sometimes. They literally mirror each other in action and language. They share everything. Clothes. Lives. Murder. Wait, what?
In 2008, Swedish twins Ursula and Sabina Eriksson randomly decided to take a day out of their holiday in the UK to commit some unadulterated violence and mayhem. To anyone’s knowledge, they had no motive apart from folie à deux; literally meaning “a shared madness” between two people. Believe it or not, that’s a legitimate defense that held up in court and allowed one of the twins to be charged with manslaughter opposed to murder. But that’s not the crazy part.
In the middle of all this, the Eriksson’s found time to recklessly roam into the middle of motorway traffic. When police (who were filming a British version of COPS at the time, so all of the twins’ antics can be found on YouTube) tried to apprehend them, both twins ran into traffic again one after the other. Both survived, but Sabina suffered a head injury from a Volkswagen while Ursula’s legs were crushed by a Mercedes-Benz.
9. The Silent Twins
Hollywood is notorious with producing horror movies about “creepy twins”. So it’s a shock that no one in the industry has tackled the bittersweet tale of The Silent Twins yet.
June and Jennifer Gibbons were inseparable to each other and didn’t want to even speak to anyone else but each other. Being the only black children in the neighborhood at a young age didn’t give them many candidates for friends who wouldn’t bully them. From childhood onwards, they were reluctant to talk to anyone else and grew catatonic when separated. They were bright young girls as well given that they were independently publishing novels by age 14, but their creative drives evaporated when forced to medicate. They eventually were sent to a mental hospital for 14 years after committing numerous crimes of arson and theft. Despite being able to communicate with journalist Marjorie Wallace years later, the two decided that the only way they could live normal lives free from each other was if one of them died. They made their pact at ages 29 before Jennifer died of a heart attack. Jennifer’s last words to Wallace a week prior?
“I’m going to die. We’ve decided.”
8. The Disappearance of Belle Elmore
Belle Elmore was the wife of Dr. Hawley Crippen. It wasn’t exactly a happy marriage as the two were often seen in public bickering at each other. Their faltering marriage came to a head when Elmore went missing in January 1910. Crippen would go on to claim that he found her, but she was dead and cremated in California. But something didn’t add up; something wasn’t right. Especially when Crippen’s assistant Ethel Neave moved in with him soon after and was seen wearing Elmore’s clothes and jewelry.
Upon interrogation and a search, Crippen changed his story stating he lied about his wife’s death to cover up the fact she left him and fled America. However, suspicion grew even more when Crippen and Neave went missing. After four searches of Crippen’s house, Scotland Yard police found the drug that Crippen used to poison Elmore, along with her severed remains in the cellar. Crippen and Neave were then found and arrested after trying to flee to Canada.
7. Incan Girl Frozen for 500 Years
The title alone sounds like something Hollywood has already covered dozens of times. The only difference is that this story didn’t have the wondrous spectacle of an Avatar: The Last Airbender episode nor the ludicrousness of a caveman story. Oh, and this actually happened. Can’t forget that tidbit.
In 1995, anthropologists roaming through southern Peru discovered a well preserved frozen body on Mount Ampato that seemed to be in between the ages of 11 and 15. Of course, the body was still dead (again, this isn’t a caveman story), but the girl in question (nicknamed “Mummy Juanita”) made for an exciting scientific discovery nonetheless. Further analysis suggests that she was killed between 1450 and 1480 as an offering to the Inca Gods. Hollywood can easily make a story surrounding the new intrigue of the science world upon the discovery. Or go a step further and delve into what Juanita’s final days may have been like. After all, scientists even went as far as to find out what her last meal was. It was vegetables in case you were wondering.
6. Gareth Jones: Exit Stage Death
While performing during a live TV play production of Underground on November 30th, 1999, esteemed British actor Gareth Jones suffered a heart attack in the middle of the broadcast. Ironically enough, his character in the play was meant to die of a heart attack.
There are conflicting reports as to when exactly his heart attack took place. Some claimed that he died on-stage in front of the camera while others say he died off-screen in his make-up chair. Actor Peter Bowles said that Jones’ was backstage waiting for his cue to go and approach some of the actors, but while making his way on-stage, collapsed to the ground. Considering Bowles was a member of the cast that day, it’s safe to take his word for gospel.
It’s not so much the shocking events surrounding Jones’ passing that are deserving of a movie, but more how the cast and crew were able to continue the play as if nothing happened. Their friend and colleague went into cardiac arrest before their very eyes, but the show had to go on while Jones was rushed to a hospital. The frantic backstage scene could make for a compelling drama. Or, in the hands of someone like Tim Burton, a really dark comedy.
5. A Kim Jong-il Production
Which is ironic because North Korea’s late former leader, Kim Jong-il, went as far as to kidnap a critically acclaimed director to ensure that his country’s films were of top quality.
As controversies rose with the Workers’ Party of Korea, Kim Jong-il thought that he could re-morph the image of his country by having great movies produced there. So he had beloved Hong Kong director, Shing Sang-ok (and his wife, Choi Eun-hee) kidnapped and brought to North Korea in 1978. Sang-ok was put under comfortable accommodations until he escaped twice. Sang-ok would be imprisoned for 2 years before meeting Kim Jong-il or finding out why he was kidnapped. For 3 years, Sang-ok directed 7 films; all produced by Kim Jong-il. Eight years after his kidnapping, Sang-ok would escape with his wife during a film festival and gain protection from US embassy. After moving to LA under the alias of Simon Sheen, Sang-ok went on to direct and produce sequels to 3 Ninjas.
4. Carl and the Real Girl
Remember Lars and the Real Girl? That 2007 film starring Ryan Gosling as a sweet, disturbed man who has a romantic relationship with a sex doll as if it’s a real person? Cute movie, right? Imagine that, but instead of Ryan Gosling, you get a 60-something radiographer in 1930’s Germany. And instead of a sex doll, you get a corpse that’s been decomposing for the past 7 years.
Suddenly, this doesn’t sound cute. At all.
While working at Marine Hospital, Carl Tanzler came across a patient named Maria Elena “Helen” Milagro de Hoyos. Tanzler would recognize her from “visions” that he previously had. When the mysterious woman came under his care as a tuberculosis patient, he did everything he could to treat her (including shower her with gifts), but she died on October 1931. Not accepting death as the end, Tanzler dug up Hoyos’ body from her grave and took it to his house where she remained for 7 years until discovered by authorities and Hoyos’ sister. However, thanks to the statute of limitations expiring, the case was dropped with no jail time for Tanzler.
3. The Whiskey Robber
For most of us, it’s hard enough trying to juggle two regular jobs on a daily basis. This had to be doubly true for Attila Ambrus, who spent his days in Hungary as a professional hockey player while spending his nights as a notorious thief.
From a young age onwards, Ambrus always found trouble with the law. From petty crimes to illegally crossing the borders of Romania at age 21, Ambrus eventually found himself playing hockey. When he realized that doubling as his team’s goalie and janitor wasn’t paying the bills, he ventured into robbing banks, post offices, and travel agencies.
Nicknamed “The Whiskey Robber” due to being seen drinking whiskey near a pub before a robbery, he’d often taunt the police by sending them bottles of wine after a robbery and would even send flowers to female bank tellers prior to robbing them. He committed 27 robberies before being arrested in 1999. Though he did briefly escape prison, he finished his sentence in 2012 on parole and has since kept himself out of trouble by making pottery.
Johnny Depp optioned a film about Ambrus to Warner Bros. some years ago, but it went unproduced. Hopefully, Hollywood does justice to a Whiskey Robber film one day.
2. Who is Benjamin Kyle?
For the longest time, Benjamin Kyle couldn’t even answer that question.
Benjamin Kyle isn’t even his name; it’s a pseudonym. This man has dissociative amnesia and in 2004, he was found behind a Burger King dumpster in Richmond, Virginia, without any ID or recollection of who he was. With no ID or Social Security number, it seemed impossible that he’d ever learn his real identity and without an SSN, he wasn’t allowed to get a job. Meaning he spent some time homeless on the street.
Don’t worry, this man actually found his Hollywood ending fairly recently. After taking a few DNA tests, Kyle was able to learn his true identity in September 2015. While Kyle has chosen not to reveal this information with the public, it’s still heartwarming to know this man finally knows who he is. Even without knowledge of his real identity, the journey Kyle had in finding his identity is inspirational enough for the Hollywood treatment.
1. The Night Witches of World War II
In 1941, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin decided to deploy three air force units comprised entirely of women. One of whom were the 588th Night Bomber Regiment; more commonly known by nicknames like “Stalin’s Falcons” or Nachthexen, which is German for “Night Witches.”
As if those nicknames didn’t tell you that these were some badass ladies, you should know they managed several successful missions (15-18 per night) despite having to fly outdated planes made of wood from the 1920s with no radar or radio. While they couldn’t find the enemy on a radar, the enemy couldn’t find them either. The Witches used that to their advantage by using the element of surprise.
Clearly, the script writes itself; especially if told from the perspective of Captain Nadezhda Popova. Described as a “wild spirit”, she had a fascination with aviation since age 15. When Stalin allowed women to be pilots in 1941 when she was 19, she was quick to enlist with vengeance in her heart after her brother was killed on the front line by Germans. It didn’t take long before she rose through the ranks as commander of the Night Witches. Add her story to a film adaptation and you’ve got yourself an action revenge flick.
Get on this, Hollywood. ASAP.