The Scariest Movies Based On Real Scientific Experiments

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Some of the scariest stories we know of are that way not because they have the best monsters or the biggest surprises—no, the stories that truly keep us up at night are the ones that actually happened!

You don’t have to look far these days to find a horror film that’s been inspired by true events, but today I’d like to bring a different class of movies to mind: ones that were inspired by real SCIENCE! Over the years there have been hundreds of morally dubious intellectuals who performed unethically, and at times insane experiments in the pursuit of knowledge. From the atrocities at Unit 731, to the racist tests of Dr. Marion Sims, and even the disembodied dog heads of Dr. Brukhoneko, science is not always a nice subject.


So, if you find yourself in the mood both to scare yourself and to learn a little something, check out these chilling films based on real-life scientific experiments. 

The Stanford Prison Experiment

This 2015 thriller flew somewhat under the radar. But for those who saw it, The Stanford Prison Experiment portrayed a psychological study gone wrong in which college students were split into prisoner and guard groups, then locked in a basement in a simulated prison environment for two weeks. Things quickly turn dark as the student guards become abusive, along with the overseeing professor himself, as they immerse themselves in their assigned roles. When some of the students begin to suffer psychological meltdowns, the professor is brought back to reality and abruptly stops the entire experiment after only six days. It’s a wild ride of a movie that shows the darkest parts of humanity that can live in all of us, but what makes it really crazy… is that it’s all true!

Professor Philip Zimbardo conceived this experiment in 1971 in an attempt to study the psychological effects of perceived power, what he got was more questions than answers, and left several students with permanent trauma. If you have ever taken an intro psychology class, you probably talked about this experiment and how the questionable ethics it utilized would lead the entire field to establish guidelines for studies involving human subjects. So at least something good came out of this truly unsettling experiment. 


This 2012 film is another underappreciated gem. It’s about a fast food restaurant manager who receives a call from a police officer who says he is at another employee’s home searching it for stolen valuables and needs her to detain the employee and see if the stolen goods are with her. What follows is a nightmarish descent into madness as the officer pushes the manager to carry out increasingly unlawful and intrusive procedures on the other employee, only for her to eventually discover that the whole thing was a prank from a complete stranger, who just wanted to see how far she would go.

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Source: interestingengineering

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