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10 Movie Villains Inspired By Actual People

Movie Villains Inspired By Actual People

Most of the movies reflect real-life incidents and people. Many heroes and villains are inspired or influenced by real-life people. Sometimes villains in real life are much scarier than in the movies. Villains can be of different types; some are funny and some are scary. There is a very thin line between fiction and reality where villains are inspired by real-life people. From killer clowns to Hannibal the Cannibal, let’s investigate 10 movie villains which were inspired by actual people.

1. Kevin Wendell Crumb (Split) – Billy Milligan

In the movie Split, the character of Kevin Wendell Crumb is a man with a “dissociative identity disorder,” which means, in his case, harboring 24 completely different people inside one body. Kevin’s character was influenced by a man suffering from the same personality disorder named Billy Milligan. He had 24 personalities, 10 “desirables” and 13 “undesirables.”

Split
James McAvoy as Kevin Wendell Crumb (on the left), Billy Milligan (on the right). Image credit: Blumhouse Productions, batona

In the movie Split directed by M. Night Shyamalan, the main character, Kevin Wendell Crumb played by James McAvoy, is a man suffering from multiple personality disorder, which produces 24 different personalities inside his body.

He kidnaps three girls and holds them hostage in the movie. At first, all three girls interact with Dennis who is obsessed with cleanliness, then they meet other personalities, Patricia and Hedwig, who are completely different. At last, they meet his 24th personality, Kevin, which is almost supernatural with unbelievable strength and speed that is beyond normal human ability.

Many people suffer from dissociative Identity disorder in real life, but one of the primary director’s influences for this movie was Billy Milligan. Like the character Kevin, Milligan also had 24 different personalities of which 10 were desirable and 13 were undesirable.

He was arrested in 1975 for rape and robbery. He again got arrested in 1977 for raping three women. His trial was controversial, and he was sent to a state mental facility instead of prison and was released in 1988. Although he didn’t have any superpowers like Kevin in the movie, he was the primary inspiration for his character. (1, 2)

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2. General Ludendorff (Wonder Woman) – Erich Ludendorff

The movie Wonder Woman is about the battle against an evil German threat. The character, Erich Ludendorff, was inspired by the real head of Germany’s World War I forces. In real life, he achieved great success during the war, and likewise in the movie, he was also obsessed with winning, but both characters were ultimately foiled.

Wonder Woman
Danny Huston as General Ludendorff (on the left), Erich Ludendorff (on the right). Image credit: Warner bros, German Federal Archives/Wikimedia

Patty Jenkins is the main character in Wonder Woman, which is based upon events surrounding World War I. The character of General Ludendorff, played by Danny Huston, is inspired by real-life World War I German General Erich Ludendorff.

The DCEU movie depicts the hope against an evil German threat and a battle inspired by real-world history. Ludendorff portrays a strong character in Wonder Woman who was allied with Dr. Poison. He was a cruel, ruthless, ambitious character who had an obsession with winning in the movie. He wanted to win the war for Germany at any cost, which even included using chemical weapons.

The real-life Erich Ludendorff was the leader of German war efforts from 1916 to 1918. He had much success in the war and was obsessed with winning the war. He believed no humans are innocent and wanted destruction. In 1918, he was forced out of his position due to a failed offensive strike, unlike in the movie where Ludendorff was killed by Wonder Woman. (1, 2)

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3. Annie Wilkes (Misery) Genene Jones

In the movie Misery, the murderous nurse played by Annie Wilkes was inspired by real-life pediatric nurse Genene Jones. She killed 40 children that were under her care. She used to inject paralytics into the babies to revive them to gain appreciation from doctors and parents. She also had a false reputation for good behavior like the character Annie.

Misery
Kathy Bates as Annie Wilkes (on the left), Genene Jones (on the right). Image credit: Castle Rock Entertainment, mysanantonio

Based on Stephen King’s 1987 novel, Misery was directed by Rob Reiner and was released in 1990. In the movie, a nurse named Annie Wilkes rescues an author after a car accident and claims to be his biggest fan.

Later, her obsession takes a dark turn when she discovers that the author is going to kill off her favorite character in his novel. As the author attempts to escape, Annie turns more violent and forces him to write the novel according to her twisted fantasies.

The primary inspiration for Annie Wilkes, played by Kathy Bates, was Genene Jones. Although Jones didn’t kidnap any author and torture him, she was found guilty of killing 40 children between 1978 and 1982.

She injected lethal doses of drugs into babies to prompt a medical emergency like heart failure or a major organ failure. She later saved some of the babies and gained appreciation from doctors and parents. In 1984, she was convicted to 99 years in prison. (Source)

4. Leatherface (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) Ed Gein

In the movie, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the character Leatherface was inspired by real-life Ed Gein. He used to kill his victim with hammers and cleavers, he also used to wear masks made of human skin like the character in the movie.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Gunnar Hansen as Leatherface (on the left), Ed Gein (on the left). Image credit: Vortex, murderpedia

The 1974 main character in Tobe Hooper’s movie, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, was highly influenced by the real-life serial killer Ed Gein. Leatherface is one of the popular villains and horrifying characters who killed his victims with hammers and cleavers.

He used to wear masks made of human skin and prey on unsuspecting teenagers with a family of cannibalistic hillbillies.

The chainsaw-wielding villain Leatherface inspiration Ed Gein killed several victims in most disturbing ways between 1954 and 1957. He used to wear the skin of his victims and made a whole woman-suit out of human skin.

Gein pleaded not guilty because of insanity, instead, so he was committed to a criminal mental hospital. He pleaded guilty in a trial a decade later and died in 1984 by natural causes. (1, 2)

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5. Dracula (Dracula) Vlad the Impaler

The movie Dracula is based upon Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula. The character Dracula is inspired by a real-life person, Vlad the Impaler, who was Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia from the 16th century. He was famous for his cruelty, and his practice inspired many dark supernatural tales. He allegedly also had the taste for blood.

Dracula
Gary Oldman as Dracula (on the left), Vlad the Impaler (on the right). Image credit: American Zoetrope, Shutterstock

Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a story of Count Dracula who is a nobleman and uses his vampire powers to dominate his victims.

He travels from Transylvania to England in search of fresh blood and spreads the curse of the undead. Bram got his inspiration for the character Dracula from various people, but one of the primary inspirations was Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia – Vlad the Impaler from the 16th century.

Vlad the Impaler was famous for his cruelty, brutal tactics, mass murder, mutilation, and high-grade torture. He used to boil his victims alive and drive a wooden stake through their bodies leaving them to die mercilessly. He allegedly used to dine among his victim’s impaled bodies and dip his bread in their blood. (1, 2)

Also read: 10 Highly Anticipated Movies That Were Never Made

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