Horror movies are scary but what's more terrifying than fictitious monsters and things that go bump in the night is real life violence and a criminal at large. No crimes are more terrifying than those that have gone cold— cases that are still unsolved. On July 22nd, Cold Justice premieres on Oxygen at 8/7c. Get ready for the new season with 5 movies about truly horrifying cold cases.
The Black Dahlia - 2006
In 1947, a beautiful woman named Elizabeth Short was murdered in Los Angeles. Her naked body was found in two pieces on a vacant lot. Her death took over headlines with theories of her dark, tawdry life. Her murder is the basis for the 2006 film The Black Dahlia. Shot in a dreamy, film noir style, the movie starring Josh Hartnett, Scarlett Johansson and Hilary Swank shows how Short—nicknamed the "Black Dahlia"— was a mysterious woman who entranced everyone alive and dead.
Zodiac - 2007
Few crimes have taken over the public imagination as much as the Zodiac Killer. The serial killer is believed to have murdered 37 people in northern California in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He got the name "Zodiac" by sending mysterious letters and crytograms taunting the press. The 2007 film follows Jake Gyllenhaal (playing a cartoonist for the San Francisco Chronicle) and Mark Ruffalo (as a San Francisco Police Department cop) as they hunt down the elusive killer.
Auto Focus - 2002
What happens when the flashing lights of fame burn out? 2002's Auto Focus, starring Greg Kinnear and Willem Dafoe, tells the story of actor Bob Crane. After finding success on the popular TV show Hogan's Heroes, the clean-cut actor turns into a sex-crazed addict and descends into darkness. As the Daily Mail shares, his body was found bludgeoned in a pool of blood in 1978. The actor reportedly lived a double life and his friend was tried (and acquitted) for the attack.
From Hell - 2001
Across the pond, one of the most notorious serial killers of all time is Jack the Ripper. The murderer targeted working girls in East London in 1888. Their bodies were found mutilated and sometimes with organs removed. This 2001 film stars Johnny Depp and is based on the Alan Moore graphic novel about the killings.
The Town That Dreaded Sundown- 1976
In 1946, a series of murders paralyzed the small town of Texarkana. According to the Texas Monthly, eight people were attacked and five died at the hands of the so-called "Phantom Killer." Citizens took up arms or simply moved away to escape the nighttime attacker. No one has been charged in the case. The 1976 horror film, The Town That Dreaded Sundown, is loosely based on this story.
[Photo: Getty Images, Universal Studios, Paramount/WBR, Sony Pictures Classic, 20th Century Fox , American International Pictures]