Tap to Read ➤

Movies and Shows that Inspired Real Life Crimes

Pushpa Duddukuri
How many times has inspiration struck you like lightening while you were watching a movie? Movies and TV shows, like any other art form, have the power to move us. Here are some real life crime stories, from funny to downright creepy, that were inspired by movies and TV shows.
"Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life" - Oscar Wilde
A group of four men were arrested by the Belgian police in 2010 after the discovery of a mutilated dead body. Next to the body parts, a piece of paper was found on which these words were scribbled, 'WATASHI WA KIRA DESS'.
Apparently, the killers wanted to write 'Watashi wa Kira desu', which in Japanese means 'I am a killer', a reference to the hit anime show 'Death Note'. As if murder was not bad enough, the killers will find it hard to explain their spelling gaffe to other anime lovers. 
Such incidents go on to show how much we breathe in the pop culture which is crammed with violence.
If you have spent a lot of time watching movies and TV shows that depict crime, then you would definitely know that crime does not pay. After all, the good guys almost always win on the celluloid screen.
But what if we tell you that there are people who have taken the value lesson from these movies/shows and turned them upside down using their own version of logic; and recreated or got inspired by some of the reel life crimes. Here are some movies and TV shows that played their part in creating somebody's rap sheet.
DisclaimerThis story may contain spoilers.

Mission: Impossible

A vault. Cable drop. Rappelling from the ceiling. Suspended in the air. Did that jog your memory? Yes, we are referring to the iconic scene of Mission Impossible, where Tom Cruise breaks into a vault filled with lasers, and hacks into a computer while dangling on two ropes.
If you think this scene had badassery worthy of Bruce Lee, you will agree that the real life copycat crime took its impeccability one notch up, by just being real.
Here's the real deal: A man broke into a Florida pawn shop in 2009 in similar style. He managed this feat of breaking into the shop (which had pretty good security system in place) via the ceiling. Imitating all the skills of the Spider Man, he descended from the ceiling effortlessly with the help of a rope.
Next, he quickly spotted what he was looking for, which was guns, and he made off with those weapons through the backdoor as the alarm went off. Though this daring act was captured on the CCTV cameras, the police couldn't make a positive identification of the burglar, as he was wearing a mask.
Not an Ethan Hunt kind-of-a-mask, but a clichéd black skiing mask that has become a uniform for criminals. We are cutting down one point just for unoriginality in costume designing.

The Town

Ben Affleck's famed heist film, The Town, had romance set in between the violent backdrop of a robbery. Affleck, a.k.a the-guy-who-should-have-never-played-Daredevil, was inspired by some real life robberies that took place in Boston while he was shooting the film in that city.
This, in turn, inspired him to incorporate MO of these crimes into his movie, which was dressing up as nuns and robbing a bank. The movie become a runaway hit. And so did the brilliant costume idea, which 'inspired' many amateur robbers into donning a nun's outfit and Halloween mask, and breaking into a bank.
In the real life version of the crime, a Chicagoan couple copped the nun costume move from The Town for robbing a TCF Bank in Illinois. They were armed with handguns, and carried a duffel bag which they stuffed with $120,000, after forcing two bank employees into a vault.
The partners in crime were later apprehended by the police. However, in true movie-style, the couple turned on each other and helped the prosecution make the case against them.

The Twilight Saga

We are not saying that Twilight is a bad film. May be a little bad. Keeping our critical analysis aside, we can say that the characters in these movies were not ideal role models for impressionable teens.
This movie series inspired its fans to do pretty dramatic things, like writing fan-fiction stories, donning Emo clothes and makeup, obsessing about its lead actors, biting other people... eh... biting? Yes, that's right, biting.
And when we say biting, we are not discoursing about a love bite or a hickey - reminder of your lover's passion. We are talking about a full-scale bite that draws out blood, just like the vampires do.
Twilight movies have spawned a new biting trend among tweens and teens. In fact, some teens even suck and lick each other's blood. It seems that they haven't learned about blood-borne diseases in school as yet.
Here's one incident involving a real life wannabe vampire, that takes the cake. A 13-year-old in Des Moines, Iowa, took his twitard obsession too far, when he bit 11 of his classmates. His biting spree ended when he was caught by the police and sent to a juvenile correctional center.
His 'tendencies' came to light when a teenage girl came forward and reported it to the school authorities.


Pretty much everyone who has seen Saw knows playing tortuous games like cutting your own leg or killing a fellow prisoner to stay alive is not exactly fun. But then, fun is a very subjective term. Our idea of fun isn't calling up people when they are attending a funeral and telling them that their friend is about to die in 10 minutes.
Then again, we are not two 13-year-olds from Winchester, Tennessee.

In an incident that seemed right out of Hollywood, two Winchester girls prank-called 52-year-old Beverly Dickson of Algood, Tennessee. Apparently, they stayed up late and phoned several of their friends and strangers.
One call went to Dickson who suffered a stroke after hearing this cryptic message, "You need to decide if your life is worth living for." In true Saw-style, they told the lady that one of her friends is trapped in her house, with a key, and the house will be fogged out with a toxic gas in 10 minutes.
Consequently, Dickson was rushed to hospital. Later, police traced the calls and found the culprits behind it. The girls were charged with phone harassment, and were asked to pay $2,000 for the bond.


Our prime time TV broadcasts a number of violent shows, out of which Dexter deserves a special mention; not just due to the violent scenes, but also because of its protagonist who is a serial killer and only kills killers. Interesting....
In a bizarre crime that is more bone-chilling than its on-screen version, 29-year-old Mark Twitchell from Canada lured his victim to his house by posing as a good-looking woman on a dating site. The victim was a 38-year-old male, whose body was dismembered for disposal by the cold-blood killer. This move mirrors Dexter's modus operandi.
Twitchell was an upcoming filmmaker who wanted his creative genius to shine through his horror slasher flicks. His derangement was laid bare when he compared himself to TV killer Dexter, loosely basing his crime on the show's script.
Currently, he is serving a prison term of 25 yr. in a maximum security prison. If you think you are horrified enough, then this piece of information might just churn your stomach -Twitchell has a TV in his prison cell, and he can watch 60 cable channels and numerous shows -including Dexter. Perhaps, the prison authorities think he needs to fine-tune his act.

Fight Club

What do you do if a movie blows your mind away? You write a raving online review, right? If you think so, you will find this story a bit hard to swallow. A movie fanatic paid a strange tribute to his favorite movie by enacting a scene from it - he tried to blow up a building that represents corporate America, namely Starbucks.
Kyle Shaw, a Fight-Club-obsessed fan, was charged with detonating homemade explosives outside Starbucks on East 92nd Street in Manhattan. Fortunately, no one was injured, even though the building was crammed with people.
The police caught up with him when he made the stupid mistake of bragging to a friend. This stunt landed him behind bars for 3½ years. Apparently, he forgot about the first rule of Fight Club, which is Do Not Talk About Fight Club.


Seinfeld is a show 'about nothing'. Nonetheless, it certainly seems to have inspired people to do something. This comedy show featured an episode where Kramer and Newman take a truckload of cans and bottles to Maine, in order to earn some extra bucks.
They would have gone ahead with their plan if they hadn't spotted Seinfeld's stolen car. Though the TV characters were kind of saved from committing a crime and landing in jail, the real-life schemers were not so lucky.
In Feb 2011, three people, including a couple from Maine and a man from Massachusetts, were accused of trying to cash in on thousands of cans and bottles.
Maine, which pays a little better than its neighboring states for redemption of bottles, has a strict law for preventing out-of-state redemption fraud. While the Seinfeld episode was quite funny, needless to say the Maine authorities were not amused by the copycat crime.

A Nightmare on Elm Street

Nightmare on Elm Street was a movie which seared a burned, disfigured killer into the nightmares of the audience. Freddy Krueger, the villain of this film series, is a vengeful spirit, who takes immense pleasure in stabbing his victims to death while they are in their dream world.
This movie struck a chord with 26-year-old Daniel Gonzales, and 'inspired' him into committing a spree of killings across London and Sussex, in the year 2004.
Allegedly, Gonzales used to wonder what it would be like to be Krueger for a day. His spree crimes resulted in the death of four people and injuries to two others. The media named Gonzales as Freddy Krueger Killer, some even called him The Momma's Boy Killer.
He was tried and sentenced to life imprisonment. However, he committed suicide in 2007 in his prison cell by cutting his wrists. This was his second suicide attempt in jail.


In 1996, when the slice-and-dice movie Scream was released, it was hailed as a breath of fresh air, as it recreated the whole slasher film genre. Apart from spawning numerous sub-standard sequels, it also made some people, especially naive youngsters, quite stabby.
In 1998, two teenagers from Los Angeles County attacked one of their mothers, Gina Castillo (37). Apparently, they wanted to ape the killing style of the Scream villain, Ghostface, and needed funds to buy Ghostface costumes and a voice distortion box that the killer uses in the movie to hide his identity.
Castillo called 911 and reported the incident; however, she later died due to her wounds.

Taxi Driver

The world a celebrity dwells in consists of two types of people: the fans and the stalkers. Unfortunately, the glitz and glamor of the screen blurs even the thick line between reality and fantasy, for some people.
One of such persons was John Hinckley, Jr. Those who have watched the famed Taxi Driver film, can empathize with the loneliness and angst felt by Travis Bickle, portrayed by Robert De Niro. In this movie, the protagonist tries to rescue a child prostitute (Jodie Foster), and attempts to shoot a presidential candidate.
After repeatedly watching the movie, John Hinckley, Jr. became so obsessed with Jodie Foster and the idea of connecting with her, that he moved to New Haven in order to be close to her. Jodie Foster was studying in Yale at the time. He wrote poems for her, sent her messages, and phoned her numerous times.
However, he still failed in establishing a personal relationship with her. He even contemplated hijacking a plane and committing suicide in front of Foster, to get her attention. Not only that, Hinckley also cooked up several plans to get close to President Jimmy Carter, by trailing him from state to state.
Finally, on March 30th, 1981, in a desperate attempt to impress Foster, Hinckley fired six shots at the newly-elected President Ronald Reagan, and injured him.
Though Hinckley may have gotten Jodie Foster's attention, but he certainly failed to impress her. He was quoted as saying that his attempt was "the greatest love offering in the history of the world," and "everybody, but everybody, knows about John and Jodie." Definitely, creepy....
Crime does look glamorous on screen. In our heart of hearts, we know we want to ooze out the charisma that the onscreen bad boys exude. Understandably so, after all, we do love our Hans Gruber and Hannibal Lecter. But that doesn't mean we go about seizing Nakatomi Plaza or eating people's livers with fava beans, does it?