10 Urban Legends Portrayed in Movies that Turned Out to be True

10 Urban Legends Portrayed in Movies that Turned Out to be True


Since time immemorial urban legends featured in movies have ended up with some truth in real life. If urban legends were fictitious tales, why would Hollywood include them in the film to shock and entertain us? How is it that expected human behavior is depicted in these fables with such uncanny accuracy? With the invention of motion pictures first being screened in 1895, urban legends started entertaining us. Movies are said to be the mirror that reflects society. And the role of urban legends is central in this reflection process. Clowns and how we perceive them due to their portrayal by Hollywood is one such classic case of this urban legend that has turned true. It is now a typical scenario where clowns (on seeing a child) act out if they don’t get a response, such as scaring them with a flick of their nose.

Even the Hollywood movie Stephen King’s It, for instance, saw Pennywise the clown scare Georgie in front of his brother and talk to kids through their television sets, saying, ‘They all float down here.’ Why is it that we have this negative perception when someone puts on a clown face? The answer is an urban legend from 1887 – Circus Scandals. Charlie Chaplin‘s character is played a drunken clown who had mumps, wore dirty and torn clothes that were too large for him, and kept his hat on. Little did people know that such kind of behavior was very typical among the working class.

Below are 10 Urban Legends portrayed in movies that turned out to be true.

Call from an Unknown Number

The urban legend about the police and a phone call from an unknown number that tells you to take out your license plate because they are coming to steal your car – was included in the 1988 movie “License To Drive.”

Bomb Explosion Warning

A variant of this legend is also featured in Speed 1, where our hero Jack Traven, played by Keanu Reeves, called his colleague Harry and warned him about a bomb planted in the bus just before the explosion, shown in the climax.

Toilet Seat Deaths

Toilets are often flushed after use which is a common phenomenon in real life. It is an urban legend that originated from Australia, where they have most of their toilets installed so that they won’t get flushed even if the seat is not down. The legend says that someone had died after getting stuck on the toilet lid while urinating. However, there are now regulations to ensure such mishaps don’t occur anymore. This urban legend was portrayed in Dumb And Dumber when Lloyd Christmas, played by Jim Carrey, tried to fix the toilet’s lid on the bus and got his head stuck.

Nosy Neighbors

Urban Legend about nosy neighbors began in 1922 during the release of ‘Next Door Neighbors.” After a robbery, Charlie Chan, played by Warner Oland, was suspected to be the thief while hiding at his next-door neighbor’s.

Baby Dropping

The Urban legend is about a mother dropping her baby in the trash. The 1984 movie “Gremlins” featured the legend. Played by Zach Galligan, Billy Peltzer tried to protect his pet Mogwai Gizmo from getting wet and cold by putting it inside a box. The box fell off his apartment window, landing in a trash can below.

FBI Mustaches

The FBI has a tradition where their agents blend in by cutting off their mustaches to go undercover. The urban legend is portrayed in the 1996 movie “Nell.” The main character, Jodie Foster, won over her enemies with charm and beauty yet still had to prove her mettle by using a gun with perfection.

Grave Secrets

The urban legend featured maggots feeding on human flesh, portrayed in the 1997 movie “Grave Secrets.” The main character, Amy Locane, discovers worms eating her boyfriend’s dead body while having sex in his coffin.

Violent Parents

In 1946, Dawn Porter came up with an urban legend portrayed in “The Bad Seed.” She explained how a lousy child is born and then kills her parents. By being raised by a mother who was too strict and violent, little Rhoda, played by Patty McCormack, eventually became a monster.

Cards on Murdered Victims

In 1999 and 2005, in a famous Japanese urban legend movie, “The Alice Killings,” victims were killed and playing cards placed on their bodies. The same cards, written “Alice,” were found on the bodies of all the victims. The scary part is that they had no relation. In 2003 in Spain, there was a serial killer who identified his victims using a playing card.

Green Monsters

You have heard of the “Green Man” story.  It scares you to death when you think of walking outside at night in the dark. You imagine you would meet a man with a disfigured face or a “monster,” as it’s famously called. A man named Ray Robinson lived between the years 1910 to 1985. He had a disfigured face after an electric accident that happened when he was just 8. Coincidentally he preferred walking at night to avoid embarrassment.


In several incidents, urban legend stories, similar or near similar incidents happen in real life. However, they are not likely to happen. You have heard of such, right! It is still a mystery how and why it happens.License To Drive

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