Is Insidious based on a true story? The history behind the franchise

Is Insidious based on a true story? The history behind the franchise

Is Insidious based on a true story? Five films in, Insidious has become one of the most famous movie franchises. Initially based on a couple whose son becomes a vessel for ghosts, and the family becomes haunted. As the film series focuses on psychological horror, keeping most aspects close to regular life events, it’s no wonder that many think it’s based on a true story.

is insidious based on a true story
"Insidious: The Red Door" is the latest instalment of the horror movie franchise. Photo: @insidiousmovie on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC

In addition to being one of the top jump scare horror films, the first instalment of this franchise was also allegedly scary in real life. In several reports, the cast and crew felt uneasy, mentioning some negative energy around the set. They also claimed to have heard a weird, inexplicable buzzing noise from some empty rooms.

Are the Insidious movies based on a true story?

No, the five Insidious movies are not based on a true story. The Lambert family endures a lot of demonic terror, and luckily, their story was not borrowed, and no Insidious real family exists. However, the makers of these disturbing movies borrowed some aspects from real-life stories.

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Is Insidious scary?

The franchise is scary and was ranked the scariest jump scare movie as it recorded the highest spike in viewers’ heart rates. Fans and critics find the films particularly psychologically scary because they are rooted in truth and don’t rely on blood and gore. However, personal taste is also a factor, and not everybody who watches the franchise will find it scary or exciting.

Is Insidious based on Ed and Lorraine Warren?

is insidious based on ed and lorraine warren
American ghost hunters Lorraine and Ed Warren. April 30, 1980. Photo: Russell McPhedran/Fairfax Media
Source: Getty Images

None of the Insidious movies is based on Ed and Lorraine Warren, a married couple from Connecticut, United States. Ed was an author, lecturer and self-professed demonologist. Lorraine was a light trance medium who professed to be clairvoyant. The pair married in 1945 and founded the New England Society for Psychic Research (NESPR), a ghost-hunting group, in 1952.

For close to 50 years, the couple worked together investigating paranormal activity all over the world. They were best known for their work investigating the Amityville Horror of New York in 1975 and the Enfield poltergeist of Enfield, a suburb in North London, in 1977. The couple claimed to have investigated more than 10,000 cases of paranormal activity throughout their careers.

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Although Ed and Lorraine faced a fair dose of scepticism, they were considered a great inspiration in the horror genre. Many authors and filmmakers have based their books and horror movies on the couple and their cases. Although they have been exposed as frauds multiple times, all the art that resulted from their work endures.

Several movies created by James Wan have been connected to the Warrens and their work in some way, including The Nun and the Annabelle and The Conjuring movies. As such, many guessed that the Australian film director also based Insidious on the couple. However, the film franchise is not based on the Warrens at all.

What is the movie Insidious based on?

No real-life events or stories inspired the main idea of the films. Wan worked on the films with famous writer Leigh Whannell. The pair emphasised that although they were fascinated by paranormal activity, neither had ever seen ghosts.

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is insidious real
Producer Jason Blum arrives for the Premiere Of Focus Features' "Insidious: Chapter 3" held at TCL Chinese Theatre on June 4, 2015 in Hollywood, California. Photo: Albert L. Ortega
Source: Getty Images

However, one ghost was inspired by real-life events. The Long-haired Fiend from the Further was inspired by a story the pair heard from a mutual friend. The friend woke up one night and saw a long-haired man in a long trench coat pacing outside his room. The story inspired the demon’s image. Other than that, the rest of the series was purely from Leigh and Wan’s imagination.

What is the correct order to watch the Insidious movies?

The first movie was released in 2010. The second, Insidious 2, came out in 2013, followed by the third in 2015. Insidious: The Last Key and Insidious: The Red Door, the fourth and fifth instalments, came out in 2018 and 2023, respectively. Fans who have followed the films faithfully since the franchise started naturally watched them in the order in which they were released.

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However, for those who would rather watch the story in chronological order, the release dates are irrelevant. Considering the events that happen, beginning with Chapter 3, then following it up with The Last Key makes the most sense. The two explain the demonologist Elise Rainier’s backstory and how she got involved with the supernatural.

Next up would be the original Insidious (2011), which introduces the Lambert family and their supernatural woes. Chapter 2 follows naturally as fans follow Josh’s childhood and battles with entities from the Further. The 2023 instalment, The Red Door, brings back the Lambert family and closes their story, for now, as Dalton prepares to head off to college.

Is Insidious 5 the last movie?

Jason Blum, the CEO of Blumhouse Productions, responsible for the franchise, said there were no plans for another mainline instalment after the fifth. Any other additions to the franchise would have to be spin-offs, such as Thread: An Insidious Tale, which was recently announced.

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  1. Is Insidious real? No, the movies are not real, nor do real-life stories inspire them.
  2. How many Insidious movies are there? The franchise has five instalments released between 2010 and 2023.
  3. What are the Insidious movies? The five instalments, in order of release date, are as follows: Insidious (2010), Insidious 2 (2013), Insidious 3 (2015), Insidious: The Last Key (2018) and Insidious: The Red Door (2023).
  4. Is Insidious a part of The Conjuring? No, the two franchises are not linked. However, they were both made by James Wan and had most of the same crew working behind the scenes.
  5. Is Insidious based on Ed and Lorraine Warren? No, the movies are not inspired by the lives or work of the demonologist couple.
  6. Is Insidious 5 the last movie? For now, it is the final instalment of the main story, though there may be spin-offs in future.

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Insidious is one of the most successful horror film franchises of the past two decades, primarily because of its real-life connection. Is Insidious based on a true story? While the franchise may not be based on a true story, it keeps the horrors close enough to real life to have a psychologically scary effect on its viewers. recently published an article on the Shrek movies. Shrek is about a giant, green ogre who lives in a swamp. Initially, he is grumpy and only wants to live peacefully in the forest. However, he abandons his daily life for a mission to save Princess Fiona–an adventure which changes his life entirely as he falls in love with the princess.

The first Shrek was released in 2001. Since then, several sequels and spin-offs have followed, all based on the green ogre and other affiliated characters. Read on to learn more about Shrek films and spin-offs, what they are about, and the best order to enjoy them.


Wilbroda Onyango avatar

Wilbroda Onyango (Lifestyle writer) Wilbroda Onyango is a content creator and writer with over 4 years of experience. She has worked as an entertainment journalist, creating content across over 5 African countries, most notably for, Young, Gifted & Blacc, and Africa New Media Group. Wilbroda joined as a writer in June 2022, covering celebrity biographies, guides and listicles for Ask Legit. In 2023, Wilbroda finished the AFP course on Digital Investigation Techniques. Email:

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