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Top 10 True Movies

I like watching films based on true stories. I used to watch them occasionally as a child and teen but I started watching them more after the True Movies channels (True Movies 1 and True Movies 2) launched on Sky 11 years ago. It seems weird that it's been so long, lol. I usually watch the films on those channels (or True Entertainment) but I also sometimes watch them on Lifetime or other channels. (I think a lot of these are Lifetime original movies but we didn't get the Lifetime channel in the UK until late 2013).

I thought that today I'd share my Top 10 True Movies. :)


Trigger warning:

Most of the films are based on crimes (often murder or abuse) and I realise these are difficult subjects, so read with caution if you're sensitive to these type of films.

Posts may contain spoilers. Unless otherwise stated, videos are trailers. :)


1. Indecent Seduction (1996)

This is also known as For My Daughter's Honor but they show it in the UK under Indecent Seduction. Based on a magazine article, this is the story of 14 year old Amy Dustin (played by Nicholle Tom) from Tate, Oklahoma, whose high school teacher Coach (Pete) Nash (played by Gary Cole) preyed on her and forced her into a sexual affair.

Amy is excited to start high school (I think in the US they used to go to junior high until about age 14 and then go to high school from 14-18, I don't think they have junior high as much now but  maybe it depends on the school) with her friends Kelly (a pre-Buffy Alyson Hannigan) and Kimberly (Sara Rue). Things are unsettled at home with her parents fighting and she finds someone to talk to in Coach Nash who teaches her biology class. (He also coaches the high school football team, hence the title Coach!).

At first Amy is flattered by the special attention Coach Nash gives her as she likes him too but it quickly becomes too much when he forces her to do things she's not ready for.


                                                              Clip from the movie




This is a good film. I feel really sorry for Amy because while the affair is happening, people in the town suspect something is going on but they just turn a blind eye (there are rumours that the coach has done the same thing before with other girls) and then when the whole thing comes out, they all start to blame Amy. Even her friends turn on her. I always thought they weren't very good friends in the first place!

Coach Nash was jailed and the real life case set a precedent when it was established that schoolkids have a right not to not be molested by their teachers.



2. Deadly Vows (1994)

Tom Weston (played by Gerald McRaney) is a middle aged ice cream delivery driver who is bored of his life. He regrets that he never made it on the football team and gets tired of spending time with his wife Nancy (Peggy Lipton) and going bowling with his friends. But one night he meets young factory worker Bobbi Gilbert (Josie Bissett) at the bowling alley and ends up starting an affair with her.

Caught up in the excitement of a new life, Tom secretly marries Bobbi but takes things even further when he plots to kill Nancy. His murder attempt fails but now Tom is under suspicion and his secret marriage comes to light. Bobbi swears to be loyal to her "husband" but can she really trust him?

                                                                   Clip from the film


It's very close between this and Indecent Seduction for my favourite but I went with Indecent Seduction for No 1. Both are good though.

This story had a really sad ending. Bobbi was fired from her job at the factory due to the negative publicity surrounding the case and ended up working as waitress at a fast food restaurant. One morning she and her co-worker Angel were murdered by a masked man. Tom had been sentenced to 20 years and the killing was allegedly orchestrated by him from inside prison, as revenge for Bobbi testifying against him. (Angel was just caught up in it). At the time the film was made no one had been charged for the murders.

Here's an article about the real case (the real life people were called Ronald Harnois and Tammy Petrin):
 http://www.examiner.com/article/deadly-vows-based-on-the-true-story-of-ronald-harnois-and-tammy-petrin




3. Crimes of Passion- Escape From Terror: The Teresa Stamper Story (1995)

When Teresa Walden (Maria Pitillo) goes to work at as a receptionist at a local garage she is swept off her feet by her boss Paul Stamper (played by Adam Storke, who also has a small role in Death Becomes Her). After a whirlwind romance they get married. But Paul starts to show his true colours when he hits Teresa after an argument about her continuing to work at the garage. She leaves him and goes back to her mother's house but he persuades to come back to him and they go on to have a baby daughter, Katie.

As times passes, things go from bad to worse as Paul becomes increasingly unpredictable and unstable. Teresa is saddened to learn he has a drug problem. After he viciously beats her in the toilets of a club, she leaves and files for divorce and a restraining order.

Paul refuses to give up and pursues Teresa, shooting her new boyfriend Chris Butler (Tony Becker) and leaving him seriously ill. He kidnaps Teresa and takes her out of the state. They're found and Paul is jailed but manages to escape and goes on the run. Meanwhile Chris has made a slow recovery but when Teresa decides to go into hiding with Katie, he opts not to go with her.

For the next few years Teresa lives in fear, not knowing when Paul will show up. The police, led by Sheriff Bill Douglass (played by Brad Dourif, best known for the Child's Play series) do their best to catch him. They team up with  real life TV series Unsolved Mysteries in an effort to do that and the hunt goes on for years.

                                                            Clip


Paul was finally found living with another woman and her kids (they were expecting a baby together) and working as a truck driver. He was arrested and sentenced . This story was based on an Unsolved Mysteries episode.

For more on the real Paul Stamper visit this link: http://unsolvedmysteries.wikia.com/wiki/Paul_Stamper



4. Between Love and Hate (1993)

Based on the story of teenager Matt Templeton (Patrick Van Horn) who is seduced by glamorous, rich older woman Vivian Conrad (played by Susan Lucci) at the country club in California where he works. Vivian is married to Justin (Barry Bostwick) and has a daughter Lauren (Lyndsay Riddell), who Matt has been teaching to swim. Vivian loves her family but she is lonely because Justin works away a lot and she likes to have a bit of fun on the side. She promises Matt the "best summer ever" but for Matt it's more than just a fling. He has a troubled home life and is feeling upset and angry because his abusive dad has just moved back into the house. Vivian is the first woman he's slept with and he falls in love with her.


When Justin finds out about the affair, Vivian breaks up with him due to fear of losing her daughter and the life she's used to. Matt takes it very badly, especially when he learns that she has done the same thing in past summers with other young men. He becomes obsessed with Vivian and refuses to let her go. His love turns to hate and it ends in tragedy.



Check out a clip of the first 13 minutes here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8kdjGPDUtg


This is a sad story and it shows that you shouldn't mess with people. In the past Vivian has been able to easily end her affairs but this time she picked a boy with emotional problems who was really vulnerable and things went out of her control. I feel sorry for Matt but also for Vivian because on the surface it looks like she has a good life but underneath it's she lonely and longing to feel wanted.

The film ends with Matt shooting Vivian while she's playing tennis at the club. He plans to kill himself too but can't do it and then the police come to arrest him.

The movie is based on the real life case of John Peyton Alexander who had an affair with Harriet Robinson ad murdered her in Mississippi in 1975. For more on it, visit this link: http://betweenloveandhatemovie.blogspot.co.uk/

The real life "Matt", John Peyton Alexander, was still in the Mississippi Department of Corrections as of November 2009 and writes poetry under the pen name John Apple. He has been diagnosed as bipolar. You can visit his website here: http://www.johnapple.com




5. Her Desperate Choice (1996)

When Jody Murdock's daughter Samantha (Hanna Hall/Hanna R.Hall) claims to have been molested by her father Jody (played by Faith Ford)  is devastated. She takes Samantha to a doctor who says she sees signs of sexual abuse and diagnoses her with anal warts. (She has previously been examined by other doctors who didn't find anything but the one shown in the film says they might not always know what to look for). Jody shares custody with her ex-husband Marcus Perry (Alex Carter) but after this she knows she can never let her daughter go back to him and when she is ordered by the court to return Samantha to Marcus, she goes on the run.



While spending the night in a shelter, someone slips a piece of paper under the door with a phone number. It's the contact number for a woman known simply as Grace who helps abused women and children go underground, on the "underground railroad". Seeing no other choice, Jody takes Samantha and goes to the first address Grace gives her. She and Samantha change their names to Sarah and Sammy and for the next few months they travel to different towns, staying with people who are part of the underground railroad. They are pursued by a private detective hired by Marcus.


Jody is wary of staying in one place too long but in one town she starts to feel she can settle for a bit, taking a job as a waitress in a diner. She meets Jim Rossi (Kyle Secor), and both she and Samantha get close to him. Jody is starting to fall in love with Jim , who is planning to open a veterinary practice is his home town and she starts to dream of a different life. But can she really trust anyone? And will it ever be safe to settle down?

                                   I can't find a trailer for this but will update if I find one in future. :)



Jody married Jim and had a baby with him but they were eventually caught and Jody was arrested. However she was released after several months and went back to her family in Jim's home town of Fairlake, Minnesota.

The film was based on the case of Amanda (Mandy) Otter also known as Mandy Monet and her mother April Jones. In real life, Mandy was returned to her mum but her dad Brian Otter still had visitation. In 1996 he was given full custody of Mandy and the following January she ran away, aged 13 using the underground system again According to an article I read, she was helped by a newspaper photographer. (In the film a reporter comes to do a story on Jody and Samantha and promises to hold it for future publication but is overridden by his editor). When she was 16 she went back to live with April and at 18 revealed her true identity.

For more on the real story check out these links:

http://herdesperatechoice.blogspot.co.uk/

http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Mandy's+18+and+free+to+be+herself.-a082786891



6. She Says She's Innocent aka Violation of Trust (1991)

I knew this originally as She Says She's Innocent but when they've shown it on TV in more recent years, it's been under its alternate name Violation of Trust.

Teenager Justine Essex's parents are separated and she lives with her mum Susan (Katey Segal), who is pregnant with her second child. (By Justine's dad I think, I haven't seen this for a long time). Susan works at the library and has just got back with her old school boyfriend who is now a police detective. Justine (Charlotte Ross) hears a rumour that her friend Vicky is having an affair with her boyfriend Ryan David Lascher, best known for Blossom and Sabrina). The person who tells her this is her ex-friend Ashley who she doesn't hang out with anymore. Justine confronts Vicky and she runs away, leaving her cardigan behind.  Justine and Ashley follow her, ending up in the woods where they continue the argument. In the scuffle Justine accidentally pushes Vicky down a slope. She also loses an earring which is significant later


Vicky's body is found the next morning by a jogger. Justine's earring is discovered at the scene and she becomes the prime suspect in Vicky's murder. She swears that's she's innocent but it seems that Susan is the only one who believes her daughter. Justine claims that Vicky's body was found in a different part of the woods to where he accident happened and it's also revealed that Vicky was 3 months pregnant and having a secret relationship with some known only as "R".  Could it have been Ryan or was there someone else? Susan sets out to prove her daughter's innocence. Her life is turned upside down and things are further complicated by her relationship with Eric who is investigating the case, but she is determined to uncover the truth.





I used to have this on video (taped off the telly) and watched it a lot. In more recent years they've shown it on one of the True Movies channels but I haven't seen it for a quite a while, several years now, I think. I hope they show it again soon.

Katey Segal was pregnant in real life while filming this but the baby was sadly stillborn. It was a girl named Ruby Alexandra. :)



7. If Looks Could Kill: The John Hawkins Story (1996)

John Hawkins (played by Antonio Sabato Jr) is young, fit and sexy and both women and men are attracted to him. He's also a professional con artist. He runs a gym business and sports shop but at the same time has several insurance scams on the go. He also uses his sex appeal to charm others and get them to do what he wants.


He comes up with a scheme to get an insurance policy which involves his boyfriend Gene Hanson (played by Brad Dourif) faking his death, so he can get the life insurance money. They enlist the help of Dr. Richard Boggs (who is also enthralled by John). Richard (Maury Chaykin) picks up a man in a gay club and lures him back to his surgery with the intent of murdering him. The first attempt fails but he later is successful with another man. Gene hides out in Florida and plans plastic surgery to change his identity. (He wants to look like John which I think is slightly bizarre, he dates him but also kind of wants to be him!). John strings Gene along bur in reality he doesn’t care what happens to him and abandons him to the police when their plot is discovered. Richard is also left to take the rap.

John goes on the run, seducing people of both sexes on the way and becomes one of America's most wanted criminals. Detective Pete Stanford (David Keith) enlists the help of John Walsh and his real life show America's Most Wanted to track him down, a process which takes years and involves international travel. (The real episode aired in April 1990 in the US).


                                                            Clip of one of John's seductions!*
 

                                                      


This reminds me of Escape From Terror (see above). It has a similar format with the police hunting down a criminal for years and using TV shows to help them. There's also the fact that Brad Dourif is in them both, although as very different characters!

*It's been dubbed over the top of the dialogue.



8. Desperate Rescue: The Cathy Mahone Story (1993)

When Cathy Mahone's 7 year old daughter Lauren (Lindsey Haun) goes to spend the weekend with her dad, Cathy (Mariel Hemingway) believes it to be a routine visit. But she is horrified to discover that her ex-husband Ali (Andrew Masset) has kidnapped Lauren and taken her to his home country of Jordan. Cathy lives in Texas, US and is frightened that she will never see her daughter again. She learns that Ali has been waiting until Lauren turns 7 to take her away, since that is when fathers in Jordan have all legal rights to their children.

After her above board attempts to get her daughter back fail, Cathy turns to an elite team of former special forces operatives, who agree to go to Jordan and get her back. They agree at great risk to themselves, since the Middle Eastern country has strict laws. The men, Dave Chattelier (Clancy Brown), Don Feeny (James Russo) and J.D. Roberts (Jeff Kober) and Cathy hatch a plan to take Lauren when she's travelling on the schoolbus in the morning and get her over the border to Israel where the Jordanian government will not interfere in case of retaliation. In a country surrounded by security this will not be easy. Will they able to rescue Lauren?



This is a good suspensful film, you root for them to get Lauren back (and they do!). This was based on a magazine article, I think.



9.  Midwest Obsession

This is also known as Beauty's Revenge but they show it here under Midwest Obsession.


Beauty queen Cheryl Ann Davis (Courtney Thorne-Smith) is admired in her small town. When she meets Kevin Reese (Kyle Secor who is also in Her Desperate Choice, see above) she falls in love with him. He has a girlfriend Beth (Tracey Gold) but that doesn't stop Cheryl from becoming fixated on him and plotting to make him hers. When Kevin and Tracey have an argument over future plans and break-up, Cheryl sees her chance and persuades Kevin to date her. But Kevin misses Beth too much and goes back to her. Cheryl pretends she's ok but is secretly plotting revenge.

When Beth is found dead in her car Kevin is devastated. He ends up being accused of the murders but suspects Cheryl and decides to confront her.





Another good one. Cheryl is completely caught up in fantasy and refuses to take no for an answer. Beth and Kevin really love each other and she agrees to marry him, it's so horrible that it ended the way it did.



10. The Deadly Look of Love (2000)

Janet Flanders (Jordan Ladd) is obsessed with romance and weddings and dreams of meeting a man who will take her "manfully in his arms" and sweep her off her feet, like in the romantic novels she reads. (Most of us have probably read at least one! lol). In reality she is having an affair with married man Jerry (Roman Podhora), who us just using her. One night she meets Jerry's friend businessman Brett Becker (Vincent Spano) and begins a romance with him. It seems she's finally found the man of her dreams. Janet moves to Chicago to be with Brett and starts a new job. But it turn out that Brett is also using her and he's engaged to rich woman Kathleen.

Brett breaks up Janet before he marries Kathleen. Then his new wife is found dead. Janet is put on trial for her murder but the case takes a twist and Brett comes under suspicion.


                                                                   Clip



Although this is based on a true story they must have changed things a bit since Brett is convicted of Kathleen's murder and goes to jail but at the end we know Janet has done it because she has Kathleen's wedding ring on her charmbracelet. You see her sitting in a restaurant/fast food place and then she strikes up a conversation with a new man. Obviously if it was known for sure that Janet was the murderer then she would have been in prison instead of Brett!

It's really weird when they give Janet a truth serum (injection) and she STILL believes the reality in her head, that Brett is in love with her! Her delusion is that strong.


                                                      Bonus

Plus extra! Realised I did 11 instead of 10, so here's a bonus! lol.

                                                  

In The Line of Duty: The FBI Murders (1988)

This is part of a series of films based on real life FBI cases. This one  is based the FBI's attempts to catch the
perpetrators   of several robberies and murders in Florida in 1985/1986. The criminals are best friends Michael Lee Platt (played by 60s/70s singer and actor David Soul) and William Russell Matix aka Bill (Michael Gross) who both seem to be unhinged separately but together they push each other over the edge! They start out by just committing robberies but grow increasingly violent and end up killing people just for the sake of it.

The FBI pursue them over several months and it culminates in one of the worst shootouts in FBI history on 11th April 1986, with several casualties and serious injuries.


Please note: The video below contains violent scenes.


                                                                    The shootout


This is a disturbing but interesting film. If you watch the uncut version (18 rating) the shootout goes on for ages (they cut a lot out in the edited version) and Mike and Bill are like the Bionic Men who keep getting back up again! The agents' deaths were a tragedy, especially Jerry Dove's (Bruce Greenwood) who had only just got his dream job. You also follow their personal lives, so you care about what happens to them.


Hope you like the list! There are a few more films I haven't mentioned, so I may do a follow up post in the future. :)

If you like films based on true stories here's a good site about the real life cases: http://moviesbasedontruestoriesdatabase.blogspot.co.uk/


What's your favourite true movie?

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