It’s October – the season of big-screen spookfests! In honor of the scariest month of the year, we’ve taken a deep dive into the roots of some of the most famous movie monsters ever conceived.

Some are based in fact, with chilling real-life stories behind the characters that frighten us, and others are re-imaginings of ancient legends who have found new life on the screen. The simple truth is; however you dissect it, these movie monsters all have some basis in reality.

Whether you’re a horror fan or a history buff, these spooky origin stories will surely get you in the spirit of Halloween!

8. The Mummy

The Mummy's Curse, 1944 - Lon Cheney Jr as The Mummy
Image: The Mummy’s Curse (1944, Universal Pictures)

Mummifying the dead is an ancient tradition, and while we’ve mostly moved on from the idea as a society, it still features heavily in film and TV, and the Mummy is one of the most iconic movie monsters as a result.

Most iterations of the Mummy actually stem from the Curse of the Pharaohs, a supposed curse on anyone who disturbs the remains of Egyptian rulers. The most well-known and wide-spread tale of the Mummy’s curse is that of Howard Carter and his team, the archaeologists who opened the tomb of Tutankhamun. After the tomb was opened, nine people involved in the excavation died or were injured, leading to stories of the curse.

Lord Carnarvon, who had financed the excavation, was the first supposed victim of the curse.

After Carnarvon was bitten by a mosquito, he accidentally slashed the bite while shaving. The cut became infected, and he died of blood poisoning shortly after.Two weeks before Carnarvon’s death, Marie Corelli had published a letter in the New York World magazine quoting an obscure book asserting that dire punishment would follow any intrusion into a sealed tomb. This, combined with Carnarvon’s death, led to a media frenzy that popularized the belief in the Mummy’s curse – and despite repeated studies attempting to disprove its existence, many still believe in the idea today.