The Poughkeepsie Tapes True Story: How Much Is Actually Real? Related: 10 Horror Movies Filmed In One Continuous Shot (Or Appear To Be)

There is heavy debate in the film industry on which movies are depicting actual murders and acts of self-mutilation versus those that are staged. Actual filmed murders and executions do exist, but they weren’t made with the intent to entertain an audience. The only real-life murders and criminal acts that The Poughkeepsie Tapes can be tied to are Kendall Francois’s ten murders, which took place from 1996 to 1998. According to local newspapers, Francois killed ten sex workers. Despite the influence his crimes may have had on the movie, he never recorded any of his crimes, which adds a further level of separation between the true story and what the film depicts.

The notorious serial killer Ted Bundy also influenced the found footage horror movie. In The Poughkeepsie Tapes, detectives interview Bundy in hopes of garnering some kind of insight or a pattern to help solve the crime. Surprisingly, the serial killer is complicit, and even attempts to help them find a motive by asking when he sexually assaults his victims. Bundy was executed in 1989 for the brutal murders of 30 known victims, but it’s estimated that he killed many more. He primarily targeted women, much like the killer in The Poughkeepsie Tapes. Ultimately, the movie is somewhat based on real events, but only takes portions of them rather than adapting their full stories, as other horror movies have done. There were no actual snuff movies tied to any serial killer, and the character in the movie is original to the story.

The Poughkeepsie Tapes: Where To Watch

For many years, The Poughkeepsie Tapes was extremely hard to find a legal copy of. That’s due to The Poughkeepsie Tapes being pulled from release for almost a decade. Thankfully, that time is now firmly passed, and interested horror fans can watch the film quite easily. A Blu-ray was released in 2017, and The Poughkeepsie Tapes can also currently be streamed on several different services, including Paramount+, Epix, AMC+, DirecTV, Spectrum, and Shudder. Oddly though, it’s only available to subscribers of those particular services, and not to rent or buy at general digital retailers. Despite that discrepancy in viewing options, it’s a true victory for horror fans that The Poughkeepsie Tapes is now widely available, after being sought after for so long.

Other Disturbing Movies Censors Thought Were Real And Banned

The Poughkeepsie Tapes isn’t the only horror movie so disturbing it fell foul of the censors. Many horror flicks err too far into the Uncanny Valley, creating uncertainty around whether audiences were taking in real horror or adept storytelling. That’s if they didn’t use the controversy to promote the movie, however – and several films that were banned in America wore their censored status proudly, especially when the bootleg and underground VHS market was strong. While it’s hard to believe nowadays, at one point in the 1980s, a VHS of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1976) was a collector’s item for horror movie aficionados. Censors in many countries, including the US, fell for the movie’s “disclaimer” that the events it portrayed were true. Today, however, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2021) is streamable by anyone with a Netflix subscription.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1976) still enjoyed a theatrical release and yearly screenings, though. Some movies were, much like The Poughkeepsie Tapes, too realistic to even make it to the big screen (keep in mind, there used to be more independent movie theatres with the freedom to choose their billings, and they weren’t always new releases, so getting your movie into big-screen matinee showings was easier than landing a VHS release). Cannibal Holocaust (1980) is perhaps the most infamous. The scenes of impalement, sexual violence, and the titular cannibalism fooled censors so effectively that the movie’s still banned in several countries over four decades since its release. Faces of Death (1978) was another headline-maker, with the original proudly boasting its banning in “over 46 countries” due to the debatability of its death and violent scenes being wholly fictional. Despite being produced in the 1970s, Faces of Death still had to be heavily edited before it got its first unrestricted release in 2003.

The Poughkeepsie Tapes is actually one of the more recent examples of found-footage and horror controversy, despite its initial 2007 release being over a decade ago. The 70s and 80s were the golden age for this type of media. Just as True Crime shows have captured the cultural fascination with the macabre for 2020s audiences, “banned” movies were a regular talking point and made news headlines frequently during the era that the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Cannibal Holocaust, and Faces of Death were released. Making a movie so disturbing the censors banned it was almost a point of pride, and creators definitely used it as a subversive marketing tactic to drive sales. Fortunately, horror fans in the 21st century don’t have to scour bootleg VHS stalls or have hushed back-room conversations at Blockbuster to get their hands on movies like The Poughkeepsie Tapes, and even though they remain controversial talking points, these movies have found a new, less restricted, lease of life thanks to modern streaming platforms.


More information about The Poughkeepsie Tapes True Story: How Much Is Actually Real?
Related: 10 Horror Movies Filmed In One Continuous Shot (Or Appear To Be)

There is heavy debate in the film industry on which movies are depicting actual murders and acts of self-mutilation versus those that are staged. Actual filmed murders and executions do exist, but they weren’t made with the intent to entertain an audience. The only real-life murders and criminal acts that The Poughkeepsie Tapes can be tied to are Kendall Francois’s ten murders, which took place from 1996 to 1998. According to local newspapers, Francois killed ten sex workers. Despite the influence his crimes may have had on the movie, he never recorded any of his crimes, which adds a further level of separation between the true story and what the film depicts.

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The notorious serial killer Ted Bundy also influenced the found footage horror movie. In The Poughkeepsie Tapes, detectives interview Bundy in hopes of garnering some kind of insight or a pattern to help solve the crime. Surprisingly, the serial killer is complicit, and even attempts to help them find a motive by asking when he sexually assaults his victims. Bundy was executed in 1989 for the brutal murders of 30 known victims, but it’s estimated that he killed many more. He primarily targeted women, much like the killer in The Poughkeepsie Tapes. Ultimately, the movie is somewhat based on real events, but only takes portions of them rather than adapting their full stories, as other horror movies have done. There were no actual snuff movies tied to any serial killer, and the character in the movie is original to the story.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1535570269372-ccr4’); });

The Poughkeepsie Tapes: Where To Watch

For many years, The Poughkeepsie Tapes was extremely hard to find a legal copy of. That’s due to The Poughkeepsie Tapes being pulled from release for almost a decade. Thankfully, that time is now firmly passed, and interested horror fans can watch the film quite easily. A Blu-ray was released in 2017, and The Poughkeepsie Tapes can also currently be streamed on several different services, including Paramount+, Epix, AMC+, DirecTV, Spectrum, and Shudder. Oddly though, it’s only available to subscribers of those particular services, and not to rent or buy at general digital retailers. Despite that discrepancy in viewing options, it’s a true victory for horror fans that The Poughkeepsie Tapes is now widely available, after being sought after for so long.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1535570269372-ccr5’); });

Other Disturbing Movies Censors Thought Were Real And Banned

The Poughkeepsie Tapes isn’t the only horror movie so disturbing it fell foul of the censors. Many horror flicks err too far into the Uncanny Valley, creating uncertainty around whether audiences were taking in real horror or adept storytelling. That’s if they didn’t use the controversy to promote the movie, however – and several films that were banned in America wore their censored status proudly, especially when the bootleg and underground VHS market was strong. While it’s hard to believe nowadays, at one point in the 1980s, a VHS of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1976) was a collector’s item for horror movie aficionados. Censors in many countries, including the US, fell for the movie’s “disclaimer” that the events it portrayed were true. Today, however, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2021) is streamable by anyone with a Netflix subscription.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1976) still enjoyed a theatrical release and yearly screenings, though. Some movies were, much like The Poughkeepsie Tapes, too realistic to even make it to the big screen (keep in mind, there used to be more independent movie theatres with the freedom to choose their billings, and they weren’t always new releases, so getting your movie into big-screen matinee showings was easier than landing a VHS release). Cannibal Holocaust (1980) is perhaps the most infamous. The scenes of impalement, sexual violence, and the titular cannibalism fooled censors so effectively that the movie’s still banned in several countries over four decades since its release. Faces of Death (1978) was another headline-maker, with the original proudly boasting its banning in “over 46 countries” due to the debatability of its death and violent scenes being wholly fictional. Despite being produced in the 1970s, Faces of Death still had to be heavily edited before it got its first unrestricted release in 2003.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1535570269372-ccr-REPEAT6’); });

The Poughkeepsie Tapes is actually one of the more recent examples of found-footage and horror controversy, despite its initial 2007 release being over a decade ago. The 70s and 80s were the golden age for this type of media. Just as True Crime shows have captured the cultural fascination with the macabre for 2020s audiences, “banned” movies were a regular talking point and made news headlines frequently during the era that the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Cannibal Holocaust, and Faces of Death were released. Making a movie so disturbing the censors banned it was almost a point of pride, and creators definitely used it as a subversive marketing tactic to drive sales. Fortunately, horror fans in the 21st century don’t have to scour bootleg VHS stalls or have hushed back-room conversations at Blockbuster to get their hands on movies like The Poughkeepsie Tapes, and even though they remain controversial talking points, these movies have found a new, less restricted, lease of life thanks to modern streaming platforms.

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