Is John Carpenter’s Suburban Screams based on a true story?

By Romey Norton
Published: October 15, 2023
View allNext Article
Is John Carpenter’s Suburban Screams based on a true story?

Horror legend John Carpenter takes a serious stab at the popular world of true crime as his Peacock series John Carpenter’s Suburban Screams explores the real evil that lurks in the seemingly perfect American suburbs. Since each episode opens with a claim that the series is based on true stories, many viewers are, rightly, wondering about the authenticity of each episode. 

So, we’re here to explain whether these tales of terror, which feature detailed encounters with psychopaths, slashers, demons, and ghosts told through the everyday, average people who have encountered and survived them, really have a basis in fact or are simply embellishments of longstanding urban legends or local folk stories. 

John Carpenter’s Suburban Screams series explained 

Suburban Screams was created by Carpenter and his wife Sandy King Carpenter (his producing partner for decades) from a concept coming from the show’s other producers Tony DiSanto, Jordan Roberts, Patrick Smith, and Andy Portnoy. They were so intrigued by the idea that the Carpenters agreed to partner in making the series through their Storm King Productions label. 

Carpenter has also composed the show’s theme song with his son Cody Carpenter and godson Daniel Davies, and he’s taken to the director’s chair, directing the final episode of this season, titled “The Phone Stalker”. This was done remotely from the USA as the series was shot in Europe. 

In the opening voice-over, Carpenter summarises the show by saying, “In our suburbs, evil lurks behind closed doors. True stories so terrifying because the horror is real. You will never look at your neighbors the same way again.”

Similar to Amazon’s Lore, and Netflix’s Unsolved Mysteries reboot, this series is based on real-life events, which include violent acts and supernatural stories, some still unfolding and unsolved. 

In each of the six episodes, viewers get an up-close look at a particular suburban nightmare, and the tales unfold through a blend of live-action reenactments and real testimony/interviews with the survivors. 

Is John Carpenter’s Suburban Screams based on a true story?

Suburban Screams is based on real-life incidents and accounts, but there are only two of the six stories that feel real and legitimate. One is the episode “A Killer Comes Home”, which is focused on the very real case of  Allan Legere, who was also known as the “Monster of the Miramichi” — a Canadian rapist, arsonist, and serial killer.

The second is The Bunny Man”, which was also an episode on Lore and is based on the urban legend emanating from two incidents in Fairfax, Virginia. Despite many variations as the legend has spread throughout the Washington, D.C., and Maryland areas, the Fairfax County Public Library Historian-Archivist Brian A. Conley isolated its origin to two incidents of a man in a rabbit costume threatening people with an axe, occurring ten days apart.

The other episodes feel too broad in their subject matter, but this can open conversations for viewers as to whether the stories are in fact true or not. Cursed Neighborhood” follows a mother and daughter who move to Charles County, Maryland, and suffer a series of strange incidents which is implied to be the work of 19th-century settler ghosts who once fought Native Americans on the land. However, no one claims on the record that they happened, so this one feels a little less legitimate.

“Kelly” is about a seance going wrong when a makeshift Ouija board brings through the spirit of a cousin who went missing — who hasn’t messed around with a homemade Ouija board and had spooky stuff happen? Likewise 

The series is receiving mixed reviews from critics, with some suggesting that without the famous Carpenter name, the series wouldn’t be getting the attention it is. Many question the meaning of suburban, as there are many settings covered in the series and there are doubts about the stories as the interviews feel scripted.

Even though the series might not live up to its counterparts, there are many more true stories waiting to be told, and the Carpenters themselves are keen to make more seasons

READ: John Carpenter’s Suburban Screams Season 1 Recap

Features, News, Peacock, RSC Originals, Streaming Service, TV
View allNext Article