It was way back in 2003 when Wrong Turn was first released. Can’t believe that it’s been 13 years! Nonetheless, this remarkable horror-slasher has still retained its position as a popular cult film amongst its followers. (No wonder it feels like I’ve watched it just the last week) Despite tons of mixed reviews, Wrong turn has spun off several sequels- Wrong Turn 2: Dead End, Wrong Turn 3 -Left for Dead, Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings, Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines and Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort with the last four films going straight to video.
The plot follows a bunch of college students lead by Chris Flynn (Desmond Harrington) and Jessie Burlingame (Eliza Dushku) trying to escape the family of cannibals.
And if you think these “humans – eating – flesh – of – other – humans” do not exist, well you clearly have been misguided. Yes, they are totally for real! Like REAL real.
There is archeological and genetic evidence of cannibalism since Paleolithic age. That did not stop there, and it continued till the World War II. In some cultures, Cannibalism is part and parcel of their lives, and it is STILL practiced in many nooks and corners of the world. It’s their norm after all.
There are three types of Cannibalism:
- Cannibalism: This well-documented case involved the consumption of human flesh in emergency situations, such as starvation.
- Endocannibalism: The consumption of human flesh from a member of one’s social group.
- Exocannibalism: The consumption of flesh outside one’s close social group. For example, eating one’s enemy.
– Source: The Donner Party
The Wrong Turn film franchise did feature the Exocannibalism group. To them, human beings were ‘The Other’ as they continued to be hostile towards human beings and were shown to stay together groups. Also, they happen to breed together: the family of inbreds Ma, Pa, Brother and Sister (as shown in Wrong Turn 2)
Image via Wrong Turn
In the third movie Wrong Turn: Left for Dead, Three-Toe (son of Three Finger) is murdered by convicts and they leave his head as a warning to the cannibals. Three Finger places the head in a shrine that he creates. Wrong Turn: Bloody Beginnings shows him picking up the heads of corpses and driving off. If you remember, headhunting is a trait of Exocannibalism.
Hmm there is a smell of curiosity is already brewing in your minds: Did Wrong Turn take place or not?
Having flirted with your curiosity, let’s go back to the beginning of the film. The location was a remote forest in West Virginia Hills where college-goers Halley Smith and Rich Stoker were captured and killed by unknown assailants shortly revealed to be Three Finger, Saw Tooth, and Eye. Speaking of the Hills, West Virginia has traditionally been seen as a lesser developed area. Although cases of missing people have been reported, it is very less likely that the region is inhabited by cannibals. There has been no sufficient evidence to back the urban legend that has been created for a long time now.
It was also rumored that serial killer of The Rainbow Murders provided the story for the Fifth Wrong Turn installment. The story goes that Joseph Franklin murdered two women when he was in West Virginia. Similarly in the movie, Maynard a serial killer is introduced in Bloodlines who teams up with the family of cannibals and helps them kill victims.
Image via Wrong Turn 7
The question soliciting opinions if the Wrong Turn was inspired by the real-life story, unfortunately, has no straight answers.
As director Rob Schmidt Barraccano, himself puts it, that the conflicting cultures of left-wing urban bohemia and unschooled rural poverty were the inspiration for Wrong Turn. “I grew up surrounded by strange people and things: hobos that would leave apples on the corral fence in exchange for meals, a best friend, a tenant farmer’s son who had no tongue and only babbled gibberish. It didn’t prevent us from cutting ourselves up with pocket knives we were too young for, playing with gasoline or getting lost in the forests that surrounded us.There’s a lot of death in the country, cows and pigs slaughtered for food, dogs and cats hit by speeding cars and deer and rabbits brought down by hunters, their corpses hung from trees to drain. There were switchblades and old shotguns among all the tools in the barns and city folks, Orthodox Jews from Brooklyn and political radicals from Chicago, would come out to a place populated by impoverished Appalachians driving ancient pickups and Amish riding in their horse-drawn buggies through miles of empty forest. It was a great place to grow up in.” – Source: houseofhorrors
The end result: Wrong Turn is pure creativity. Fact mixed with Fiction. Nothing less. Nothing more.