The case of two Wisconsin girls, who attempted to kill their classmate to please a fictional character Slender Man, sent shock waves throughout the US in 2014.
Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser, both then aged 12, had stabbed their classmate Payton Leutner at least 19 times after luring her into a wooded park in Waukesha, a Milwaukee suburb. Leutner survived after she managed to crawl out of the woods and was found by a passing bicyclist.
The pair had attacked Leutner to please Slender Man, a fictional character who they believed was real. The girls' lawyers claim the accused thought that killing the girl would make them safe from the Slender Man.
On Thursday (21 December), Weier was sentenced to 25 years in a mental hospital after she pleaded guilty in August to attempted second-degree homicide with her friend Geyser. She earlier faced the charge of first-degree attempted intentional homicide but in August she said she cannot be held responsible for the murder as she was mentally ill.
Geyser is expected to be sentenced in February after she pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree intentional homicide in October with the agreement that she isn't criminally responsible because she suffers from schizophrenia, which was testified by an expert.
There is a long list of people who are so obsessed with fictional characters that they are willing to commit murder. IBTimes UK brings you a list of five such movies that inspired creepy crimes in real life.
The Loved Ones: The Loved Ones is an American horror film that showed a girl kidnapping and brutalising a boy after he rejected her invite to a prom.
The movie contained many gross and difficult-to-watch scenes but for England's Gary George, it was an inspiration. In 2012, the 41-year-old carried out a "similar attack" on his 53-year-old friend Andrew Nall. He beat him mercilessly before causing nearly 49 separate knife wounds, including one carved on his stomach, into which he poured salt.
George had also poured cleaning fluid into Nall's eyes while he was still alive.
The Matrix: The 1999 science fiction action film was about a computer programmer, who was led to fight an underground war against powerful computers who rule the world with a system called "The Matrix".
The movie also suggested that the world we live in is just an illusion controlled by a computer but soon a few lawyers started using this as a defence to save their clients involved in violent crimes.
One of the most famous cases was that of Lee Boyd Malvo, who was convicted of murder for his involvement in the 2002 Washington DC-area sniper attacks. His lawyer used the same theory to defend him and claimed Malvo was obsessed with the world of blurred realities and mind control portrayed in The Matrix.
The serial killer's obsession continued in jail, where he wrote, "Free yourself of The Matrix" in his cell.
Twilight: The 2009 fantasy-drama based on Stephenie Meyer's popular novel of the same name was quite a hit among people, especially youngsters. The movie's main characters – Bella Swan and Edward Cullen played by Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson – left people mesmerised.
A school boy in Iowa, however, was so inspired by the movie that he allegedly bit a 13-year-old girl. An investigation into the case revealed that the boy had bitten 10 others in one month.
The boy's father reportedly blamed the movie for his son's actions and said it was his son's love of the film that made him bite his fellow students. Later, the boy was sent to a juvenile correction facility.
Queen Of The Damned: The Australian-American 2002 drama had such a long-lasting impression on a 22-year-old that he watched the movie more than 100 times. Allan Menzies from Scotland had killed his friend thinking he would be rewarded with immortality and become a vampire "in the next life".
The young man had even claimed that he was visited by vampire Akasha, a character played in the movie by singer Aaliyah, who ordered him to murder Thomas McKendrick.
Menzies' offer to plead guilty to the murder was rejected after consultant forensic psychiatrists said he seemed to suffer from an "anti-social personality disorder".
Dexter: The American drama about forensic technician Dexter Morgan, played by Michael C Hall, inspired a teenager so much that he strangled his 10-year-old brother with his bare hands.
During his first interrogation with police, Andrew Conley from Ohio had even bragged about his fascination and said: "I don't know if you've heard of it, but it's called 'Dexter,' and it's on Showtime. And I feel like him because he's a serial killer of bad people ... but I just feel like him."