Cinema is barely 100-odd years old -- but fear is much older. If there's a scary story around, you can bet it was told before -- or even that it happened, if it's realistically possible. History, mythology, folklore -- it's everything there already. You only need to reach out, and you'll fish out something scary, ready for the movie treatment. You don't need to take our word for it, though. Just take a look at these.
Source: University of Toronto Libraries
Source: 9 Real Life Mad Scientists