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Jordan Peele's 'Most Disturbing' Scene In Nope Is Based On Horrifying True Story

Daisy Phillipson

| Last updated 

Jordan Peele's 'Most Disturbing' Scene In Nope Is Based On Horrifying True Story

Following the US release of Jordan Peele’s latest horror epic Nope, fans are already busy dissecting the various plot points, including what many agree is the ‘most disturbing’ scene. 


The reason one viewer found the sequence to be unsettling is because it ‘just felt so real’.

Oddly enough, they hit the nail on the head with their description, and that’s because it could very well be based on one of the most horrifying animal-related disasters in US history.

Before we get into it, let it be known that we’re about to enter spoiler territory - granted, the level of detail we’ll go into won’t ruin the movie for you, but we thought we’d warn you nonetheless. 

Now that’s out of the way, the scene being discussed by online is one in which a celebrity chimp named Gordy unleashes a violent attack while on the set of a fictional film named Gordy’s Home!

Without giving too much away, the sequence mirrors many details of the real-life attack by a chimp called Travis. 

Just like Gordy, Travis was an animal actor, having appeared in numerous TV shows and advertisements in the US in the 90s and 00s. 

After the chimp was taken from his mum just days after his birth, a woman named Sandra Herold and her husband Jerome decided to give him a forever home and purchased him from a breeder. 

During his years growing up in the Herold home in Stamford, Connecticut, Travis became very domesticated, and was able to dress himself, water plants and feed hay to his owners' horses. 

He was also a very social animal, often playing with the neighbours and listening to commands. 

When Jerome passed away and the Herolds’ only child died in a car accident, Sandra considered Travis to be her surrogate son and would pamper him as if he were a human member of the family. 

Which is what makes the following story all the more tragic. 

In 2009, Sandra had asked her friend - 55-year-old Charla Nash - over to help get Travis back into the house after he ran off with her car keys. 

Despite being familiar with Charla, when Travis saw her holding one of his favourite toys - Tickle Me Elmo - he flew into a violent rage and attacked her. 

Charla’s injuries were overwhelming. During the attack, the chimp scalped her, gouged out and ate her eyes, dislocated her jaw, chewed off one of her hands and nearly tore off an entire arm. 

As this unimaginable horror unfolded, Sandra, who was 70 years old at the time, tried to stop Travis, hitting him on the head with a spade and stabbing him in the back with a knife. 

But this only made the animal more angry. 

Sandra is begged for the police to ‘hurry’ and to ‘have their guns ready’ to shoot Travis.

When they did arrive, Travis continued on his rampage and reportedly opened one of their patrol cars and attempted to attack an officer, but they shot and killed the chimp before he could inflict any more damage. 

However, the incident was far from over - when paramedics arrived, they presumed Charla was dead, with ‘strips of flesh and scalp’ strewn around the garden.

Incredibly, she moved to indicate that she was still alive and was rushed to hospital, where she underwent more than seven hours of surgery on her face and hands by four teams of surgeons. 

The survivor bravely went on The Oprah Winfrey Show shortly after to reveal her heavily disfigured face.

During her interview, Charla explained that despite being left blind and having to eat through a straw, she didn’t feel angry about what happened. 

"I don't even think about it," she said. "And there's no time for that anyways because I need to heal, you know, not look backwards."

Charla has since received a transformative face transplant, but at the time she covered her injuries with a veil similar to the one worn by Gordy’s victim in Nope, another detail that has people convinced that the plot point is based on this shocking real life story.

If you want to figure this one out for yourself, Nope drops in UK cinemas on 12 August.

Featured Image Credit: Universal Pictures/Alamy

Topics: TV and Film, Animals

Daisy Phillipson
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