Those of us born with an extra nerd bone in our bodies tend to love documentaries. There’s something very gratifying about learning facts while watching complex reenactments and personal testimonies directly related to very real societal atrocities. Documentaries climb inside your brain, and they’re relentlessly spinning the wheel… and once you’re hooked, you’re hooked.
For all of those as hooked as I happen to be, I offer you a list of documentaries currently streaming on Netflix. The bulk of these films aren’t related to the horror genre, but they’re definitely horrific. And they’re more than likely to make you think while shaking a few chills.
The Fear of 13
A convicted murderer who has spent 23 years on Death Row tells his story.
UFOs: The Best Evidence Ever Caught on Tape
Professional photographers and UFO video hunters capture extraordinary objects in the skies around the world.
Making a Murderer
Filmed over a 10-year period, Making a Murderer is an unprecedented real-life thriller about Steven Avery, a DNA exoneree who, while in the midst of exposing corruption in local law enforcement, finds himself the prime suspect in a grisly new crime. Set in America’s heartland, the series takes viewers inside a high-stakes criminal case where reputation is everything and things are never as they appear.
Unsealed: Alien Files
Unsealed Alien Files investigates documents of alien and UFO encounters, made accessible to the public by the Freedom of Information Act. Each episode tackles a compelling alien case by opening these previously off-limit secret files.
Realizing the urban legend of their youth has actually come true; two filmmakers delve into the mystery surrounding five missing children and the real-life boogeyman linked to their disappearances.
Four timeless urban legends continue to haunt the psyche of the American public. This documentary follows filmmakers Joshua Zeman and Rachel Mills as they investigate the true crimes that may have spawned these urban legends, while exploring how these myths evolved and why we continue to believe. The documentary probes the following legends: The Candyman: The film travels viewers to Houston, Texas, to explore the legend of tainted candy that strikes fear in parents every Halloween. Though the legend is prolific, in actuality there is only one documented case of a child dying from tainted candy: 8-year-old Timothy O’Bryan. Timothy was poisoned on Halloween by a real life monster who used the legend to hide his crime, earning him the nickname, The Candyman. The Baby-Sitter and the Man Upstairs: As the legend goes, a babysitter tormented by a twisted caller, learns that the sadistic calls are coming from inside the house. While the babysitter has become the go-to victim in so many of our…
The Hunting Ground
From the makers of The Invisible War (2012) comes a startling exposé of rape crimes on U.S. college campuses, their institutional cover-ups and the devastating toll they take on students and their families. Weaving together verité footage and first-person testimonies, the film follows the lives of several undergraduate assault survivors as they attempt to pursue – despite incredible push back, harassment, and traumatic aftermath – both their education and justice.
The New Detectives: Case Studies in Forensic Science
Forensic scientists work with a variety of methods (i.e. computer technology, anthropology, entomology) to solve crimes which would otherwise remain unsolved, through finding seemingly obscure clues such as tire tracks, bullet fragments and hair samples and then putting the pieces together. Interviews with forensic pathologists, cold case detectives and victims families show the process entailed in each case. Three separate cases are spotlighted in each episode of this series.
Series which dramatises 3-4 well-known urban legends each episode. The catch is one (or more) of the ‘legends’ actually did happen, and it’s for the viewer to figure it out.
This drama-doc series takes us back in time to the most shocking and surprising murder cases in history. Nicholas Day guides us into the world of the killer as we see how police ingenuity and early forensics helped bring them to justice.
Dark Star: H.R. Giger’s World
He feels at home in places we would flee from and lives his life among the very things we fear. Throughout his life, HR Giger had inhabited the world of the uncanny, a dark universe on the brink of many an abyss. It was the only way this amiable, modest and humorous man was able to keep his fears in check. Giger was merely the bearer of dark messages, charting our nightmares, drafting maps of our subconscious and molding our primal fears. A film with and about the internationally acclaimed and controversial painter, sculptor, architect and designer (Oscar for ‘Alien’).
H.H. Holmes: America’s First Serial Killer
Depicts the entire life of Herman Mudgett, AKA Holmes, and his castle of horrors. Also known as the torture doctor, Holmes designed his own building, complete with torture chambers, where he rented rooms to unsuspecting victims visiting the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. Focuses on Dr. Holmes’ entire life of crime and villainy (1861-1896). Threaded with on-location footage from Holmes’ past haunts, such as his childhood home in New Hampshire and the Philadelphia courtroom where his trial was held. It’s a visual tour-de-force of reenactments, expert interviews, and period photography.
A subjective documentary that explores the numerous theories about the hidden meanings within ‘Stanley Kubrick (I)’ ‘s Kubrick”s film The Shining (1980). The film may be over 30 years old but it continues to inspire debate, speculation, and mystery. Five very different points of view are illuminated through voice over, film clips, animation and dramatic reenactments. Together they’ll draw the audience into a new maze, one with endless detours and dead ends, many ways in, but no way out.
Manson’s Missing Victims
It is almost universally believed by those who were involved with, or who have studied, the Manson murders that there are far more victims still out there. This documentary looks for some of their graves.
Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau
Behind the scenes chronicle of how clash of vision, bad creative decisions, lack of interest and really bad weather plagued the disastrous production of the infamous 1996 remake of The Island of Dr. Moreau.
From Caligari to Hitler: German Cinema in the Age of the Masses
“Metropolis” (1927), “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” (1920), “M” (1931), “Nosferatu” (1922), “People on Sunday” (1930), “Berlin, Symphony of a Metropolis” (1927) all rank among the classics and most influential films of European Cinema. FROM CALIGARI TO HITLER tells the story of early German Cinema as the story of social and cultural upheaval in the first republic, between 1918 and 1933. Siegfried Kracauer, who wrote the groundbreaking book ‘From Caligari to Hitler’ (1947) on this ‘Weimar Cinema’, is a central figure, as is Fritz Lang, the most versatile of all Weimar directors. The viewer will encounter the cast members of the young Republic’s stage: Marlene Dietrich, Louise Brooks, Emil Jannings, directors such as G.W.Pabst and F.W. Murnau, writers like Billy Wilder and many more – those who helped shape the new art of cinema.
A look at a frightening condition that plagues thousands; sleep paralysis.