What scares you the most? Is it the Nun in the ‘Conjuring‘ series or Ed Kemper from ‘Mindhunter‘? Or does a lizard or a spider do the trick for you? No judgment! Some things are inherently creepy! Despite that, the horror genre continues to be a favorite amongst the audience, even if it scares them to such an extent that they can’t even go to the bathroom in the dark alone after a session. If you are one such individual, then forget movies; these documentaries and docuseries will rattle your soul so that the next horror film you watch will be a joy ride in comparison.
22. Abducted in Plain Sight (2017)
This scary true-crime documentary showcases two kidnappings of Jan Broberg, between ages 12 and 14 on October 17, 1974, and August 10, 1976, by the same guy, Robert Berchtold, who was a family friend. Berchtold had also managed to establish sexual relations with Jan’s mother and father. She is currently an actress/singer/dancer. Berchtold committed suicide in 2005. Featuring interviews with the Brobergs and others associated with the case, archival footage, and re-enactments of real events, ‘Abducted in Plain Sight’ is directed by Skye Borgman. You can watch it here.
21. The Devil on Trial (2023)
Under the direction of Chris Holt, this documentary delves into a groundbreaking legal case where “demonic possession” was employed as a defense in a U.S. murder trial—an unprecedented occurrence. Offering firsthand accounts of alleged devil possession and a chilling murder, the narrative invites contemplation on society’s fear of the unknown. With a shocking blend of legal intrigue and supernatural elements, the film unravels an extraordinary story that challenges conventional beliefs and prompts viewers to confront the unsettling intersection of the legal system and the supernatural. You can watch it here.
20. Crime Scene: The Vanishing At The Cecil Hotel (2021)
On January 31, 2013, a college student and Canadian tourist named Elisa Lam disappeared from the Cecil Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles without a trace left behind. This documentary series thus chronicles her story, with a specific focus on how the affordable housing complex was already infamous due to the several crimes/deaths that had occurred there in the years prior. However, even with several conspiracy theories, her odd behavior and the nightmarish backdrop of the hotel, ‘Crime Scene: The Vanishing At The Cecil Hotel’ illustrates that not everything is as it seems. You may watch the documentary here.
19. Paranormal Investigation (2018)
One of the creepiest things in the world (at least for us) is the idea of ghosts, lingering spirits, and Ouija boards, but that’s precisely what ‘Paranormal Investigation’ covers. In other words, this ominous and suspenseful French horror movie revolves around a ghost hunter as they try to draw out a spirit that possessed a young male while he was playing an Ouija game with friends. All the youngster did was ask how they’d died – as any curious person might – and things turned calamitous. What makes this film worthwhile, though, is the fact that it includes everything from actual investigations to backstories to an exorcism. You can watch the documentary here.
18. Voyeur (2017)
If you travel a lot, then you know what it’s like to stay in hotels. They might not be as comfortable as home, but when on the road, you have to make do with what you’ve got. Hotels have every facility these days — complimentary breakfast, Wi-Fi, and open room service; what more do you need? What about safety? If you’re staying in a strange place in a strange town and feel a bit paranoid about your hotel room, then it’s most probably because there is something wrong. If your gut tells you to leave, please leave. Gerald Foos was the owner of one such establishment in Colorado. ‘Voyeur‘ is his story. Feel free to check it out here.
17. Audrie and Daisy (2016)
Studies suggest that most cases of sexual assault are perpetrated by someone the victim knew. While this statistic is an alarming revelation, it also makes us wonder, is there no one we can trust? What’s worse, though, is that instead of getting support to stand up for themselves, the victims are often ridiculed and rebuked, which generally happens through social media platforms. It’s no secret that cyberbullying can often drive people to madness and suicide, and the fact that people don’t understand the sensitivity of the matter honestly makes our faith falter in humanity. ‘Audrie and Daisy‘ presents such cases of girls who were sexually assaulted by those they’d known since their early years, only to then be shamed by the rest of the world. You can check out the documentary here.
16. The Devil Next Door (2019)
By chronicling the alleged unimaginable offenses committed by John Demjanjuk, ‘The Devil Next Door‘ is a production that can only be described as heartwrenching. After all, he was a Ukrainian-American former Nazi Camp Guard accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, only for countless doubts to arise about his role. He was even (mis)identified as the infamous “Ivan the Terrible” at one point, but how many concentration camps did he actually work in, and what exactly did he do there? If you want to know more about the same while also learning about the gruesome reality of the Holocaust, then trust us; this docuseries is the one for you. You can watch ‘The Devil Next Door’ here.
15. I Am A Killer (2018)
Every crime has a punishment. The justice system is set up precisely to make sure a person gets what they deserve. However, like everything created by man, this system is also flawed. Sometimes, it helps a criminal escape its clutches, while other times, it convicts the wrong man. What side is ‘I Am A Killer’ on? Neither. It is not an analysis that questions the legal verdict, nor is it an investigative series that tries to solve a case. In fact, the interviews with death row inmates merely recount the stories of their crimes and then leave it up to you to feel hatred or sympathy for convicts. Fair warning: the conclusion might make you question your beliefs concerning the justice system. You may watch it here.
14. Unsolved Mysteries (2020-)
Let’s be honest, no horror/paranormal/true-crime/scary list is complete without the mention of ‘Unsolved Mysteries.’ The concept of this sequence has been around since the late 1980s, but Netflix’s reboot has made it bigger and better than ever before. As the title suggests, it analyzes some of the most enigmatic as well as creepy unsolved matters around the world, which not only leaves us baffled but also makes us wonder if anything like that could ever happen to us. We admit that’s not a happy thought, yet it does strike after every installment, all the while managing to keep us intrigued. You may watch ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ here.
13. Haunted (2018-)
Sitting around a campfire and telling horror stories to each other is something that all of us have attempted to do at least once. While some allow their imagination to run wild in such scenarios, there are a select few who often claim that theirs was a true story — that it had happened to someone who never lived to tell the tale! Yes, it can be a bit difficult to believe the authenticity of these “true” horror stories, but ‘Haunted’ doesn’t try to affirm any, either. However, if you still want some scary tales told in the dark, then this is the perfect watch for you. You can watch it here.
12. Dark Tourist (2018)
Set in various countries across the world, ‘Dark Tourist’ is a 2018 documentary series that follows journalist David Farrier as he explores various morbid tourist attractions. Almost every site featured in the show tells the story of certain horrific events in history that continue to haunt the world with just how dark the world can be. A grim reflection of society, nature, and humans themselves, this is one show you cannot miss out on as a fan of real-life horror stories. You may watch the series here.
11. The Confession Tapes (2017-2019)
Combining true crime and real life, ‘The Confession Tapes’ provides viewers with the words of those who have, at one point or another, confessed to having committed criminal acts. It is not unknown to law enforcement to employ a variety of tactics to hopefully gain a confession from their suspects in order to hasten the process of justice. However, in the show, we are presented with the possibility of what might have happened if certain confessions were false and with experts weighing on the topic of law, miscarriage of justice, and psychology. Feel free to check out the documentary here.
10. Surviving Death (2021)
Based on the eponymous 2017 book by Leslie Kean, ‘Surviving Death’ explores the idea of a life beyond death. Featuring various people who have had near-death experiences, the series also talks about psychic mediumship and various beliefs prevalent in the world when it comes to postmortem events. Given just how much the concept of death has shaped human lives and history, it is certainly a soothing form of haunting to look at the concept critically, wondering if one’s demise might not be the end of all things. You can check out the documentary here.
9. Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story (2022)
There are few things that can truly shake a person, such as feeling deceived by someone you have come to respect. As such, ‘Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story’ is a true reflection of how the public felt upon learning that a man whom they had come to cherish as an artist may not have been deserving of the love that was bestowed upon him. Sir James Wilson Vincent Savile, AKA Jimmy Savile, death in 2011 was followed by various allegations of sexual abuse against him that came to light in 29012, making many wonder how to gauge a man’s character truly. The documentary is streaming here.
8. Ghost Hunting (2017)
While resisting one’s trauma can be a harrowing experience, the various Palestinian prisoners who were once captives of Israel take a different approach to healing. Featured in ‘Ghost Hunting,’ the former prisoners reenact the circumstances that they had to go through in order to gain a better understanding of their past and hopefully move on from the ghosts of their past that continue to keep them awake after their return home. You can watch ‘Ghost Hunting’ here.
7. Tell Me Who I Am (2019)
While feeling like a story straight from a drama movie, ‘Tell Me Who I Am’ presents a nerve-wracking true tale of Alex and Marcus Lewis. When the former lost his memory in a motorcycle accident, only remembering his twin brother, Marcus told him about a life that one cannot help but wistfully envy. However, as years pass by, Alex realizes that his twin may have hidden something highly dark about their past, though Marcus himself has yet to come to grips with what haunts the brothers, even if one is unaware of details. You may watch the documentary here.
6. Conversations with a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes (2022)
A part of the ‘Conversations with a Killer’ series, ‘The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes’ shares details of the actions committed by perhaps one of the most infamous serial killers in the USA, Jeffrey Dahmer. His actions were not limited to killing his victims and earned him the name of Milwaukee Cannibal. With his own confessions audible in the show, Dahmer’s story is presented to the world to understand the horror that some humans are capable of. You may watch ‘Conversations with a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes’ here.
5. House of Secrets: The Burari Deaths (2021)
The deaths of 11 family members in their own home in Burari, Delhi, India, captivated the nation and the world and are well discussed in ‘House of Secrets: The Burari Deaths.’ While all members of the family appeared to have committed suicide, the possible reasons behind the same eluded those who knew the family and the ones who were investigating the case. Even now, the case remains unsolved, with explanations ranging from brainwashing to religious fervor being tossed around to understand the actions that took place in the Indian capital. You can watch the documentary here.
4. The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness (2021)
Following his instincts, investigative journalist Maury Terry spent the last four decades of his trying to prove that David Berkowitz had not been the only person behind the tragic shootings that took place in New York between July 1976 and July 1977. Suspecting the involvement of a cult known as “The Children,” Terry continued to collect evidence until his death. It is the same information that ‘The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness’ explores with the help of several experts. Feel free to check out the documentary here.
3. Encounters (2023)
While UFOs have long been a subject of skeptic speculation for many, mass sightings of the same alien incident are enough to make even the most cynical doubt their conviction. ‘Encounters‘ explores various well-documented cases where a large group of people claimed to have witnessed similar activities that defied what they knew about the natural world. From aliens to natural disasters, the show is enough to entice fans of horror as well as science fiction. You can watch ‘Encounters’ here.
2. The UnXplained (2019-)
Hosted by none other than William Shatner, ‘The UnXplained’ is a documentary show that explores various haunting mysteries that have yet to be explained in a manner that can be considered satisfactory. The fear of the unknown often follows the lure of mystery in such situations. With each episode of this captivating series, viewers explore questions that many have been asking for a long time, though the reasons have continued to baffle and terrify the world. You may watch the show here.
1. My Encounter with Evil (2022)
There is frankly nothing as horrifying as the idea of an otherworldly entity haunting one’s step with malevolent intentions. In ‘My Encounter with Evil,’ we get to hear the stories of three women and their loved ones who talk about their dealings with possession, infestation, and exorcisms. While the idea of the supernatural is already something that not everyone finds themselves comfortable with, the real-life stories of the featured cast are perhaps enough to make one doubt even the safety of their own home. Experience the encounter here.
Read More: Best Crime Documentaries on Netflix