There is real crime and then there is real crime that makes your stomach roll. While there are tons of great documentaries about true crime, as well as fantastic series based on real crimes and investigations, like Mindhunter and The Act a new trend is emerging with documentaries about true crime.
These documentaries typically document a particular crime or set of crimes from different perspectives, often with insights from investigators, family, friends, reporters, authors, or even the perpetrators themselves. They provide in-depth insight into fascinating stories that you attract, especially if they take a unique approach to a story that has already been told in a thousand different ways.
These binge-worthy documentaries about true crime are not for the faint hearted, they are absolutely worth seeing if you can bear the disturbing content. For each documentation, we have also included a recommendation for another project that examines similar topics.
Don't F *** With Cats: Chasing an Internet Killer (Netflix)
On the Turn Your Stomach Meter It's about the story of the Canadian killer Luka Magnotta, who was charged with murder on an exchange student in Montreal, Quebec. However, the main focus is on two Internet annoyances that were on Magnotta long before the authorities and were desperate to identify him after they found intrusive videos that he posted online and in which he abused cats. Her investigation turned into a virtual cat-and-mouse game that attracted people from all over the world who wanted to help identify and bring the man to justice. There are many graphic scenes, including excerpts from videos that Magnotta posted online, and cruel details about the terrible things he did to his victims (both animals and humans).
If you like this documentary, read the YOU series on Netflix.
Talking to a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes (Netflix)
You've probably seen a dozen documentaries and specials about Ted Bundy, but none like this. It consists of four 60-minute episodes with archive material from the infamous serial killer and audio from interviews with Bundy, who murdered at least 30 women. Unlike other documentaries, this series looks at Bundy through Bundy’s eyes. It’s fascinating to hear him speak, especially in the third person, while journalist Stephen Michaud skillfully elicits pseudo-confessions. Michaud plays with his inflated ego and lets Bundy present information as if he were only giving expert advice on the mental state of a typical murderer, not on his personal report.
If you like this documentation, read the series . Mindhunter on Netflix.
Ted Bundy: Falling For a Murderer (Amazon Prime Video)
Ted Bundy's story has been told over and over, but this documentary takes a different approach by focusing on its long history. Time girlfriend Elizabeth Kendall and her daughter Molly, who speak publicly about their family life with the killer for the first time. It contains archived family photos and unprecedented details from Kendall about the man she thought she knew. She discusses when her suspicions began to brew, how the murders happened right before her nose, why she stayed with him, his relationship with Molly, and what he told her after the "confession". What really sets this documentary apart is the moving of the headlight to the victims when we hear more about them from their families. The report of Bundy's first victim, which remembers in detail what he did to her and how she was lucky enough to find out alive, is particularly frightening.
If you like this documentary, watch the movie Extreme at Wicked Shockingly Evil and Vile on Netflix.
The Keepers (Netflix)
In 1969 Sister Cathy Cesnik, who taught at a high school in Baltimore, disappeared and was later found murdered. The case remains unsolved and this documentary with seven episodes deals intensively with a suspected cover-up. Cesnik reportedly discovered that a priest sexually abused students and wanted to expose him. The terrible nature of her death, the alarming alleged cover-up, and worrying details about what was supposed to be going on at school and how the children were concerned are extremely worrying. It's no surprise that this exciting and insightful series, in which two of Cesnik's friends don't give up the investigation, has a 97% approval rating on the Rotten Tomatoes website for rating aggregators.
If you like this documentary, read the documentary series Forensic Files on Netflix.
The Staircase (Netflix)
This documentary was published as an extension of a French TV mini-series of the same name after the trial of novelist Michael Peterson, who was convicted of murdering his wife Kathleen. The authorities were immediately skeptical of Peterson's report that his wife was drunk and fell down the stairs in her house, resulting in her death. The process will keep guessing and surprising you when shocking new facts and evidence emerge at every turn. With episodes from 2004, 2013 and 2018, you can stream all online as one documentary.
If you like this documentary, read the documentary The Jinx on HBO.
Evil Genie: The True Story of America's Most Diabolical Bank Heist (Netflix)
These fascinating documentaries, known as "pizza bombers", document the death of Brian Wells, a pizza delivery man who was overtaken by criminals who allegedly caught him have forced to carry a bomb and rob a bank. The four-part series includes interviews with locals who were living in Erie, Pennsylvania at the time of the event, and talks with Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong, the mentally ill woman who was convicted of furnishing the whole thing.
If you like this documentary, read the drama about true crime The Act about Hulu.
Making a Murderer (Netflix)
If you haven't seen this documentary yet, the two seasons of 20 episodes, a must for any lover of the genre. The series records the case of Steven Avery, who was wrongly convicted of sexual assault and attempted murder. He was released after 18 years and again charged with murdering a woman, Teresa Halbach. Was it all a setup from Manitowoc County, Wisconsin? Did he really kill her? And what did his nephew Brendan Dassey have to do with it?
If you like this documentary, read the documentation It was him: The many murders of Ed Edwards on Paramount Networks.
Survival R. Kelly (Netflix)
Unlike the others on this list, this documentary is not murder, but alleged sexual abuse of several women and children over decades by the well-known R&B singer R. Kelly. Many suspected victims discuss in detail what they think has happened to the singer, while others are also interviewed, including victims' family members, other musicians and producers, and even Kelly's own brothers. It's about Kelly's restless upbringing, his rise to fame, and research to uncover the truth that continues to this day. Two seasons with 11 episodes were broadcast. Critics praised the series for “uncovering the dangers of enabling predatory behavior” and “giving the survivors the necessary voice”.
If you like this documentary, see Leaving Neverland on HBO.
The Murder of Laci Peterson (Hulu & IMDb TV)
In one case that shook the nation, Laci Peterson, eight months pregnant in 2002, was found missing in Modesto, California in 2002. Her husband Scott was the alleged murderer, and as the investigation continued, explosive details were revealed, including a longstanding affair, a boat that may or may not have been used in the murder, and a complacent man who may have done very well his own wife. What most upsets the stomach about this incident is the fact that Scott often seemed unaffected by his wife's death and the death of her unborn child.
If you enjoyed this documentary, read the documentary Kidnapped in Plain Sight ] on Netflix.
Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez (Netflix)
Although these documentaries are not as cruel as some of the others, what is most stubborn about it like Hernandez, a once respected football star, seemed to be living a double life. It requires deep insight into Hernandez's childhood and personal life, and his inner struggles are obvious, which almost makes you sympathize with him. Hernandez has been tried on two separate murders just to commit suicide in prison – but the story doesn't end there. The unveiling of his posthumous diagnosis of CTE degenerative brain disease makes the series a compelling watch when you try to match the image of this amazing soccer player with the demons he hid.
If you like this documentary, read it I'm a Murderer on Netflix.
Recommendations from the editors