Horror movies are scary. That goes without saying, of course. But horror movies are not the scariest things you can watch. There’s always this sense of “it’s not real so it can’t hurt me” going on with horror movies, even if they claim it’s based on a true story.
Documentaries are a different story (heh) altogether. Make no mistake, these are all real. These horror stories happened to real people, and the culprits are real people as well. They are definitely real, and that makes these documentaries scarier than any horror movie can ever be.
When it comes down to it, humans are pretty messed up.
Here are 10 you can watch online, right now.
1. The Bridge
What drives a person to suicide? What drives dozens of people to suicide, from the most iconic landmark of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge?
This documentary filmed for 365 days of a year, and managed to capture the deaths of 23 people who jumped from the bridge, and included viewpoints from the victims’ friends and families.
2. Child of Rage
Forget all the creepy children in horror movies. The twins from The Shining, the kid from The Omen, none of them can hold a candle to this little girl (although I really don’t wanna see any of them holding a candle in the middle of the night).
Child of Rage interviews a little girl with attachment disorder, caused by her extremely abusive childhood. She exhibits no emotions, no empathy and no conscience, as she calmly described the horrible things she would do to her parents and brother.
3. Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles
This documentary details the extensive research the director had made about the Toynbee tiles, a series of hundreds of tiles all around the US, all written with basically the same message:
In Kubrick’s 2001
On Planet Jupiter
He uncovers some pretty intense stuff related to the origins of these tiles, as well as the person responsible.
4. My Amityville Horror
By now, the Amityville Horror has already been inscribed into the annals of horror history. It’s the OG haunted house. But this documentary’s different. It is literally a true story.
Daniel Lutz recounts in first-person, his own experiences of a childhood spent in the most infamous haunted house in horror history. None of that “Based on a true story” crap of horror movies, this one is the real deal.
5. The Imposter
A young boy goes missing in Texas in 1994, and his family gives up the search gradually. 3 years later, he was discovered in Spain. Happy and relieved, his family welcomes him home. Months later, he was discovered to be actually someone else entirely.
If that’s not a horror movie plot, I don’t know what is.
How did a grown-ass man impersonate a missing child, fooling both the authorities and the family members? Watch this to find out.
The filmmakers attempt to uncover the truth of a series of child kidnappings and murders that happened in their hometown.
Sounds like a standard kidnapping documentary, until you realise the culprit was never found. A serial killer was convicted, but he only admitted to some of the kidnapping. Nobody knows who did the rest, and exactly what happened to the kids.
7. Albert Fish: In Sin He Found Salvation
Albert Fish was one of the most depraved serial killers. He’s probably the guy serial killers tell stories about.
This man suffered from extreme mental illness from young, and grew into a life of prostitution, child molestation and murder. The documentary interviews him, and he describes his crimes—hundreds of them—in graphic detail.
In one case, he detailed the murder of a young girl in a letter, which he sent to the mother. What the actual f—.
8. Josef Fritzl: Story of a Monster
Josef Fritzl is a different kind of depraved. He didn’t kill anyone, not directly. What he did was arguably worse. He imprisoned his own daughter from age 18, for 24 whole years in the basement, and repeatedly raped her, fathering 7 children throughout the years. One of the children died shortly after childbirth due to respiratory problems.
Yeah, this shit is pretty messed up.
9. Confessions of a Serial Killer: Jeffrey Dahmer
This documentary interviews a certain Jeffrey Dahmer, a serial killer who raped, murdered, then ate 17 men. He was involved in crimes against humanity like necrophilia, cannibalism, and preservation of body parts, in addition to the rapes, murders and dismemberment.
He was sentenced to 15 terms of life imprisonment, then was beaten to death by a fellow inmate.
Somehow it still feels like he got off easy.
10. Interview with a Cannibal
This guy now feels sane compared to the previous dude, but he’s pretty messed up in his own right. As written in the title, Issei Sagawa ate a person. The documentary interviews him, and he describes his crime (the murder and subsequent cannibalism of a classmate) calmly and in detail.
That’s not the worst part. The worst part is he wasn’t convicted, and he’s still around in Japan, trying to make a living while being known as a murderer and cannibal.
Whenever you feel like insomnia is the way to go, just pick one documentary here and start watching. Have fun!