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Scariest True Crime Documentaries That Will Keep You Up At Night!

Scariest True Crime Documentaries That Will Keep You Up At Night!

[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]

It’s spooky season! And if you’re one of those people who prefer a scary trick over a sweet treat during Halloween, then we’ve got you covered!

Here’s a list of some of the scariest true crime documentaries that will have you sleeping with one eye open — that is, if you can even get some shut-eye after binge-watching these spine-chilling flicks! From serial killers to secret government operations, we’ve got every kind of scare for you!

I’ll Be Gone In The Dark

I’ll Be Gone In The Dark is an original HBO docu-series that focuses on writer Michelle McNamara’s investigation into the serial killer and sexual abuser known as the Golden State Killer. She’s also the wife of actor Patton Oswalt, who passionately helped finish writing the book after the TrueCrimeDiary blogger tragically passed away before publishing her work in 2018. (She died of an accidental overdose while sleeping, BTW.) The six-part series explores the haunting man, Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., who committed 50 sexual assaults and 10 murders in the ’70s and ’80s. With his case unsolved, Michelle took matters into her own hands to help bring justice to the killer’s many victims. Consider this a scarier, IRL version of every Hallmark mystery movie!

American Murder: The Family Next Door

They were just your ordinary family living in a small town… until a mom and her two daughters went missing in Colorado. In this mind-boggling investigative documentary, a close friend of Shanann Watts kickstarts a massive search for the missing people — only to discover the truly worst outcome ever. Chris Watts, Shanann’s beloved husband, is not the man anyone believed him to be.

Sadly, this film may interest those who have followed Gabby Petito‘s homicide case this fall, especially those focused on the person of interest, her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie.

The Disappearance Of Madeleine McCann

Madeleine McCann was just 3 years old when she was kidnapped at a resort in Portugal while on a family vacation. After a years-long search and many questioned suspects (including her parents!), the answers to this tragic phenomenon are still unknown. Follow along with this detailed and gripping search for truth as authorities decipher every possible theory into “the world’s most famous missing child case.”

Beware The Slenderman

It’s no secret kids’ imaginations run wild — but what happens when those fantasies start to bleed into real life? That’s what one small town witnessed firsthand when two pre-teens stabbed their 12-year-old friend 19 times, leaving her for dead. When the victim, Payton Leutner, survived after crawling through the forest for help, Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser claimed the whole thing was inspired by a viral 6-foot, faceless, white-skinned character on the internet who they believed to be real. In order to prove the bogeyman’s existence and appease the creature, the children set out to murder their friend.

Spoiler alert: the girls were found not guilty by mental disease or defect, but they were committed to mental institutions with sentences of 25 and 40 years. Whoa…

The Imposter

What would you do if a loved one returned home after disappearing for years? Accept them unconditionally? Even if things seemed… off? Well, you might think again after watching this horrifying film!

The Imposter chronicles a Texas family as they’re tricked into thinking their relative Nicholas Barclay had returned home after disappearing as a 13-year-old in 1994 — only to discover it was actually Frederic Bourdin, a con artist with a passion for impersonating real and imaginary children. OMG!

Long Shot

OK, this one’s just scary cool! Netflix’s Long Shot follows Juan Catalan, who was arrested for murder, as he tries to prove himself innocent. The only way to do that was to show proof he was attending a Dodgers game that evening. Cue comedian Larry David and his Curb Your Enthusiasm production team, who just so happened to be shooting an episode at the ballpark that same day. Can they find proof Juan was one of 56,000 people at the stadium that night… or will the young man go to jail (with a possible death sentence) for a crime he claims he did not commit? Watch to find out!


History buffs and true crime junkies will find their perfect guilty pleasure in Wormwood. This documentary-fiction film like no other attempts to uncover why the CIA covered up the death of one man’s untimely passing. It also reveals a whole lot of unnerving information into the government’s alleged program MK-Ultra, a secret Cold War initiative that resulted in illegal experiments on “unwitting” human subjects forced to use LSD. Yikes!

Crime Scene: The Vanishing At The Cecil Hotel

The Cecil Hotel has been dubbed “Hotel Death” for a reason. The Los Angeles-based budget hotel and frequent crime scene has been the focal point of numerous cases involving serial killers and shocking deaths… but could it be haunted too?? That’s what this Netflix doc explores as researchers attempt to figure out what led to college student Elisa Lam’s strange disappearance.

Murder Among The Mormons

“The only way to keep a secret between two people is to kill one of them.”

Salt Lake City was rocked when a set of bombings not only lead to the murder of two people but the potential destruction of an entire church community! When historical Morman letters and diaries (that uprooted the entire religion as people knew it) were found destroyed in the trunk of a victim’s car, police began to wonder who killed to protect those documents from ever reaching the public?? With everyone on the suspect list, the series focuses on mastermind Mark Hofmann, known as one of the most famous forgers in history, and the role he had in creating the papers that re-wrote the history of the Latter Day Saint movement.

Night Stalker: The Hunt For A Serial Killer

Almost nobody was more terrified of death than residents of Los Angeles in the 1980s when a serial killer with no apparent motive went on a rampage of murders and attacks in the pitch-black nights of summer. Ricardo “Richard” Leyva Muñoz Ramírez was the “evil,” “killer clown” terrorizing the City of Angels. Hear detectives and survivors recount the horrifying encounters they had with the criminal later convicted of thirteen counts of murder, five attempted murders, eleven sexual assaults, and fourteen burglaries. And you’ll want to make sure your doors are locked before pressing play on this one!

The Ripper

“The ultimate crime against women.”

Thirteen women lost their lives to a mass murderer in West Yorkshire, England in the late ’70s/early ’80s, but sadly their deaths were initially ignored because they were “prostitutes.” When a regular woman was found dead, everything changed. Now that any female was at risk of dying, and with the killer’s close ties to the police force evident, many began to fear the criminal would never be caught.

Don’t F**k With Cats: HuNting An Internet Killer

This more recent true crime story was solved by passionate animal lovers and clever internet sleuths! When a video was published on Facebook showing a mysterious man harming two innocent cats, viewers from around the world set out to find and bring him to justice. But it turned into the ultimate game of “cat and mouse” leading to the tragic murder of a Chinese international student. With the whole world on edge, can a group of amateur investigators and real-life detectives find the killer before more blood is shed?


It doesn’t take murder for a true crime doc to have you hiding under the covers. Captive is a Netflix documentary series that digs deep into the life-or-death world of international hostage negotiation. Investigating eight different crises from around the globe, watch in terror as this anxiety-inducing TV show details the victims’ unforgettable stories.

Will U be tuning in to any of these this Halloween season, Perezcious readers? Let us know what scares you the most (below)!

[Image via Netflix/Movieclips Trailers/HBO/HBOdocs/YouTube]

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Oct 04, 2021 13:00pm PDT