8 terrifying Netflix documentaries that will scare you way more than any horror film
Halloween is almost upon us, and for fans of the dark, the disturbing and the macabre around the world, this is the most exciting time of the year. This is when you can finally challenge your friends to indulge in your penchant for the grim and gothic, when you can force them to dim the lights and watch a few classic horror films: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Exorcist, Friday the 13th, and all the other greats.
But if, like me, you've seen the best movies multiple times, then maybe now you're looking for something alternative to give you a serious case of the willies this October 31. If that's the case then look no further than Netflix for your next dose of spookiness, and instead of watching some old slasher, why not check out some of their documentaries instead. Yes, it's true what they say: sometimes the truth is much, much scarier than fiction, and more than a few of Netflix's documentary programmes are guaranteed to scare the pants off the unwary. Scroll down to check out eight of the very best examples below!
1. The Keepers
This seven-part documentary by Ryan White explores the 1969 murder of a nun: sister Cathy Cesnik. Cesnik's body was discovered near a garbage dump in the Baltimore suburb of Lansdowne, and her murder has been a cold case ever since. The series postulates that Cesnik, who taught English and drama at a girl's school, was killed as part of a conspiratorial cover-up to protect the reputation of fellow-teacher A. Joseph Maskell, who was later found guilty of multiple counts of the sexual abuse of his own students.
Cropsey is a chilling movie directed by Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio, which examines the urban legend of 'Cropsey', a boogeyman-like figure who has been a part of New York City's folklore for many years. The documentarians theorise that Cropsey is actually derived from the story of convicted child kidnapper Andre Rand.
3. Killer Legends
Killer Legends is like a real-life X-Files, in which directors Joshua Zeman and Rachel Mills team up to investigate the origins of a number of urban legend figures, including the Hookman, the Candyman, and the Killer Clown. Perfect campfire stuff then.
4. Belief: The Possession of Janet Moses
This documentary examines the frightening case of Janet Moses, a 14-year-old girl who was killed as a result of a Maori mākutu exorcism ritual in Wellington, New Zealand, as well as the subsequent trial, in which her uncle and four aunts were found guilty of drowning her.
5. The Staircase
The Staircase examines the bizarre case of novelist Michael Peterson, who called the police on December 9, 2001 to report that his wife Kathleen had died after falling down a flight of stairs in their house in Forest Hill, North Carolina. Kathleen was highly intoxicated at the time, but police investigators suspected foul play. The series follows the drama within the Peterson household and explores whether or not Peterson's ultimate conviction for murder was truly justified.
6. Hostage to the Devil
Hostage to the Devil takes a look at Father Malachi Martin, an Irish Jesuit who devoted himself to performing numerous exorcisms throughout his lifetime. If Linda Blair spitting out pea soup seems too hokey for you, then take a look at the reality.
7. The Confession Tapes
The Confession Tapes looks at one of the biggest controversies in the modern justice system: the thorny issue of false confessions. Directed by Kelly Loudenberg, this seven-part series examines a number of possible false confessions in murder cases, and suggests a number of alternative explanations or other possible culprits.
If you have musophobia then you might want to give this one a miss. Rats is a nature documentary that takes an in-depth look at the little bubonic rodents, and it certainly doesn't pull any punches when it comes to making them look terrifying.
But this isn't the first article we've written about some of the streaming platform's spookier content. Check out this piece we penned all about The Haunting of Hill House; the new Netflix show that's reportedly made viewers faint and throw up from fear!