People can never seem to get enough of the true-crime genre. Despite their usually disturbing content, the genre tends to do especially well across several different demographics.
Every few years, there seems to be a surge in the genre’s popularity, usually due to a recent release. In 2016, following the release of the Netflix true-crime series “Making a Murderer,” true-crime was all anyone was talking about. Now, in 2019, it’s that time again, following the release of Netflix’s “The Ted Bundy Tapes” and of course, Hulu’s “The Act.”
“The Ted Bundy Tapes” reveals secrets from the life of one America’s most notorious serial killers, Ted Bundy. The four-part series features actual footage, audio clips and present-day interviews, allowing viewers to feel as though they are a part of the case.
“The Act,” starring Joey King and Patricia Arquette, follows Gypsy Blanchard, who begins to unravel her mother’s secrets and the toxicity of their relationship, and decides to act on it. The series, which premiered on the streaming site on March 20, is based on a true story. Perhaps the fascination behind “The Act” and the true-crime genre in general lies in their baffling nature. People love a true story that keeps you saying, “There’s no way this actually happened” throughout the events.
Even though “The Act” has finished up, there are still plenty of crime documentaries to watch. Be aware though: These documentaries deal with intense subjects such as abuse, kidnapping and murder, and may contain graphic descriptions or imagery.
1. Mommy Dead and Dearest
This is the documentary that started it all. Premiering on HBO in 2017, the documentary about the Gypsy Rose Blanchard case features home videos, text messages and interviews from friends, family and Gypsy herself.
Just as twisting and suspenseful as the Hulu series, “Mommy Dead and Dearest” provides a great basis for anyone who wants to know even more about the case featured in “The Act.”
2. Beware The Slenderman
HBO is known for producing bone-chilling content, and “Beware The Slenderman” does not disappoint. The documentary follows two tween girls who become utterly fascinated with a fictional internet phenomenon known as Slender Man. But their obsession goes too far when, in efforts to “impress” the Slender Man, the girls attempt to kill their best friend at a sleepover.
The documentary features a thrilling and extensive backstory of the lore of Slender Man as well as horrifying details of the attempted murder.
3. Abducted In Plain Sight
When “Abducted in Plain Sight” first appeared on Netflix in January of this year, it took the internet by storm. If you haven’t watched it already, odds are you’ve seen some of the documentary’s clips or quotes pop up on your social media feeds.
The documentary about a 12-year-old girl’s sickening experiences with a once-trusted family friend is baffling from start to finish. The more answers the documentary gives you, the more questions you’ll be left with.
4. The Imposter
In this shocking 2012 documentary, a Texas family is relieved to hear that their missing teenage son has been found in Spain.
However, when he returns, he’s not exactly the same kid who he used to be. In order to avoid giving away the shock of this documentary, I’ll leave it at that.
5. The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann
Similar to “Abducted in Plain Sight,” this 2019 documentary features horrific events influenced by some questionable actions of some parents. The documentary chronicles the case of Madeleine McCann, a 3-year-old British girl who disappeared from a vacation home in Portugal while her parents were at a restaurant across the street.
The case, which has been called “the most heavily reported missing-person case in modern history,” remains unsolved today.
6. Casting JonBenét
When 6-year-old JonBenét Ramsey was found dead on Christmas Day, the case spiraled into a mystery that, almost 23 years later, has still yet to be solved. The case became a phenomenon, with countless theories about what happened to the child beauty queen.
Needless to say, there have been tons of documentaries made on the subject, but in my opinion, this one is the best. The unique narrative, which is told through actors who portray hypothetical scenarios, makes the documentary feel so raw, unbelievable and heartbreaking — everything a true-crime account should be.
If you’ve managed to watch every true-crime documentary on this list, don’t fret. There are plenty more where that came from. Documentaries as a whole tend to be overlooked. Give one a shot: there are some stories you just won’t find in fiction.