!!! I didnt know you liked documentaries! i loooove them and im always looking for good true crime ones. would it be too much to ask if you could recomend me some good documentaries you like? <3
this is the hardest but the best question ever. i’ve been musing over it for the last several days, and i finally just decided to sit down and make out a list. this is by no means a complete list, nor is it a ‘best of’ list. just some that i wanna rec because i think they’re awesome. or at least, the subject is fascinating, and so the annoying narrator/bad quality/etc is worth enduring. let’s go!
♥ autopsy (tv series) - if you have hbo go, it’s better to watch them there because the quality is a lot better, but this is a link to a youtube playlist of episodes. autopsy is a show about (you guessed it) autopsies, but each episode is themed and focuses on several interesting stories about deaths/murders where the cases were solved through forensic evidence found during the autopsies. michael baden is the forensic pathologist who has done several of the autopsies, and he’s the host of the show. i could watch this every single day for the rest of my life. (expect lots and lots of gore)
♥ paradise lost: the child murders at robin hood hills - another thing i watched on hbo go, but here’s a link to a yt vid (there are two other parts to this doc; they should show up in the related videos to the right). this is the story of the west memphis three and the murders of three little boys in arkansas in 1993. it’s a fascinating, heartbreaking, and unbearably frustrating story about the conviction of 3 teenage boys for those murders. there’s another doc called west of memphis that documents the events that occur after paradise lost concludes. i think west of memphis is my favorite of them all. god, what a fucking story. (graphic crime scene photos and video of three little boys.)
♥ mommy dead and dearest - i just watched this doc today on youtube, but hbo already found it and took it down. SO! you can watch it on hbo/hbo go, but because it’s so new, i doubt it’ll be anywhere else for a good while. it’s the story of dee dee and gypsy rose blancharde, a mother and daughter in a toxic, manipulative relationship that is one of the worst cases of munchausen by proxy ever documented, and one that ends in murder.
♥ thin blue line - a doc made in 1988 that digs into the wrongful conviction of a guy named randall adams who ends up on death row for something he didn’t do. it set a precedence for the importance and influence of crime docs. because of this documentary, the case got reopened.
♥ the keepers - another new doc, but this one’s on netflix. it’s a docuseries that follows the story of the murder of a nun, sister cathy cesnik, in 1969, and the unbelievable sequence of events that lead to it. this doc has pedophiles, sociopathic priests, police cover-ups, and a tireless group of retirement-aged women, some of whom are survivors of rape and abuse by the aforementioned priests, who will not rest until sister cathy’s killer is caught.
♥ the witness - on netflix, too. i talked about this one in my last movie post, but it’s the journey of a brother to try and understand what happened the night his sister, kitty genovese, was murdered in nyc in the mid-sixties. it’s absolutely fucking heartbreaking.
♥ cropsey - (i hope this link works??) this is a doc about a boogeyman urban legend on long island. the reason it’s interesting is because the doc is made by two kids who grew up on long island hearing the story, and there’s a really interesting story about an asylum that gets unearthed while they dig around. this guy also made a doc called killer legends which talks about urban legends and the true crimes that may have inspired them. both are really good.
♥ who took johnny? - another one i’ve already recced, but i wanted to put it on this list because it’s a good one. it’s about a boy named johnny gosch who went missing in the early 80s and was never seen again. the pov here is mostly with johnny’s mother, who is still searching for her son. it’s so heartbreaking. </3
♥ most evil (tv series) - i loveeeee this series. dr. michael stone is a psychiatrist who has a ‘scale of evil’ from 1 to 22 where he places different murderers for various reasons, including mental illness, history, and motive. each episode has a theme, and i could seriously watch this show every day forever and ever and ever. <3
♥ karla homolka & paul bernardo aka ken& barbie killers - these two. jesus fucking christ. paul was a serial rapist before he even met karla, and together, they murdered at least 3 girls, including karla’s little sister. the most insane thing? karla basically gets away with it. i can’t watch enough about these two. they’re so fucking horrible.
♥ the black dahlia, aka elizabeth short - okay, i’m in love with betty short, so i’m gonna link to a bunch of docs about her. i don’t have a favorite, and there isn’t one that i would consider definitive. i wish there was more out there, and i wish there was a good doc that had a good budget and a lot of care taken in its creation, but alas. so here are a few docs that at least give you some good info, crime scene pics, and theories:
(please come talk to me about elizabeth short. any time. ask me anything. i love her.)
♥ luis garavito aka the beast - ohmygod. luis garavito. colombian serial killer who has admitted to the rape/murder/torture of at least 140 boys, though it could be closer to 300. there have been mass graves of his victims uncovered. what blows my mind is that this happened in the nineties.
♥ just melvin, just evil - disturbing and sobering doc about a viciously sadistic, horrible pedophile who ruined the lives of so many children in his family. the lives of all his victims were forever changed and ruined by a single man, and what makes this doc so special and painful is that you get to witness them confronting him when they’re grown.
♥ david parker ray, the toy box killer - if you haven’t heard of david parker ray, omfg, are you in for a story. this guy. he built a torture chamber in a trailer outside of his home and kidnapped, raped, and tortured women for years in it. and it all takes place in a tiny place called truth or consequences.
♥ there’s something wrong with aunt diane - a documentary about a car crash in 2009 that resulted in the deaths of 8 people, including 4 children. the events leading up to the crash and the mysteries behind what went on in that car just before and during the crash itself are just… so, so bizarre. a really interesting doc. (graphic crime scene photos at the end)
♥ the boneyard: leonard lake and david ng - just… the story of how the police even found out about these two in the first place is so fucking amazing. what comes out of the ensuing investigation is just staggering. these two fucks tortured and murdered at least eleven people, probably more. and you won’t believe what it takes to get one of them brought to justice (and what happens to the other one).
♥ wild child: the story of feral children - feral children are one of my very, very favorite topics to research. i’m endlessly moved and fascinated and inspired by stories of them. this is a great doc that touches on several instances of foundlings and gives you some names to rush out and do research on and find more docs about. there isn’t enough out there on feral children. not even close.
♥ theresa knorr - okay, i watch a lot of crime docs. a lot. very, very little shocks or phases me at this point. but this woman? holy fucking shit. theresa knorr stuns me. there’s something about women serial killers that fascinates me, and i think it’s that most of them know their victims intimately or are related to them somehow. knorr is the worst. the. worst. what her children have to endure before they’re murdered is unspeakable and beyond what even my warped brain could imagine. my god.
♥ mary vincent (lawrence singleton) - this is a link to an episode of a show called ‘i survived’ which has two other stories on it, one that’s kinda boring and the other which is almost as astounding as mary’s story. but mary’s story is just… astonishing. she was fifteen when she was picked up as a hitchhiker and raped, dismembered, and thrown over a cliff. and she fucking survived. i love her. i want to hug her.
♥ catching a monster - peter scully - GOD. this fuck. peter scully is the most horrifying human being i’ve ever seen. his story is ongoing and not finished yet, but this doc talks about what he did and how he was finally arrested. scully ran a pedophilic red room/film studio where he tortured, raped, and murdered children for rich people who paid him to do it and film it. just. yeah.
♥ kidnapping of elizabeth smart - mindboggling. just… not only how she was taken, but also why and what happened while she was gone. and how she was found. stockholm syndrome is another thing that fucking fascinates me, and i wish this doc had focused more on that aspect of the story, but i understand why elizabeth is reluctant to discuss it. anyway! such an interesting story.
♥ the murder of james bulger - james bulger was a 2-year-old boy from merseyside who was brutally murdered by two 10-year-old boys. the violence they inflicted on this kid, and the way his body was found is just… a nightmare. there are two docs on this murder that i’ve watched and find interesting in their own rights, so i’m gonna link to both:
(after you’re done watching these two, look up the two boys who murdered him and see what they’re up to now. one of them will stun you.)
♥ aileen wuornos - gonna end this with the lady dearest to my heart. i feel such an incredible amount of sympathy and heartbreak for this tragic woman. her life story is almost unbearable, and the journey of her lifelong abuse by men, the series of murders she committed, and how she found love somehow in between all of it will stay with me forever. there are two wonderful documentaries on aileen, both by nick broomfield, and together they tell the whole story, leading up to her execution:
this is by no means a (complete) list of my favorite true crime cases! but these are some that i love a whole lot. i hope you find something you like here! ♥