If you find true crime documentaries as captivating as I do, take a look below at some of my favorite stories and cases detailed through films and documentaries. I’ve included each synopsis so you can get a sense of just how crazy these stories are. Then, let me know your favorites in the comments.
Soaked in Bleach: The Death of Kurt Cobain
Soaked in Bleach is an American docudrama detailing the events leading up to the death of Kurt Cobain, as seen through the perspective of Tom Grant, the private detective who was hired by Courtney Love to find Cobain, her husband, shortly before his death in 1994. It also explores the premise that Cobain’s death was not a suicide.
The Witness: A Documentary About Kitty Genovese
The name Kitty Genovese became synonymous with bystander apathy after The New York Times reported that 38 witnesses watched her being murdered in Kew Gardens, Queens, New York – and did nothing to help. This version of events went largely unchallenged for half a century. The horrifying implications of the Times story reached across the city and the country, and would eventually impact lawmakers and lecture halls across the globe. At home, determined to prove he wasn’t like the witnesses who watched and did nothing, Kitty’s younger brother Bill Genovese, who was quite close to his big sister, volunteered to serve in Vietnam where he would lose both his legs in combat. More than 50 years later, The Witness follows Bill’s dogged search for the truth as he attempts to find out for himself what actually took place that fateful night of March 13, 1964.
The Central Park Five
In 1989, five black and Latino teenagers were arrested and charged with brutally attacking and raping a white female jogger in Central Park. News media swarmed the case, calling them a “wolfpack.” The five would spend years in prison for a crime they didn’t commit before the truth about what really happened became clear. With THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE, this story of injustice finally gets the attention it deserves. Based on Sarah Burns’ riveting book and co-directed by her husband David McMahon and father, the acclaimed doc filmmaker Ken Burns, this incendiary film tells the riveting tale of innocent young men scapegoated for a heinous crime, and serves as a mirror for our times.
Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills
Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills is a 1996 documentary film directed by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky about the trials of three teenage boys who came to be known as the West Memphis Three in West Memphis, Arkansas. The teenagers—Jessie Misskelley Jr., Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin—were accused of the May 1993 murder and sexual mutilation of three prepubescent boys.
Child of Rage: A Story of Abuse
This documentary tells the story of a six year old girl, Beth Thomas, labeled as “The Child Of Rage,” tells her story of healing from Reactive Attachment Disorder as a result of being sexually abused. This is a bone-chilling story with scenes that you will never forget. The film features footage of Beth revealing to her therapist that she has tortured animals and sexually abused her younger brother. A consequence of the abuse she endured as an infant. Her road to healing and recovery is recorded in this fascinating documentary.
The Iceman Tapes: Conversations with a Killer
Richard Kuklinski was a devoted husband, loving father–and ruthless killer of over 100 people. You’ll meet him in this powerful documentary that features one of the most vivid and disturbing interviews ever recorded–taped behind the walls of the prison where Kuklinski is serving two consecutive life sentences for multiple homicide.
Monster: The Joseph Fritzl Story
Interviews with family members, doctors and victims of 73-year-old Josef Fritzl, who held his daughter captive in a basement for 24 years and fathered seven children with her.
The Confessions of Thomas Quick
This chilling film tells the gripping story of the making of a modern Swedish serial killer – taking us to the very heart of events that terrified a nation. Horrific and intriguing in equal measure, this is real Scandinavian noir, a dark tale of murder and lies.
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