5 Of The Scariest Documentaries On Netflix Right Now

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If you want to be shaken to the core, skip the horror movies and watch one of these docs.


Horror movies prey on our irrational fears to spook us. When they end, we might feel uncomfortable for a while, but we usually convince ourselves that there's nothing to fear.

1. The Nightmare

We guarantee that Rodney Ascher's 2015 film about sleep paralysis will keep you up at night. People who have experienced the condition recount in creepy detail all of the vivid visions they had as they lay paralyzed in bed.
Viva La Ghash
The documentary is effective because of the emotion behind the stories and the haunting graphics that capture how scary the phenomenon can be. You'll want to watch this one with someone nearby because it will have you squirming with fright.

2. Tower

This documentary is as visually stunning and emotional as it is terrifying. Survivors recount the grisly story of America's first mass shooting.
Kino Lorber
In 1966, former-Marine Charles Whitman killed his mother and wife, then went to the top of the University of Texas Tower, where he proceeded to open fire on random people.
Through the retelling of the event, viewers understand how helpless victims were and how senseless the crime was. The event's unique status as the country's first school-shooting spree makes it extra impactful in light of the many tragedies that have transpired since.

3. Dear Zachary: A Letter To A Son About His Father

Evan B. Harris
In 2001, Shirley Jane Turner murdered her former lover Andrew Bagby. Shortly after authorities arrested Turner, she announced that she was pregnant with Bagby's child. 
Kurt Kuenne was Bagby's close friend and put together a film about him to show his son one day. The finished product is a masterpiece that will deeply disturb anyone who watches it.

4. The Imposter

Picturehouse Entertainment
This 2012 documentary received near-universal acclaim for unnerving its audience with this stranger-than-fiction tale. In 1997, a French man began impersonating a Texan teenager that had disappeared several years earlier.
The man was seven years older than the teen would have been and had a French accent. Despite that, and countless other obvious incongruities, several members of the teen's family accepted the con man as their lost relative. The film interviews the impersonator, who explains his con in fascinating fashion.

5. Interview With A Serial Killer

New York Daily News
This straightforward doc interviews the Genessee River Killer, Arthur Shawcross. Shawcross served just 12 years in prison after killing two children in separate crimes. After his release, he went on to kill at least 12 prostitutes.
There's always an element of discomfort when hearing a serial killer interviewed. Seeing them as real people who you might interact with unknowingly adds a chill factor.
In this disturbing documentary, you get a glimpse inside the mind of a psychopath as he spills his guts to the camera. Shawcross furiously blinks his eyes as he casually recounts details about killing over a dozen people.