Documentary films can often be written off as just a bunch of National Geographic specials or educational deep dives on world-changing folks and phenomena, socioeconomic subjects, and other textbook explorations of the universe as we know it (or don’t know it). But for cinema-goers who want to learn about something a bit more sordid, uncomfortable, or downright terrifying, there are horror documentaries. Some of these titles are about the horror genre itself, while others explore more esoteric matters, such as the many terrors of sleep paralysis and killer clowns for hire.
If you’re in the mood for something hair-raisingly informative, we’ve gone ahead and rounded up all the best horror documentaries you can stream right now.
Looking for more horrors? Check out our roundups of the best horror films on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Shudder.
Have you ever caught an episode or two of the Travel Channel series Ghost Adventures? If not, we’ll give you a nice nutshell summation: A team of paranormal investigators heads to some of the world’s most haunted places in hopes of capturing something supernatural for the TV show. The 2019 film Demon House, a documentary about a man who purchases a supposedly demon-infested house and brings a paranormal film crew in to investigate, is written and directed by Zak Bagans, the main creative mind and host of Ghost Adventures. The house Bagans purchases was the site of the 2014 Ammons haunting case, and while we’re sure there are some skeptics in our readership, Bagans’ unnerving little doc is enough to make us question whether or not the bumps we hear at night are pipes or marauding spirits looking to mess with our heads.
’80s horror will forever hold a special place in our hearts. In Search of Darkness: A Journey into Iconic 80s Horror is a documentary love letter from director David A. Weiner, perhaps the biggest fan of ‘80s horror the world has ever known. With a runtime of over five hours, Weiner’s film breaks down some of the best genre films of the camp-infested decade while exploring the evolution of special effects, poster art, and the prolific home video surge of the era. There are talking heads aplenty, and while we highly recommend breaking the film into multiple viewings, we promise you’ll walk away from this masterpiece with a major education on a very special part of ‘80s cinema history.
Have your children been misbehaving? Well, you could always call Wrinkles. The 2019 horror doc Wrinkles the Clown sheds some light on a rather scary and bizarre subject. For “a few hundred dollars,” Florida residents were able to hire Wrinkles, the titular horrifically-garbed clown, to prank family and friends, keep kids in line, and make party appearances. But it turns out there’s far more to the Wrinkles mythos than meets the eye, and writer-director Michael Beach Nichols is the one to break the case. We won’t give any spoilers, but let’s just say that it’s worth sticking with this one for its surprising third-act reveal.
Slenderman is the stuff nightmares are made of, a looming, ghoulish figure with no face, a creepy suit, and long, dangly fingers. And even though the creature in question is merely a web-based myth shared by many, Beware the Slenderman follows the real-life story of two Wisconsin pre-teens who exploited Slenderman in the most horrific fashion: by repeatedly stabbing a friend of theirs in an ode to the titular monster. An in-depth and unique examination of the internet’s effects on impressionable minds, Beware the Slenderman is a truly one-of-a-kind horror doc that you don’t want to miss.
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