17 Serial killer documentaries Worth Binge Watching in 2020
by Emily Stringer
February 04, 2020
If you’re into true crime, now is your time! Our friends at Netflix have been dishing out doc after doc since Making a Murderer hit the streaming service in 2015. Since then, we can’t get enough of the latest revelations about serial killers of yore. Multiple streaming services have hopped on the trend and further fed our bloodlust with even more serial killer documentaries.
From classics that deserve another binge to the hottest new docs, here are 17 serial killer documentaries worth bingeing in 2020.
1. The Confession Killer
Henry Lee Lucas was one of the most prolific serial killers in American history, or was he? This Netflix documentary presents new evidence that Lucas was not the killing machine he claimed to be.
Lucas confessed to multiple murders and was treated like a comrade by the police instead of master serial killer. The documentary brings the question, “if Lucas didn’t kill all of those people, who did?” Hit play and find out.
2. Killer Ratings
The story of Wallace Souza deserves more attention. What seems like a plot line to a lame crime show aimed towards Baby Boomers actually happened. Souza was a Brazilian politician turned cop turned true crime TV host who was accused of hiring hitmen to kill five people in an effort to boost ratings for this show, Canal Livre.
The show was described as “investigative journalism aimed at fighting crime and social injustice.”
Souza raised suspicions when he was suddenly on the scene of the crimes. Smooth move, Souza.
3. Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes
The killer speaks! And doesn’t shut the hell up what seems like hours. Listening to Bundy talk is like a research paper no one wants to read. Bundy’s monotone rambling is a far cry from the master murderer responsible for the death of at least 30 women.
This doc’s high production value and insight into a fascinating, if not often over-hyped serial killer. Worth the important look into the psyche of a deranged serial killer, Bundy’s rampant narcissism is overbearing. Still, it’s worth the watch and is one of the best serial killer documentaries on Netflix.
4. The Jeffrey Dahmer Files
A deep look into the Jeffrey Dahmer case as told by his neighbors and the detective called the infamous murder apartment in a call that “changed his life.”
The Jeffrey Dahmer Files is unarguably one of the best true crime documentaries of the past decade.
This doc follows the story of Dahmer during the summer of his arrest and end of his reign of terror. From the contents of Dahmer’s freezer to the aftermath of the murders, and the effect on Dahmer’s former neighborhood, the Dahmer Files digs deep.
5. Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer
Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer from famed documentarian Nick Broomfield’s is a follow up to Broomfield’s 1992 documentary Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer. More on Aileen Wuornos here.
Watch the entire documentary right here:
Life and Death focuses on the end of Aileen Wuornos’ life poor to her execution and the ethical considerations around her death. Equally heartbreaking and terrifying, Broomfield gets up close and personal with Wuornos in her final days. Life and Death might be the ultimate true crime documentary
6. H.H. Holmes: America’s First Serial Killer
H.H. Holmes, was in fact, not America’s first serial killer, but this serial killer documentary is not one to miss. I’m sure a psychopathic narcissist like Holmes would be thrilled with the credit.
Here is the full HH Holmes documentary:
The hype around Holmes and his murders have been tales of American myths for over a century. This documentary explores The Chicago Murder Castle, Holmes’ own murder playhouse that would make Jigsaw jealous. Do you like late 1880’s medical stuff? Murder? Mayhem? Doors that go to nowhere? H.H. Holmes is your guy.
7. Tales of the Grim Sleeper
This HBO documentary tells the story of Lonnie Franklin known as the Grim Sleeper. Franklin is one of the rare an African American serial killers.
The Grim Sleeper terrorized the women of South Central Los Angeles for decades before he was caught when his DNA matched to his son’s who had been arrested for weapons charges.
Grim Sleeper explores how the marginalized victim population in this case was ignored by the police and how racism led Franklin to walk the streets for way too long.
What if an urban legend is real? The nightmare inducing documentary from Joshua Zeman and Rachel Mills, who brought us The Killing Season and Killer Legends follows an urban legend from Zeman’s childhood. The Staten Island native grew up with the urban legend of a killer called Cropsey stalking his town. What Zeman and everyone else thought was an urban legend turned out to be nothing but.
Follow along as you learn the disturbing tale of Andre Rand, a convicted kidnapper and killer known as the titular Cropsey. This doc can make the most seasoned true crime fan cringe in horror.
9. Making A Murderer
A crime documentary list wouldn't be complete without talking about the highly controversial documentary Making A Murderer. The show centers around Steven Avery and Branden Dassey who were charged for the 2007 murder of Teresa Halbach.
This is probably the most binge-able show on Netflix, you won't want to stop watching it!
10. Ted Bundy: Falling for a Killer
This Amazon Prime original docuseries finally brings focus to Bundy’s victims, something other documentaries have been criticized for not doing. Falling for a Killer interviews Bundy’s longtime girlfriend Elizabeth Kendall, her daughter Molly and Bundy survivor Karen Epley, who Bundy attacked when she was a student at the University of Washington.
Set against the backdrop of the feminist movement of the 1970s, this doc shows the contrast between Bundy’s hatred of women and the feminist culture of the time.
11. Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez
This shocking true crime documentary was released in 2020 by Netflix and offers a never before seen glimpse into the mind of famous football player Aaron Hernandez.
Hernandez was convicted of murder and this series chronicles the lead up all the way through the trial. The definition of binge worthy.
12. Don't Fuck With Cats: Catching an Internet Killer
What starts as an internet witch-hunt to catch an animal killer turns into something completely different. This three episode true crime documentary is worth every second of watching.
13. Golden State Killer: It’s Not Over
This I.D. Channel (no one does the Golden State Killer like I.D.) original docuseries chronicles the active investigation of the recently apprehended Golden State Killer. The killer, identified as Joseph James DeAngelo murdered over 13 people in California in the 1970s and 1980s. After a decades long investigation, 23 and Me was able to help identify the killer.
Hear from detectives, survivors, and friends and family of the victims as the case develops. Watch on Hulu.
14. Evil Genius
This bizarrely enthralling documentary follows around the strange man who constructed a time bomb and strapped it to the neck of a pizza driver.
15. Who Killed Little Gregory?
This French documentary tells the story of the murder of Grégory Villemin, who was murdered at age four and found in the Vologne River. The circumstances of Gregory’s murder reads like a mystery novel - family receives creepy phone calls and letters from the killer years prior to the murder. The killer know as “The Raven” has never been caught.
The Raven claims to know family secrets and harbors a vendetta against Gregory’s father, Jean-Marie Villemin.
Viewers have called the documentary “sad”, “creepy”, and “the most horrifying true crime documentary I’ve ever watched.”
Watch on Netflix.
16. The Keepers
The keepers is a unique documentary that follows a group of nuns who try to find out who killed 'Sister Kathy'. This is a heavy documentary that has very detailed accounts of child abuse, so it is not for the faint of heart. Available to stream on Netflix.
17. I’m a Killer
This Netflix original does not screw around! I’m a Killer is exactly what you think - conversations with a killer.
From drug deals gone bad, robbery, and just good ol’ fashioned murder, this series lays it all out with brutal honesty. This is a must-watch for the hardcore true crime fans.
Have you seen a good crime documentary that isn't on this list? Let us know in the comments!