If you’re into true crime, now is your time! Netflix has been dishing out doc after doc ever since Making a Murderer hit the streaming service in 2015. Multiple other streaming services have hopped on the trend and further fed our bloodlust with even more docs about famous serial killers.
From classics that deserve another binge to the hottest new series, here are the best true crime and serial killer documentaries worth binging in 2021.
1. Night Stalker: Hunt For a Serial Killer
If you are new to serial killer documentaries this is where we suggest you start. This docu-series brings you insight into the hunt for the famous satanic serial killer Richard Ramirez AKA the Night Stalker. In a 14 month reign of terror, Richard Ramirez killed 14 people after breaking into their homes at night.
Ramirez would kill his victims with guns, knives and telephone cords - and was famously a satanist. He would make his victims proclaim their love for satan before murdering them, and even went so far as to paint pentagrams on the walls of his victims houses - with their own blood. Pure nightmare fuel.
2. Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes
The killer speaks! And doesn’t shut the hell up for 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.
3. The Ripper
This Netflix Documentary chronicles the crimes of convicted serial killer Peter Sutcliffe - AKA 'The Yorkshire Ripper'. Sutcliffe killed 13 women and attempted to kill 7 more in West Yorkshire and Manchester, England over a 5 year period. A truly chilling and critically acclaimed series.
4. The Staircase
This incredibly addicting 13 episode Netflix documentary chronicles the controversial trial of Michael Peterson. Peterson is a famous novelist who gets arrested after two of his wives die in an eerily similar way - by falling down staircases.
This documentary is extremely unique, because most of the footage is from Michael's own documentary crew that he hired during his trial. This show has sparked tons of conspiracy theories and hypothesis as to Peterson's guilt, and how both of his wives really died. You will be hooked from episode one.
5. American Murder
This gripping Netflix documentary shows an intimate view into the life and times leading up to Chris Watts killing his wife and two young daughters. What would make someone do that? Find out in this enthralling new doc from Netflix.
American Murder: The Family Next Door Trailer:
6. 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. Watch one of the most horrifying modern serial killer stories unfold in real time
7. 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.
8. 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
9. Unsolved Mysteries
This true crime Netflix series focuses on a different unsolved murder or disappearance case each episode. You will be shocked at how some of the crimes featured have not been solved. This docu-series is great to watch with a friend so you can come up with your own theories for each case!
10. 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.
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. 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 even Jigsaw jealous. Do you like late 1880’s medical stuff? Murder? Mayhem? Doors that go to nowhere? H.H. Holmes is your guy.
13. Tales of the Grim Sleeper
This HBO documentary tells the story of Lonnie Franklin, also known as the Grim Sleeper. Franklin was responsible for at least 10 murders in Los Angeles over a 22 year period.
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.
14. 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!
15. 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.
16. 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. This is a great option if you don't want to be sucked into a full series, as it is only 53 minutes long.
17. 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.
18. The Keepers
The keepers is a much different documentary than others on this list 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 sexual abuse in vivid detail, so it is not for the faint of heart. Available to stream on Netflix.
19. I’m a Killer
This Netflix original does not screw around! I’m a Killer is exactly what you think - conversations with murderers.
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.
20. 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.
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' who was rumored to be stalking his town. What Zeman and everyone else thought was an urban legend turned out not to be.
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.
How many of these crime documentaries have you seen? Did we miss any important ones? Let us know in the comments!