True Crime Serial Killer Documentaries

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!

Read next: 21 creepy serial killer quotes and the context behind them

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.

Read next: Harold Shipman - the sadistic doctor with over 300 victims

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.

21. Cropsey

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!

Make sure to check out our true crime shirts and horror movie merchandise!

More from our true crime blog:

19 Serial Killer Movies Based on True Stories

Signs of a Serial Killer: 11 Common Serial Killer Traits

13 comments

Mel P

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark

Destinie

I found the night stalker to be a very incredible documentary, it has a lot of background information on who he really was and how they used his clues like his shoe prints at most every place it was the same avia shoe and they knew the size was an 11 or 12 and when he took that 6 year old little girl and sexually assaulted her but he decided to leave her next to a gas station and told her to go in and call the cops and I’m really glad they got that same girl to talk about what had happened that night many years later and how she didn’t let what happened to her change her and my heart hurts for all of those family’s who lost sisters, brothers, cousins, daughters, sons, grandmas, grandpas everyone they loved and if only those things hadn’t happened like how can these serial killers just easily do that to someone and not feel any remorse like I wasn’t even born yet when Richard Ramirez was out and ruining all these peoples lives but that’s the way the world goes ig but I definitely recommend watching The Night Stalker and also The Cecil Hotel on Netflix

Sarah

The Night Stalker was AMAZINGLY good! Dont F**k with Cats was one I had skipped over so many times and had no interest in watching until 1 night I couldn’t find anything… and holy s**t, it was so addicting and not at all what I expected. The title is somewhat misleading when you figure in the WHOLE story, but definitely makes sense once you watch it! I had taken a small break from true crime bc I became obsessed with the “Servant”, but Im back to it now and can’t wait to catch what’s out there. I see that Discovery+ has a wealth of true crime so yall should check that out too!

Kyle

Great list going to watch the ripper now!

Candice

Don’t fuck with cats was not what I was expecting but unbelievably addicting!

Rudy

I would add Night stalker to this list as well its really good

Steve

Cropsey is a damn scary documentary. Don’t watch it alone and in the dark.
That said – a great piece of filmmaking.

Maria

Waiting for one of the networks do a story on the murder of Sylvia Likens, Indiana 1965. Just horrible!!
Also the Cinnamon Brown sensational 1985 murder of her stepmother.

SL

Seen em’ all. Great list 👍🏻
watched The Keepers most recently…it was an unexpectedly excellent film. Highly recommended 🤘🏻

Tam Cook

Hey there’s a really good true crime doc you missed it’s called The Devil You Know…it originally aired on Viceland and I believe they still have it on demand but you can watch all of the episodes in their entirety on YouTube

Female 49 yrs old

8 years ago i met a man named craig we started hanging out he was very persistant i had spent the last ten years of my life as a crack addicted hooker but for reason he didnt care he didnt judge me he kept persuing me sooner or later i gave in because i wanted out of my currentn realtionship where i was
t urned out to the street life..we started spending time together and i sooned movecd into his home cause i had nowhere to go…i continued o smoke crack but he never knew he worked everyday so it was easy to hide…a little time went buy and i soon obtained my own apt in downtown akron ohio. He came over all the time one evening we had a fight and i pressed way to many of his buttons because he wrapped his strong arms around my neck and when i looked in his eyes i saw a man who would kill me and not care …it was like a warning i ran all over town screaming his name i knew sonething was wrong but no one believed me i had just come across a killer and had no way to prove it..its been 8yrs i finally walked away but he is still here and the feeling that we may have a serial killer in our streets wont go away but who am i noone will listen …i stayed with him because i knew if i waited long enough sooner or later someone would hear me…he always says women are nothing but bitches and hos he would go and sleep with hookers in hotel rooms behind my back but i didnt care….i knew he wanted to keep his eyes on me so i obeyed…i was dealing with the devil himself he is still free and im afraid they still wont believe a ex hoijer with no credibilty…this man is hiding a dark secret his is good at what he does…if they would just look into it if im wrong ok im sorry but please for the safety of me and the other woman in this town we have to look into his past.. He has to satify his need sooner or later he will make a mistake i hope im so afraid he is still gonna come after me he knows where i live and my restraing order was denied please help

Anthony Moorer

I was reading the article of the 6 uncaught serial killers and it stuck me and strikes at me that at least 2 aren’t solved. Those of all the gay murders. To shoot someone 12 times is overkill and personal. Idk maybe he killed others to hide the one he really wanted. I wonder if people in sex reassignment were looked . The other unsolved case seems like a gay man that can’t come to terms with his sexuality so his compulsion probably after taking a victim he had sex with
No DNA in this age. Idk…
Personally I think the killer or killers had been interviewed. As good as the good guy must think out of the box to catch them the same goes for the killers as they try to allude the police and capture. One isnt born hating the world but when the world hates them it’s personal…

Anthony Moorer

I have been intrigued by the way the minds of serial killers,hitmen,mobsters as well as old FBI agents that hunted the hunters. There is just a no nonsense, Romanesk and MIDEVIL way about them since birth. Did all serial murderers have the “killer” gene. I believe your average American could be put into positions where they had to do what they never thought they were capable of. In an instance or in a no way out situation. These individuals I believe would have still committed violent crimes if they were raised well. Most S.K. have abandonment issues,intimacy ,drug addicted or alcoholic parents that abused them physically as well as sexually. Not all but a good percentage. They are interesting…SIMPLE…Most have above average 2 high intelligence levels. To be able to do what the do and blend in so effortlessly is nothing short of scary. They have a sixth sense. From whom to chose,where to take the bodies, and get away time after time without leaving a trace. Now they say they have no ability to feel remorse,guilt, or to have no conscious . I differ with that opinion. Those that have been systematically broken down, neglected,used,beaten and abused I would think they were numb inside made by both nature and nurture.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published