30 People Reveal The Blood-Curdling Documentary That Completely Ruined Their Sleep

Forget horror movies. True stories are ten times scarier than fictional ones. That’s why, this October, you should try watching these disturbing documentaries recommended by Reddit users.

Unsplash, Frank Okay
Unsplash, Frank Okay

1. Child of Rage

“A documentary about a young girl who was sexually abused when she was a year old. She has a desire to murder her entire family and carries out numerous disturbing tasks. (This one is especially horrifying to me personally. I’ve seen and heard a lot of shit, but this is just… No words.)” — inducedjoy

2. Earthlings

“It shows the negative side of how humans treat animals. So, basically, pet overpopulation and euthanasia, two garbage men PICKING UP A LIVE DOG LAYING ON THE STREET AND TURNS THE COMPACTOR ON WHILE THE DOG HAS THE MOST HEARTBREAKING BEWILDERED LOOK ON HIS FACE WHILE HE GETS CRUSHED TO DEATH, factory farmed animals and their subsequent slaughter for meat, the fur trade and skinning animals alive, the beauty product testing etc etc…” — MollyGibson84

3. Every Fucking Day Of My Life

“It’s about a woman who was married to a complete sociopath. He would beat and threaten to kill her. He would also drive her out to this spot and have her beg and give him a good enough reason to not kill her. When he wasn’t beating her he would beat their kids. The documentary shows her final days before going to prison for murdering her husband. The whole thing is on YouTube.” — bambiheadshot

4. David Parker Ray, the Toy Box Killer

“I forget its name but it was about this guy and his wife that would kidnap girls and torture them for three days in the ‘toy box.’ Which was a room he built himself that was basically a torture room, he sometimes would let his victims go, sometimes they would die due to the pain.” — I_fuck_muffins_alot

5. The Iceman: Confessions of a Mafia Hitman

“Richard Kuklinski, messed up. No remorse for the murders he committed. Talks about how he hurt animals, it’s really gut wrenching.”  — slimnku4

6. Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills

“Warning: This documentary contains graphic, disturbing content. It is damn good, but remember, you will never be able to unsee it.” — stephenking2016

7. Almost Holy

“Crocodile Gennadiy, which has been renamed Almost Holy since I watched it. It’s about a Ukranian Pastor who collect street children who are in basically the worst possible condition (full blown alcoholics by age 5, disease riddled from using dirty needles by age 7, living in the sewers, etc) and brings them to his orphanage, which he cannot get state funding for because of the vigilante nature of his operation. He often takes the children against their will, beats the piss out of dealers who are selling to them, etc. This shit is 100% real, and makes the kids in Slumdog Millionaire look privileged. And the turns it takes during filming are really crazy. Be prepared emotionally.” — nista002

8. The Bridge.

“A documentary about people committing suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge in the year of 2004. It’s very graphic, you actually see people jumping to their deaths.

I only watched it once but that was enough for me.” — bleachviolet

9. Welcome to Jonestown

“The Jonestown mass suicide story is so fucked up and sad. Hearing the audio and seeing the footage, as well as ex-members and family members. So many dead because of one manipulative cunt.” — Jimmy_Black

10. The Jinx

“The Jinx is one of my favorites. The interesting thing about Robert Durst is that he comes across as so likable, yet is totally crazy. It’s much better than Making a Murderer in my opinion.

And by likable I meant that he is a socially competent person and he has a charm to him, that’s easy to see in his interviews. Do I like him? No. But his personality is part of what makes him so interesting IMO.” — sofiagia

11. Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God

“It’s a documentary about four deaf boys who were molested by a priest while attending a school for deaf children. It details the lengths that the church was willing to go to cover everything up.”  — PainOnTap

12. Hillsborough

“It was a 30 for 30 about the Hillsborough massacre. There was a pile up of people at a Liverpool soccer game and about 100 people were crushed to death from the weight of fans pressing against them in the stands. The images of the mangled bodies in the crowd still gives me chills to this day.” — Jacooby

13. Children of the Grave.

“It was a director who went to a haunted site, originally to film an Indie horror movie (A cheesy B one, at that. I enjoyed it, but you know…) But while he was there so many weird things happened that he filmed a documentary about two of the places he was filming the other movie at.

Assuming he didn’t fake it all, and he may have, it was one of the more convincing ‘ghosts are real’ documentaries out there.” — Ori15n

14. Taxi to the Dark Side

“This documentary explores the American military’s use of torture by focusing on the unsolved murder of an Afhgani taxi driver who, in 2002, was taken for questioning at Bagram Force Air Base. Five days later, the man was dead.” — trippingchilly

15. Dawson College

“The TV documentary about the school shooting I was caught in, where my old classmate got shot once but left six holes as the bullet traveled through one arm, into his chest, bounce off his sternum, out his chest and through the other arm.

The documentary was not shot at the college the shooting happened in, but they managed to have camera angles which where VERY reminiscent of the atrium.

I was tense and possibly catatonic during the hour, then broke down crying when they showed the police officer taking out the shooter. Writing this my Eyes are wet and my lip is quivering.

I believe this will be the 10 year anniversary in September.” — Timoris

16. The Nightmares

“A documentary on sleep paralysis, with very vivid depiction of what people affected by it tend to see.” — Areat

17. An Interview with a Cannibal

“An interview with a man named Issei Sagawa who committed a pretty horrific crime. He butchered and raped a young Dutch woman because he wanted to absorb her ‘energy.’ He spent 3 days consuming her flesh.” — inducedjoy

18. Cropsey

“Two filmmakers investigate the disappearance of five children and “Cropsey”, a boogeyman-like figure from New York urban legend that might be linked to them.” — xavierdc

19. The Staircase

“I can’t BELIEVE no one has mentioned it! It’s up there with Making a Murderer in my opinion. It follows the murder trial of Michael Peterson. He calls 911 to say his wife fell down the stairs, but absolutely no one believes it. She’s covered in blood, has lacerations on her head, and had been threatening to divorce him. And come to find out, a n ex of Michael’s died in the exact same fashion years before – by “falling down the stairs” and that was deemed an accident as well. It’s fascinating.” — DevonFallon

20. Under Cover in North Korea

“Secretly filmed documentary by a journalist posing as a Dr’s assistant with a group of eye doctors (allowed into the country to charitably treat cataracts).

Terrifying. When people make jokes about North Korea I don’t think they fully understand what they’re joking about.” — elfgirl1317

21. Fantastic Lies

“It’s easy to say a Documentary about serial killers or mass murderers or whatever, but to me those don’t scare me nearly as much because those people are generally just crazy, and we know they’re crazy.

So I’m going to have to go with “Fantastic Lies”, the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary about the Duke Lacrosse rape case.

The extent to which people were chomping at the bit to condemn others to potentially decades in prison (with little to no evidence), all because it fit their ‘narrative’ of how the world works. A DA who was ready to ruin people’s lives because he thought it might magically get him the identity politics votes. And media types who were all the more raring to throw gas on the fire as long as it meant a few more clicks for them.

What’s scary about it is that the villains in this aren’t necessarily crazy, or even bad people (except Nifong): they are relatively normal people who have sank so far into their beliefs that they no longer even attempt to hide their prejudices, and for a lot of them, they see absolutely nothing wrong with what they did.” — Ihateregistering6

22. Fentanyl: The Drug Deadlier than Heroin

“My brother is as doctor and after watching, all the horrible things that can happen to you by taking this drug were more than confirmed by him. It’s almost scary how easily you can die taking it the first time.”  — boyoyoyoing

23. A Certain Kind of Death

“It’s about dying alone. Completely alone.” — layziegtp

24. Deliver Us from Evil

“Doc about Father Oliver O’Grady, a Catholic priest who was relocated to various parishes around the US during the ’70s in an attempt by the Catholic Church to cover up his rape of dozens of children. It will tear you apart.”  — thetdenz

25. Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father

“If you’re going to watch this, please do not look up the timeline of events beforehand. Just like most documentaries, it is definitely worth experiencing the rollercoaster of emotion by yourself.

Also watch this with some friends you’ve never seen cry. They may.” — MeatCheeks

26. Going Clear

“Chilling in the sense that most of the content is ex-scientology members reflecting on the blatant abuse they went through and how that was just an average day for them. Also Tom Cruise should be banned from wearing turtlenecks.” — scottylubemeup

27. The Summit.

“About mountain climbers on K2 when 11 of them died in 1 day. Very well done dramatic reenactments and actual footage. Definitely chilling.” — MrBowelsrelaxed

28. Into Eternity

“Its about the long term nuclear waste repository in Finland designed to safely store nuclear waste until it decays and becomes safe – a process that takes 100,000 years.

They don’t even know what sign to put on the door to tell people to keep out because they can’t say how language will evolve over the next 100,000 years.

100,000 years in the past puts us in the Middle-Paleolithic period – imagine neolithic man trying to give you a warning:

1) Would you be able to understand him 2) Would you listen?” — insanepuma

29. Children Underground

“Definitely Children Underground. In Romania, decades after they outlawed abortion and contraception, there are thousands of homeless children living alone in the subways. They are essentially feral children and most of those in the film are addicted to huffing paint. It’s terribly depressing, and truly chilling to think about what happens when abortions become illegal.” — graphemeral

30. The Act of Killing

“An incredibly callous man finally lets his demons catch up with him. The last scene is sickening.” — theredhost Thought Catalog Logo Mark

More From Thought Catalog