You probably already have your favorite Halloween classics picked out for each day counting down to October 31, but remember that fact is often a heck of a lot scarier than fiction. If you subscribe to that belief, Inverse has the list of Halloween documentaries just for you.
Halloween is a time of tall tales and creepy stories, and a number of the documentaries below offer evidence and detail about the truth behind those “improbable” fears you have and those horror flicks that make you the most terrified.
9. Halloween - 25 Years of Terror
This documentary tracks the evolution of the Halloween movies whose story of Michael Myers has become a integral part of the holiday. It features some of the notable actors and directors involved, gives viewers a behind-the-scene look, and visits some of the original filming locations. Available to stream for free on YouTube.
The legend of Cropsey came to life in Staten Island as a escapee from a mental institution who snatched children off the streets at night. But the legend came to life when children disappeared in 1987, and this documentary looks into the man suspected of the kidnappings became a real-life Cropsey. Available to stream on Hulu, Amazon Prime, and YouTube.
7. The Imposter
The documentary tracks this creepy way a con artist tricked a Texas family into believing he was their kid who had been abducted three years earlier. The director actually is able to make you sympathize with the imposter and question a lot about what you thought you knew in the story. Available to stream on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and YouTube.
6. Room 237
You may not be aware that one of the most iconic horror films, The Shining, is the subject of many conspiracy theories about the movie’s hidden meanings and real-life depictions. This documentary explains five of the most prevalent theories in such detail that it’s easy to hop on board with one of these ideas. Available to stream on Hulu, Amazon Prime, and YouTube.
5. Hostage To The Devil
If you think The Exorcist is scary … this is a true story. This documentary is especially scary because it looks at the priest behind the exorcism, and whether he was a con man or a true believer losing the fight against his own demons. Available to stream on Netflix and YouTube.
4. Beware the Slenderman
The infamous Slenderman stabbing took hold of the nation in 2014, when two young girls claimed they stabbed their classmate for a fictional Internet character. The story was creepy when the details first came to light, and this HBO documentary shows how insane this case still is. Available to stream on HBO.
3. The Real Texas Chainsaw Massacre
A trailer for this documentary can’t be found online, but this short video of police investigators at the scene gives an idea what the film is about. But it’s frightening to think that the dark events that went down in Texas Chainsaw Massacre — a group of friends hunted for fun, victims served as food to a family, a man called “Leatherface” — is based off of a true story. Even better, the real-life case remains unsolved today. Available to stream for free on YouTube.
2. Killer Legends
Urban legends is the stuff that spooky Halloween is made of, and this documentary brings to reality some of most popular and strangest tales, including the widespread belief that trick-or-treat candy could be poisoned. The film gives you some honest reason to believe those stories that scare you the most. Available to stream for free on YouTube, as well as on Netflix and Hulu.
1. The Nightmare
This documentary is so damn terrifying and could truly make you scared to fall sleep. The interviewees all suffer from sleep paralysis, a condition in which a person is aware of their surroundings, yet unable to move or react to anything — and is often accompanied by hallucinations and physical feelings. It’s like your worst nightmare coming alive around you in the most real kind of way, and scared to the point you can’t do a single thing about it. Available to stream on Netflix and Amazon Prime.