12 Bone-Chilling Serial Killer Documentaries on Netflix Now
When it comes to true-crime documentaries breaking down the heinous misdeeds of some of the most well-known serial killers of all time, Netflix has the genre on lock. They don't only have documentaries about the world's most notorious killers, though — some docs also shed light on lesser-known murderers you haven't heard of before.
While there are no jump scares in documentaries like in regular horror movies, these series are even more chilling because they explore true stories that will leave you sick to your stomach and make you question humanity (and your next-door neighbor), from Ted Bundy to John Wayne Gacy.
If that's the type of content you're looking to watch this weekend, we have you covered. These documentaries recount the lives and crimes of real-life murderers and reveal step by step how each killer was eventually caught after their sometimes decades-long killing sprees.
Here are all the best serial killer documentaries on Netflix now, but don't plan on getting a good night's sleep after.
Serial Killer Documentaries: “Capturing the Killer Nurse”
This hour-and-a-half-long documentary recounts how police proved a New Jersey ICU nurse, Charles Cullen murdered his patients. While investigators believe Cullen may have killed up to 400 patients over the course of his killing spree throughout the 2000s, he was only ever convicted for 29 murders because of his very under-the-radar method of killing: administering standard drugs like digoxin, insulin, and epinephrine to make his patients overdose. "Capturing the Killer Nurse" breaks down the events that led to Cullen's eventual capture after 16 years of undetected killing.
If this story sounds familiar, it's probably because Netflix produced a dramatization of Cullen's murders called "The Good Nurse," starring Eddie Redmayne and Jessica Chastain.
Serial Killer Documentaries: “Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial Killer”
"Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer" narrates how a heartless serial killer raped, stabbed, and murdered women of all ages in California from 1984 to 1985. Apart from recounting how he was eventually captured, the series also takes the viewer through his court trials and explores how America romanticized (and even crushed on) this horrific man despite having killed at least 13 people and left the victims he didn't manage to kill scarred forever. In addition, the series includes numerous heartbreaking interviews with police, victims' family members, and the Night Stalker's victims who survived.
Serial Killer Documentaries: “The Raincoat Killer: Chasing a Predator in Korea”
This captivating three-part docuseries tells the story of a prolific serial killer in South Korea who, between 2003 and 2004, took the lives of at least 20 victims. Preying on wealthy older adults and sex workers, he beat victims with a hammer and dismembered some of their bodies. The police didn't even know they were looking for a serial killer until they found a pair of matching shoe prints at the gruesome scenes of his crimes.
Serial Killer Documentaries: "Catching Killers" S:1E:1, “Body Count: The Green River Killer”
The series "Catching Killers" dives into police investigations and evidence law enforcement used to catch infamous serial killers. Season one, episode one recounts the crimes and capture of one of the nation's deadliest murderers: the Green River Killer, who strangled dozens of vulnerable sex workers and runaway teens he picked up along highways throughout the 1980s and disposed of their bodies in wooded areas around the Green River in Washington. The episode breaks down how the Green River Killer's murder spree stumped investigators for decades until a breakthrough came in 2001.
Serial Killer Documentaries: “Conversations With a Killer: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes”
When young men in the community of Norwood Park Township just outside of Chicago started disappearing in the 1970s, no one looked towards Wayne Gacy, a local professional clown, which allowed him to get away with murdering for six years. This documentary takes you inside a serial killer's head, as taped interviews give you insight into Gacy's thoughts and early days.
Serial Killer Documentaries: “Memories of a Murderer: The Nilsen Tapes”
Told through a series of audiotapes recorded in a jail cell, "Memories of a Murderer: The Nilsen Tapes" looks at the murders of Dennis Nilsen, a former police officer who killed at least 12 young men and boys in London between 1978 and 1983.
Serial Killer Documentaries: "The Ripper"
A serial killer nicknamed the Yorkshire Ripper stabbed and murdered London sex workers for five years in the 1970s, killing 13 women and attempting to kill seven others. This mini docuseries examines the missteps of the police investigating his murder and the resulting protests over their inability to find the killer.
Serial Killer Documentaries: "Catching Killers" Season 1, Episode 2: “Bind. Torture. Kill: BTK”
This episode of "Catching Killers" recounts how the investigation of a Kansas serial killer in the 1970s reemerged after 30 years. Having bound, tortured, and killed his many victims, the killer nicknamed himself BTK. Using DNA technology and the media's help, the community caught the serial killer, Dennis Rader, after a three-decade-long manhunt.
Serial Killer Documentaries: “Crime Scene: The Times Square Killer”
The Times Square Killer, aka "The Torso Killer," haunted young women and sex workers in New York City in the 1970s. This docuseries contains grim details about how the Torso Killer evaded capture for 13 years while committing the most heinous murders: butchering his victims and setting their decapitated bodies on fire. What investigators never anticipated was they'd discover a suburban father was perpetrating the murders.
Serial Killer Documentaries: “Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes”
Ted Bundy confessed to killing 30 people in Seattle in the 1980s — though officials think it's closer to 100. This series features archival footage and audio interviews with Ted Bundy on death row that highlight how his disarming and terrifying charm helped him evade suspicion and how investigators soon learned his "normal" disposition came with a dark side.
Serial Killer Documentaries: “The Texas Killing Fields”
Several dead bodies were dumped off in the same field between Galveston and Houston, TX, between the 1980s and the 1990s, and this series includes heartbreaking interviews with the police and victims' families, who are still tirelessly seeking justice for their murders. Throughout the series, disturbing connections surrounding this decades-old cold case could finally uncover the truth.
Serial Killer Documentaries: “Conversations With a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes”
Told through footage and audio recorded while notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was in jail serving his 15 consecutive life sentences, this limited series offers unsettling answers as to why Jefferey Dahmer killed 17 young men and boys — and it's in his own words. The episodes show how Dahmer managed to hide his impulses around people and evaded the police by targeting vulnerable Black and gay men in Milwaukee. Netflix also produced a dramatized (and highly controversial) adaptation of Jeffery Dahmer's story called "Dahmer."