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    17 Stranger-Than-Fiction Documentaries That People Say Will Keep You On The Edge Of Your Seat

    From million-dollar scams to death-trap amusement parks to something called "competitive endurance tickling," these documentaries have it all.

    Recently, Reddit user u/cryosyske asked people to share the wildest documentaries they've ever seen. Here are some of their responses!

    1. Tell Me Who I Am

    Man says "I, from day 1, painted a picture of a normal family, but none of that was true. It was a fantasy. I have been lying for 20 years"

    Suggested by: u/kurtsleftconverse

    This documentary is about twins, one of whom gets in a motorcycle accident at age 18. He loses all memory (except for his twin's name), and so his twin decides not to tell him anything about their traumatic childhood. Instead, he creates an idyllic but fake picture of their experience growing up, which he maintains for years, even as things starts to unravel.

    2. The Pharmacist

    Dan Schneider saying "I was determined to get the killer off the street, and if the police wasn't gonna do it, I was gonna do it."

    Suggested by: u/speedball811

    This documentary series follows New Orleans pharmacist Dan Schneider, who tries to get justice for his son Danny after Danny is murdered while purchasing drugs. However, even as Schneider tries to move on, his work as a pharmacist leads him to uncover an opioid crisis in New Orleans, which is largely spurred on by a crooked doctor Schneider is determined to expose.

    3. Grizzly Man

    Timothy in front of a field with a bear in it
    Lions Gate Films

    "It's a documentary about Timothy Treadwell, an environmentalist who spent 13 summers in Alaska camping out with grizzly bears and eventually got eaten by one, along with his girlfriend. And it was caught on tape because he filmed everything. Dude was clearly not all there — just a sad story, but fascinating."


    4. Class Action Park

    Man says "Nobody should ever be the second person to die in a wave pool. Close the fucking wave pool!" with pictures of the pool
    HBO Max

    "It's about this old amusement park in New Jersey called Action Park that had a wild number of injuries. Former employees and guests talk about each ride and what made it fun and unsafe. There are animations of people getting hurt, so those parts aren't too hard to watch. It also includes interviews about a specific fatality, so I do want to make that clear ... But mostly it's a fascinating look at how kids grew up in the '80s and '90s and whether that was the best thing. There's a lot of nostalgia, but I don't think anyone wants their kid to be the one who's fatally electrocuted on a kayak ride."


    5. Tickled

    Magnolia Pictures

    Suggested by: u/Blarney_The_Dinosaur

    This documentary follows reporter David Farrier on his mission to find out more about competitive endurance tickling, at first as a quirky story and later as a full-on investigation. He encounters hostility at each turn and ends up uncovering dark secrets about an industry few know about.

    6. The Act of Killing

    Anwar Congo asking "Have I sinned?"
    Det Danske Filminstitut / Dogwoof Pictures

    Suggested by: u/pierrevonfuego

    This film interviews Indonesian gangster and mass killer Anwar Congo on his role as an executioner during the Indonesian genocide — he describes his killings and then re-creates them in the style of his favorite films. 

    7. Evil Genius

    Brian Wells saying "it's gonna go off"

    Suggested by: u/PerpetuallyVerdant

    This documentary examines the case of "pizza bomber" Brian Wells, who claimed to have been forced to attempt a bank robbery after a bomb was strapped to his neck. However, after the incident (in which Wells died), evidence emerged that Wells may have been in on the crime.

    8. McMillion$

    Pictures of the McDonald's Monopoly game, with a man saying it's fixed

    Suggested by: u/AlterEdward

    The documentary series focuses on a scheme run by Jerry Jacobson, aka “Uncle Jerry," to sell winning tickets to the McDonald's Monopoly game, which promised lucky customers big cash prizes. Jacobson was the head of security for the agency that ran the promotion and would steal the winning pieces and sell them to friends, family, and even people he barely knew. The documentary interviews FBI agent Doug Mathews (among others, including some of the fake-lottery winners) about his investigation into the affair.

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

    Kurt Kuenne describing how Andrew had to have a civil relationship with their son's murderer to be able to see Zachary, and how he took on a mission to make a movie so Zachary could get to know his father
    Oscilloscope Laboratories

    Suggested by: u/Jakov_Salinsky

    The documentary was created by Kurt Kuenne in a tribute to his murdered best friend, Andrew Bagby. Bagby was murdered by his ex-girlfriend, who ended up pregnant — Kuenne's film interviews friends and family members of Bagby so that his son, Zachary, will have a way to get to know his father. The film also follows Bagby's parents in their quest to get custody of Zachary, and the legal challenges and incompetence that led to the Bagbys having to share custody with their son's murderer.

    I do want to warn you that well into the film, there’s a horrific turn of events that many have found hard to watch.

    10. The Woman Who Wasn't There

    "Tania" Head
    Meredith Vieira Productions

    Suggested by: u/buttsconnoisseur

    The documentary explores the story of "Tania" Head, who claimed to be in the World Trade Center during 9/11, founded an online support group, and later became president of the World Trade Center Survivors' Network support group. She told vivid stories about her experience and trauma for years before the New York Times exposed her story as false. She wasn't in the country on Sept. 11, and her "fiancé" Dave's family said they had never heard of her.

    11. The Imposter

    Frédéric Bourdin says "For as long as I remember, I wanted to be someone else" and his parents say they had no idea what kind of person they were getting and that he'd changed so much
    Picturehouse Entertainment

    "It's the story of this kid who went missing when he was 12 or 13 and then reappeared ... years later. It documents him getting back to and reuniting with his family. But get this: It wasn't the actual missing kid, but instead a French scam artist who did this shit serially. Now, what makes the documentary wild is that the story is told with interviews from the family and the fucking scam artist ... he just calmly explains his motives and justifications for getting this poor family's hopes up. There's footage of all this as well as reenactments with the guy. It's super creepy."


    12. Tread

    Marvin Heemeyer says "God expects me to do something to those who kept me from getting what I deserve" as we see his tank run into a building

    Suggested by: u/janoycresvadrm

    The documentary offers an in-depth look into Marvin Heemeyer, who spent a year and a half building a fortified/armored bulldozer (nicknamed "the Killdozer"), then used it to destroy a ton of buildings in his Colorado town after feuds with town officials. It explores his identity from his own point of view and others', half displaying him as a delusional religious zealot, and half displaying him as the wronged victim. 

    13. The Dark Side of The Ring: Chris Benoit

    Chris and Nancy Benoit at their wedding
    Vice Studios

    Suggested by: u/la__squadra_

    The documentary looks into Chris Benoit's murder-suicide, in which he also killed his wife and his 7-year-old son. It interviews David, Benoit's older son, and his sister-in-law, Sandra, and explores the reasons behind the crime, including a rumored steroid addiction, the impact of close friend Eddie Guerrero's death, and the possibility of a neurodegenerative disease, CTE, after years of professional wrestling and head injuries.

    14. The Nightmare

    One man talks about not being able to move and a woman talks about hearing "the sounds of Hell" and the Shadow Man coming
    Gravitas Ventures

    "The Nightmare is one of my favorite films in general. It's a documentary featuring several people talking about their experiences with sleep paralysis: what they see during the episodes, and any events that are related. Most of these are also reenacted, with some really scary visuals."


    15. Free Solo

    Alex climbing El Capitan
    National Geographic Documentary Films

    Suggested by: u/MK-Ultra71

    This documentary follows rock climber Alex Honnold as he becomes the first (and so far only) person to finish a free solo climb of Yosemite's El Capitan, which is 7,569 feet above sea level. This means he climbed unassisted and without ropes or other protective equipment.

    16. Dope, Sick, Love

    A couple kissing

    Suggested by: u/Kittyands

    The documentary offers a super-stark look at two couples in New York City who are heroin addicts, following them as they keep trying to find their next fix. There is no narration, music, or special effects, adding to the realism.

    17. And finally, Some Kind of Heaven

    A bunch of older woman at the Villages dressed as cheerleaders
    Magnolia Pictures

    Suggested by: u/bluev0lta

    This documentary is about the largest retirement community in the world, a so-called idyllic place called the Villages in Florida. It follows four residents as they try to find love and meaning, and keep a grip on reality, during their later years and shows the gap between the advertised version of the community and the reality.

    Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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