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17 Disturbing Documentaries That'll Make You Feel Uneasy

Good luck sleeping tonight.

We asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us the documentaries that send chills down their spines. Here are the wild results.

🚨 Warning: Some of this content is extremely disturbing and graphic. 🚨

1. The Woman Who Wasn’t There (2012)

Meredith Vieira Productions

Alicia Esteve Head claimed to be on the 78th floor of the World Trade Center during the attacks on 9/11. She had gripping testimony about surviving the attack and even revealed that her fiancé died in the other tower. Later on, she became the president of the World Trade Center Survivors' Network support group. But there was one problem: Head wasn't actually in either of the buildings on the day of the attacks. In fact, she wasn't even in the country – she was at school in Barcelona. This documentary unravels Head's true story and tries to reveal who she really was.


2. Child of Rage: A Story of Abuse (1990)

Beth Thomas was a 6-year-old with reactive attachment disorder, due in large part to being abused as a child. This short, bone-chilling documentary includes actual interviews with Beth as she calmly recounts what she'd like to do to her new, adoptive family: kill them.

—Markku Naukkarinen, Facebook

3. Blackfish (2013)

CNN Films

This disturbing documentary follows the story of Tilikum, an orca at SeaWorld who killed three people, and exposes the shocking truth and controversy behind keeping animals in captivity.


4. Mommy Dead and Dearest (2017)


This documentary does a deep dive into the murder of Dee Dee Blancharde, a model parent who was taking care of her gravely ill child: "But after Dee Dee was killed, it turned out things weren’t as they appeared — and her daughter Gypsy had never been sick at all." This true story is so disturbing that Hulu just made a TV show about it called The Act, so now you have to check that one out, too.


5. Dreams of a Life (2011)

Dogwoof Pictures

"It's not so much creepy as it is desperately sad. It's about Joyce Vincent, a woman who died alone in her flat and wasn't found for three years. She died of an unknown cause, with the TV on, surrounded by half-wrapped Christmas presents."


6. The Imposter (2012), Film4 Productions

Nicholas Barclay was 13 years old when he disappeared in 1994. Three years later, he returned home. Well, Frédéric Bourdin returned home. Bourdin was pretending to be Barclay and literally lived with the Barclay family for six months before anyone figured out that he wasn't who he said he was. This documentary tries to uncover how and why that happened.


7. The Family I Had (2017)

Investigation Discovery Channel /

A 13-year-old boy and his 4-year-old sister were at home with a babysitter in 2007. The boy ultimately strangled and stabbed his little sister 17 times, killing her. This documentary follows the mother as she tries to piece together how everything unfolded and what her son's consequences should be.


8. Jesus Camp (2006)

Magnolia Pictures

"It may not seem creepy in the traditional sense, but this documentary follows devout evangelical children at a weeklong church camp. Once there, the children are taught that they have 'prophetic gifts' and can 'take back America for Christ.' It's haunting."


9. Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer (1993)

Channel 4 Television Corporation

This documentary follows the filmmaker as he attempts to interview Aileen Wuornos, who was dubbed the world's first female serial killer. Wuornos murdered seven men between the years 1989 and 1990, and this film was even used by the defense in her trial in 2001.

—Valarie Aparicio, Facebook

10. Who Took Johnny (2014)

RumuR Inc.

Johnny Gosch was 12 years old when he disappeared without a trace in 1982, presumably kidnapped while on his paper route. His face was among the first to be featured on a milk carton. This documentary follows his mother's pursuit to discover what really happened to her son.


11. The Witness (2015)

FilmRise /

Kitty Genovese was stabbed, raped, and murdered by a man outside her apartment building in March of 1964. It was reported that 38 people watched the attack unfold, yet no one intervened. This documentary follows Kitty's brother as he tries to uncover the truth behind what happened. Kitty's murder is also a major reason why the US adopted the 911 system because "up until the late 1960s, there was no centralized number for people to call in case of an emergency."


12. Missing 411 (2016)

David Paulides

People literally disappear in national parks in North America every year. This documentary dives into the similarities between five different people who went missing over the span of multiple decades.


13. Tabloid (2010)

Air Loom Enterprises

"Girl meets boy. Girl and boy fall in love. Boy is Mormon, girl is not. Boy is sent on his mission to London and doesn't tell girl. Aaaaand girl hires private investigator to find him, goes to London, kidnaps him outside where he's staying, holds him hostage in a house she's rented, and plays house with him. After he escapes, there's a trial and all kinds of weird stuff. It may not be a forensic-filled, gritty investigative documentary, but hot damn."


14. The Bridge (2006)

IFC Films

In 2003, during the filming of this documentary, the Golden Gate Bridge was the world's most popular place to commit suicide. This disturbing movie captured several of them in real time and interviewed friends and family members of some of the people who took their own lives.

—Dana Prophet, Facebook

15. The Cannibal That Walked Free (2007)

Channel Five

Issei Sagawa was a Japanese man who shot and killed a woman in his apartment. He believed he would be able to absorb her beauty if he ate her, so he ate different parts of her body over a two-day period, had sex with her corpse, and later tried to dispose of the leftovers in a lake in France, where he lived. He awaited trial for two years, was declared insane, and the charges against him were dropped. He ultimately became a mini-celebrity in Japan, where he couldn't be legally detained, so he remains free to this day. This documentary follows those events.

–Lena Liu, Facebook

16. This Is the Zodiac Speaking (2007)

Dreamlogic Pictures

The Zodiac Killer is one of the most famous serial killers in the world, and it's also probably the scariest to think about, since we still don't know who committed the crimes. This chilling documentary does a deep dive into the Zodiac investigation and interviews people who actually worked on the case and the two victims who survived his attacks.

—Nicholas Irving, Facebook

17. And Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008)

Oscilloscope Laboratories

Andrew Bagby was murdered by his ex-girlfriend, Shirley Jane Turner, in 2001. Shortly after the murder, Turner revealed she was pregnant with Bagby's son. This film was initially created to be a "cinematic scrapbook" for the son, as he would never know his father, and it ultimately turned into a gripping true-crime documentary.