In a year when vacations have been cancelled, jobs have been lost and our health has been at risk, we’re faced with the next letdown in 2020’s endless parade of disappointment: Halloween during a pandemic. Sure, it may be hard to get excited about Halloween’s pretend terror when real life is providing so much actual horror but don’t give up the ghost just yet. Being socially distant doesn’t mean you can’t be in touch with a sense of dread. So turn out the lights, lock the door and, if you dare, check out this list of true crime to binge that will make you wistful for evil that is only imaginary. Sometimes, reality truly can be more terrifying than fiction.
Imagine just being a quiet, reserved kid at school and all of a sudden being the main suspect of a horrific crime – if you think that sounds implausible, Conviction will show you just how easily it could happen to you. Jeffrey Deskovic gives his stark and unblinking first hand account of his arrest and conviction for the rape and murder of his 15 year old classmate. His story begins at what should be the end of his life: a 15-to-life sentence for an unforgivable evil. But as is the case with so many things that go bump in the night, there is more to be discovered no matter how unsettling.
- Don’t F**k With Cats
A mischievous title and some cute kittens, whats’ so scary about that? Everything. Don’t F**k with Cats is a well-paced, globe trotting examination of what happens when a kid who torments animals grows up into something even worse. The Netflix film also asks challenging questions about the darkness of the internet and the evils that it spawns.
- Murder Mountain
In truth, the name sort of says it all right? Still not convinced that this film has enough frozen arrows in its quiver to send chills down your spine? Ok, then how about this: Murder Mountain takes you on a trip into an isolated, rural area of northern California best known for missing persons, criminals, guns, drugs, murder and … hippies? You’ll feel lucky to make it out alive.
- Evil Genius
It’s fair to take issue with the title’s use of the word “genius.” Sure, there is a sort of clever though dastardly resourcefulness in creating and strapping a bomb to a man’s neck in order to force him to commit a bank robbery. But genius still signals a level of virtue that is totally absent from one of the most horrifying and debased crimes in Pennsylvania history. Twisted? Yes. Diabolical? No question. But genius implies a level of reasonability and we all know, you can’t reason with monsters.
- The Keepers
The scariest part of a bad dream is being in the hazy membrane between the conscious and subconscious unable to distinguish the ghouls from reality. The Keepers, moody and flint-sharp, explores the waking nightmare of sexual abuse where the ghouls are reality. Through the investigation of the 1969 murder of nun Catherine Cesnik, the film reveals the craven abuse of students at Baltimore’s Keough High School by catholic priest Joseph Maskell. Long after the movie is done, you’ll be haunted by what you can no longer unsee.