I don’t know about you, but I love me a good documentary. They’re my go-to jam when I have time to watch something on Netflix these days, and the very best ones have twists and turns so crazy I have no idea where I’m coming out – even if I think I know what the story is about when I go in.
The 7 below definitely fit that description, but maybe don’t read on if you don’t already know the stories and/or don’t enjoy light spoilers.
#7. Gimme Shelter
David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin set out to capture The Rolling Stones’ US tour on film, with the end sequences taking place at the Altamont Free Concert. You might watch it thinking it will be a fun thing, with the added bonus of George Lucas and Martin Scorsese, and you’d be right…for awhile.
Then, suddenly you’d be watching the murder of an 18-year-old kid who tried to rush the stage and ran into some Hell’s Angels serving as overzealous security.
#6. Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father
At first this seems like a touching tribute to a deceased father for his kid, but it quickly morphs into a true crime documentary that will leave you sobbing into your throw pillows.
Zachary is the son of the filmmaker’s best friend, Andrew Bagby, who was murdered by Zachary’s mother before the baby was born.
Sadly, that’s not the worst part of the story.
#5. Capturing the Friedmans
Andrew Jarecki set out to make a short film about children’s party entertainers in NYC, featuring a popular clown named “Silly Billy.”
The film takes an unexpected turn when the filmmaker discovers that Silly Billy’s brother and father had both pled guilty to child sexual abuse in the 1980s.
It starts off as a story about a young firefighter at the start of his career and ends you can guess where – but French filmmakers Jules and Gedeon Naudet tell the story in such a way that you’re still shocked by the footage, which is one of only three recordings of the actual collision of American Airlines Flight 11 into the Twin Towers.
This award-winning film starts as a movie about cycling but takes a hard left into government doping and conspiracy theories that will leave your head spinning, while keeping you completely enthralled.
Filmmaker David Farrier is a light-entertainment TV journalist from New Zealand, so no one – least of all him – expected what happened as he researched “competitive endurance tickling.”
If you think that sounds slightly naughty, well, that’s because it is, and Farrier’s requests for information from the company behind the videos, Jane O’Brien Media, are met with open and increasing homophobic hostility.
As Farrier keeps digging and multiple former employees air their dirty laundry, you’ll start to wonder what the heck you’re watching – and you’ll have no idea until the end.
#1. Shooting Bigfoot
You might think that legends like Bigfoot are total bunk, but when you start to hear the respected scientists who are iffy on the subject, it’s not hard to begin re-thinking what you “know.”
The premise of this 2013 documentary was to shine a light on the Sasquatch-hunter subculture but the filmmaker, Morgan Matthews, ended up kind of, sort of…believing?
I’ve got some more TV to watch!