10 Docos From the Past 10 Years That Every Horror Fan Should Watch

10 Docos From the Past 10 Years That Every Horror Fan Should Watch
This Is Gwar (Image: Shudder)

There are some all-time classic documentaries that every horror fan has likely already seen: Best Worst Movie, American Movie, and Terror in the Aisles, to name a few. But what about more recent entries into the genre? Here are 10 of the very best horror-adjacent docs dating from 2012 until now.

This Is Gwar

Added to Shudder earlier this month, Scott Barber’s documentary offers a revealing, surprisingly emotional look at veteran metal band Gwar — known for its deliberately shocking stage shows, while offstage acting as crusaders against censorship while promoting the freedom of creative expression. Featuring interviews with the band’s many, many members from over the years and a wealth of archival footage, This Is Gwar is an inspiring but by no means candy-coated look at what it takes to live the dream — specifically the dream of dressing up like a monster to play heavy metal, while tangling with all manner of strong personalities behind the scenes. (Shudder)

Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror

We’ve already raved plenty about this one, so this is just your periodic reminder to carve out three hours (completely worth it) and feast your eyes, ears, and brain on this outstanding deep dive into the folk horror genre. (Shudder)

Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror

Here’s another one we’ve been a broken record about, but if you haven’t seen it yet, what are you waiting for? With carefully chosen clips and outstanding talking heads to illuminate its points, Horror Noire is like taking a mini film studies class — except with homework you’ll actually want to do, since you’ll immediately be seeking out all the movies mentioned that you haven’t yet watched. The quality of Horror Noire makes us eager for another Shudder-produced documentary in the same vein: Queer for Fear, a four-part study of the horror genre through an LGBTQ+ lens; it’s arriving in September. (Shudder)

Room 237

Rodney Ascher’s artful and unique documentary about obsessive fans of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is fascinating on every level, offering a peek at what it really means to immerse yourself in a piece of cinema. Even if you don’t agree with the interview subjects’ particular (and often peculiar) interpretations of the film, you’ll still never look at The Shining the same way again. (AMC+, rentable on Amazon)

Birth of the Living Dead

An extended interview with George A. Romero — the late, great godfather of zombie movies — anchors this lively look back at the making of 1968’s Night of the Living Dead, as well as its enduring place in pop culture . Even those who think they already know everything about the indie horror classic will find a new nugget or two to enjoy in this informative, briskly edited portrait. (Shudder)

My Amityville Horror

First came the real-life mass murder, then the “true tale of a haunting” book (still one of America’s most infamous hoaxes), then a hit movie — which in turn spawned a series of tenuously related sequels that are still being made four decades later. The story even got a shout-out in the blockbuster Conjuring franchise. Adding yet another facet to the Amityville story: the tale of Daniel Lutz, who was just a kid when his family (the subject of that 1977 best-seller by Jay Anson) moved into the house where Ronald DeFeo, Jr. killed his parents and four siblings in 1974. Famously, they only lived there a few weeks… but the effect of being at the centre of the Amityville story haunted Lutz, psychologically speaking, his entire life, as this genuinely disturbing documentary reveals. (AMC+, rentable on Amazon)

Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street

This excellent doc illuminates the painful but ultimately cathartic journey of Mark Patton, star of Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. Much like Patton himself, the film was misunderstood at the time of its release, but has come to be rightfully celebrated for its unique place in the franchise now that all its queer subtext is finally out in the open. (Shudder)

Memory: The Origins of Alien

No mere making-of documentary, this fascinating (and creepy!) deep dive from director Alexandre O. Philippe reveals layers, history, and context to director Ridley Scott and screenwriter Dan O’Bannon’s sci-fi horror masterpiece that even superfans will find surprising.

In Search of Darkness and In Search of Darkness: Part II

The first entry runs 264 minutes, the sequel runs 263 minutes, and there’s a third entry in the works. Look, ‘80s horror is just that awesome, and these clip-and-interview-stuffed movies are so energetic and excited about digging into them that you won’t even notice the runtime. (Shudder)

Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th

When they say “complete” in the title, they mean complete: this nearly seven-hour documentary offers a thorough examination of the entire Friday the 13th series, going film by film and collecting an oral history of sorts from a wide array of interviewees. The same filmmaking team also made the four-hour Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy, which came out in 2010 and is therefore not recent enough for this list, but is also totally worth your Freddy-loving time.(Crystal Lake Memories on Shudder; Never Sleep Again rentable on Amazon)

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