As kids, we were told of scary things like ghosts, spirits, goblins, and toyol — you name a supernatural or mythical creature, and it was likely that our parents deemed them scary. Even the Loch Ness monster! But now, as grown adults, we’ve realised that nothing is quite as frightening as some human beings can be.
Team Zafigo (except for yours truly) takes true crime shows, documentaries, and films pretty seriously, so to get in the Halloween spirit, we thought to share some of our favourites with the readers. Forget revisiting scary movies from your childhood and get spooked by these titles on our list instead.
TRIGGER WARNING: Some of the sensitive content and imagery in the trailers below may elicit negative emotional responses.
House of Secrets: The Burari Deaths (2021)
Xin Xin Lee, Head of Design
A devastating tale of a loving family, 11 of them were tragically found hanging in their home in Delhi. The docuseries brings you along to find out how they ended up that way; who was the killer? The mystery was explained when they discovered a diary written by one of the uncles.
After watching this, I felt seriously disturbed by these unfortunate deaths but at the same time intrigued at who could do such a thing. The revelation was shocking!
Crime Scene: The Vanishing at Cecil Hotel (2021)
Emma Mallaburn, Sub-Editor
I don’t particularly appreciate watching anything even remotely scary, which is odd because, as a kid, I sat through the Poltergeist films — come to think of it, maybe I have some deep Halloween trauma. But in the name of research and at the recommendation of my colleague Maggie, I dove into the four-episode docuseries, The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel.
The pace of this suited someone like me, and I felt that, as a whole, it chronicled the disappearance of Elisa Lam in great detail, but past episode two, the series starts getting a little draggy. Though, still worth a watch. Recommended if you’re into documentaries inspired by true crime events. I’ve still got goosebumps from the elevator recording.
Murder Mystery & Makeup – A YouTube series by Bailey Sarian (2019)
Tengku Zai, Editor
If our previous year’s Halloween round-up is anything to go by, readers will know by now that I’m a scaredy cat. I generally stay away from anything that’ll spook me, but I’ll make the exception for Murder Mystery & Makeup — a series on Bailey Sarian‘s YouTube channel. As chilling as the stories she shares are, they’re about true crime and not made-up horror.
I suppose what makes the series easier for me to watch is that Sarian schools us on these true crimes in each episode while working on a bangin’ makeup look. In other words, she draws me in with her sordid tales as easily as she draws on her eyeliner. So, I suppose my thirst for tips on a good smokey eye is as bad as my thirst for dark murders. Maybe I’m not that much of a scaredy cat after all.
Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes (2019)
River Huei, Junior Content Creator
I’m not usually one for true crime documentaries simply because they creep me out. However, this one, in particular, caught my eye because it features archival footage and audio recordings of Ted Bundy himself. It sent shivers down my spine, hearing how twisted Ted’s views of his victims were and how he analysed his own motives while on death row.
I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth v. Michelle Carter (2019)
Maggie De souza, Brand Experience Executive
Can a person be held responsible for the suicide of another? That is the question this true crime offering attempts to answer and is what drew me to this series. It covers the 2014 “texting suicide case,” as it became known, involving the death of 18-year-old Conrad Roy and the eventual discovery of text message exchanges with his then 17-year-old girlfriend, Michelle Carter, which appeared to encourage Conrad to take his own life.
While a lot of what was uncovered from those messages was understandably disturbing, whether or not it was criminal is still being debated. Part courtroom drama and part cautionary tale, this two-part documentary had the ingredients to keep this true crime buff hooked.
But if documentaries aren’t your thing, and you’d rather watch a dramatised version of what happened, Hulu released The Girl from Plainville — an eight-episode retelling of what happened between Conrad and Michelle and the court case that followed earlier this year.
I Just Killed My Dad (2022)
Fiona Thong, Sales & Marketing Lead
I’ve always been a true crime junkie. You name it; I’ve probably watched it. Naturally, one would expect to feel disturbed or creeped out when it comes to true crime, but in the case of I Just Killed My Dad, expect to feel more than just that. I actually felt sorry for the murderer instead of the victim.
Anthony Templet was 17 years old when he shot and killed his father, Burt. Anthony’s parents divorced when he was very young and he later was abducted by Burt. Burt was very controlling of Anthony and deprived him of education, social contact, and basic medical attention. As such, they never had a good relationship.
One day, Anthony had a heated altercation with Burt, who was intoxicated and aggressive. In self-defence, Anthony shot and killed him.
Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial Killer (2021)
Aaliya Mokhtar, Brand Experience Manager
I am literally the biggest scaredy cat I know, but somehow, I’m obsessed with movies and documentaries about true crime events — especially ones about brutal serial killers. This documentary caught my eye while I was doom scrolling and I deem it to be one of the best I’ve watched.
Not only does his (Richard Ramirez) murder spree have no motive or intention whatsoever, but the killings were so gory. Even though this documentary makes you want to lock all your doors and windows, and never step out of your house, I would watch it again just for the adrenaline and thrill of it.