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Scary Documentaries: Paranormal and Urban Legends

You’ve likely seen the Instagram memes about the millennials who go crazy any time a new serial killer documentary drops on Netflix. But have you met the eye-rolling horror fanatics who are eager to tell you that they loved horror documentaries way before they went mainstream? And not just about The Night Stalker or Zac Efron’s version of Ted Bundy, but also the demon house, killer clown, and paranormal investigation that didn’t make the news. These chilling tales happen every day, and many have been made into terrifying horror documentaries that indulge your passion for true crime while frightening you way more than Making a Murderer or any scary documentary ever has. Why? Because while many horror flicks claim to be “based on a true story” (don’t get us started,) the things that transpire in paranormal documentaries actually happened. Truth is stranger than fiction, and you’ll be kept up at night after you watch the most terrifying horror and paranormal documentaries below. 

Demon House

Demon House Paranormal Documentary

Released: 2018

If you thought the Amityville house was haunted and terrifying, just wait until you watch one of our favorite paranormal documentaries and true crime stories about the Ammon family. This tale of paranormal activity and demonic possession took place only a decade ago in Indiana, and while some had their doubts about the Ammon family’s claims of levitation, death threats, and ghostly shadow figures… you can’t ignore the facts of Demon House. Paranormal investigator Zak Bagans shot this documentary on the property, only to have it demolished just two years later due to the terrifying events. Dread Central’s Steve Barton calls Demon House “one of the single most compelling horror documentaries on the existence of the supernatural that I’ve ever witnessed,” and Puzzle Box Horror definitely agrees. 

Beware the Slenderman

Slender Man Scary Documentary

Released: 2016

Slenderman, the infamous creepypasta character with mile-long limbs and no face, stepped out of the shadow of internet forums and into the spotlight with this documentary – and the crime that inspired it. Remember the two 12-year old girls from Wisconsin who stabbed their friend 19 times in 2014, only to say that it was an order from the Slender Man? This documentary tells you all the details of that horrifying day – with interviews, creepy footage, and background on the Slenderman. How did he go from being a supernatural, suit-wearing stalker that only lived on internet forums, to one of the most terrifying fictional monsters of the 2010’s? They aren’t kidding when they say that the internet is a scary place!

Cropsey

Cropsey Terrifying Documentary

Released: 2009

Without giving too much away, anybody who has seen Cropsey knows that it’s not a supernatural tale in its entirety. It’s also a bit confusing – mixing true crime with the paranormal to leave you wondering who is the true villain in this tale. Is it Cropsey, the boogeyman-like urban legend of Staten Island that people used to scare their kids into being good? Or Andre Rand, the real-life version of the monster who began kidnapping kids and causing terror left and right? This is one of the best horror documentaries that was made before Netflix and Hulu started pumping them out on a regular basis, and you’ll want to watch it five more times just to get every last detail. 

Hostage to the Devil

Hostage To The Devil Horror Documentary

Released: 2016

Exorcism stories aren’t exactly new in the horror genre. There’s only about a million horror movies about possessed children and the priests who try to free them. But horror documentaries about real-life exorcisms in which the devil literally locks you in a room for days on end? That’s a little more rare, and exactly why you need to watch Hostage to the Devil on Netflix. Based on the book of the same name, this terrifying documentary shares the details of a battle between good (okay, this is debatable) and ancient evil as they fight for the soul of a possessed child. After you watch the documentary, be sure to start Googling all the extra details that didn’t make it on your screen. You’ll never be able to watch horror movies about exorcisms the same way again. 

My Amityville Horror

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Released: 2012

Amityville isn’t just your typical haunted house story, it’s the demon house story. Any real horror fan knows the tale of the original demon house – how Ronald DeFeo Jr. murdered his entire family in cold blood, one year before the Lutzes moved in and went running after experiencing insane amounts of paranormal activity and ghostly events. There has been an entire lineup of horror movies (and a lot of skepticism) in the decades since the Lutzes ran for their lives, but there’s something that sets My Amityville Horror apart. It features Daniel Lutz, the oldest member of the family who experienced these horrific events in the demon house firsthand. While he stayed silent for nearly 40 years, he doesn’t hold back in this documentary about America’s most famous haunted house, and you’ll have chills running down your spine with every word he speaks.

Killer Legends 

Killer Legends scary documentary poster

Released: 2014

If you loved reading the Scary Stories to Tell In The Dark book series as a child (and who didn’t?), then you’re going to love Killer Legends. Ghosts, demon houses, and serial killers all come together with this documentary that dives into the real-life origins behind the world’s most famous urban legends. You know – the murderous mental patient with a hook for a hand, the killer clown, the babysitter who gets a call coming from inside the house. Some are paranormal, and some aren’t… but each one will give you a glimpse of real-world terror that brings back major memories of telling these stories around the bonfire. This is the meta scary documentary if you are looking for variety.

Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror 

Horror Noire- A History of Black Horror film

Released: 2019

“Delving into a century of genre films that by turns utilized, caricatured, exploited, sidelined, and finally embraced them, Horror Noire traces the untold history of Black Americans in Hollywood through their connection to the horror genre.” Perhaps one of the most modern horror documentaries on this list, Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror features a lineup of Black horror enthusiasts (including scholars like Tananarive Due and creators like Jordan Peele) to tell the story of Black Americans in a supernatural world. While it’s less scary and more informative, this eye-opening documentary will help you see films like Get Out and Blacula in a whole new way. Grab your popcorn and save up all your mental energy, because you’re going to need it for this mind-blowing horror documentary.

The Nightmare 

The Nightmare horror documentary poster

Released: 2015

Sleep is an escape from the horrors of everyday life, right? Not when you have sleep paralysis, a terrifying condition that makes you unable to speak, move, or have any control over their body while waking up or falling asleep. The lack of control is frightening enough, as it’s the foundation in which we live our lives – but what do you do when you start imagining ghosts, shadow figures, and supernatural beings in the corner of your bedroom when you can’t move a muscle? That’s exactly what you’ll discover with The Nightmare, a mix of real-world and supernatural horror that interviews those with sleep paralysis to discover the terrifying worlds they’ve created in their minds. You’ll never want to fall asleep again after watching this horrifying documentary, and we mean that literally. 

A Haunting in Connecticut

A Haunting in Connecticut 2002 documentary poster

Released: 2002

No, we’re not talking about the super underrated 2009 scary documentary The Haunting in Connecticut… as this 2002 documentary told the ghost story from your living room first. The Snedeker family moves to Connecticut and finds a beautiful house that they think is a major steal, only to discover that it used to be a funeral home as they experience terrifying visions and paranormal activity from every corner of the property. Awesome. Unlike the movie, this paranormal documentary details how the family called in expert ghost hunter Ed and Lorraine Warren (of The Conjuring fame) to rid the house of demons. Like most demon house stories, the Snedekers haven’t gone without a bit of skepticism… but this is a tried-and-true ghost story that any paranormal lover will love watching on a Friday night. 

The Enfield Poltergeist

The Enfield Poltergeist frightening documentary poster

Released: 2002

Even the Brits have their ghosts and supernatural fixtures, and The Enfield Poltergeist is definitely proof. Back in 1970’s London, two young sisters started acting strangely – and that was just the beginning of it. There was also moving furniture, levitation, shadow figures and disembodied voices that many came to believe was a poltergeist. Or in other words, a troublesome ghost that has nothing better to do with its time. As one of the original poltergeist tales, this scary documentary is a must-have for any ghost enthusiast. 

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Scary Movies and Series

Ten Paranormal Movies/Television Series to Watch On Amazon Prime in January 2020

It’s winter, it’s cold and well it’s perfect for watching supernatural horror. So we’ve put together a list of the best paranormal movies and television series on Amazon Prime right now to keep you entertained during these cold months. Maybe save The Shining for a nice snowed in some wintery night.. or not. We will be updating this list on a monthly basis as new titles become available and older titles leave.

January 2020

10.) The Woman in Black

Director: James Watkins

Writers: Jane Goldman

Cast:  Daniel Radcliffe, Ciarán Hinds, Janet McTeer, Sophie Stuckey, Liz White

Arthur Kipps, a lawyer, is recently widowed and grieving from the loss of his wife when he is sent to a remote village. Soon after his arrival, it becomes clear that the villagers are hiding a terrible secret. Kipps discovers that his late client’s house, for which he is there, is haunted by the spirit of a woman who is trying to find someone and something she lost, and no one is safe from her.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 67%

9.) The Innkeepers

Director/Writers: Ti West

Cast: Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, Kelly McGillis

When two employees at a New England hotel decide to investigate stories of hauntings and ghosts, their actions waken an unwanted presence.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 80%

8.) Carrie (1976)

Director: Brian DePalma

Writers: Lawrence D. Cohen

Cast: Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving, John Travolta, William Katt, Nancy Allen, Betty Buckley

In this adaptation of Stephen King’s horror novel, secluded and sensitive teen Carrie White faces taunting and teasing from classmates at school and abuse from her mother at home. When strange occurrences start happening around Carrie, she begins to suspect that she has supernatural powers. Invited to the prom by the empathetic Tommy Ross, Carrie tries to let her guard down, but things eventually take a dark and violent turn.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

7.) The Blair Witch Project

Directors/Writers: Eduardo Sánchez, Daniel Myrick

Cast: Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams, Joshua Leonard

Found video footage tells the tale of three film students who’ve traveled to a small town to collect documentary footage about the Blair Witch, a local legend. Over the course of several days, the students interview townspeople and gather clues to support the tale’s truth. But the project takes a frightening turn when the students lose their way in the woods and begin hearing horrific noises.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%

6.) Hereditary

Writer/Director: Ari Aster

Cast: Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Millie Shapiro, Ann Dowd, Gabriel Byrne

When the grandmother of the Graham family passes away, her daughter and grandchildren begin to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry, trying to outrun the sinister fate they have inherited.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%

5.) The Shining

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Writers: Stanley Kubrick, Diane Johnson

Cast:  Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers, Danny Lloyd

Jack Torrance becomes the winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado, hoping to cure his writer’s block. He settles in along with his wife, Wendy, and his son, Danny, who is cursed by psychic premonitions. As Jack’s writing goes nowhere and Danny’s visions become more disturbing, Jack discovers the hotel’s dark secrets and begins to unravel into a homicidal maniac terrorizing his family.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%

4.) A Quiet Place

Director: John Krasinski

Writers: Bryan Woods and Scott Beck

Cast: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe

A family must live in silence to avoid mysterious creatures that hunt by sound. Knowing that even the slightest whisper, pen drop, or footstep can bring death, Evelyn and Lee are determined to find a way to protect their children while searching for a way to fight back.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%

3.) The Exorcist (1973)

Director: William Friedkin

Writers: William Peter Blatty

Cast:  Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Lee J. Cobb, Kitty Winn, Jack MacGowran, Jason Miller, Linda Blair

This tale of an exorcism is based loosely on actual events. When the young daughter Regan starts acting odd, levitating, speaking in tongues her worried mother seeks medical help, only to hit a dead end. A priest, however, thinks the girl may be possessed by the devil. The priest makes a request to perform an exorcism.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84%

2.) The Babadook

Director/Writers: Jennifer Kent

Cast: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Daniel Henshall, Hayley McElhinney, Barbara West, Ben Winspear

A single mother, grieving from the violent death of her husband, battles with her son’s fear of a monster lurking in the house, but soon discovers a sinister presence all around her and her family.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%

1.) The Evil Dead (1981)

Director/Writers: Sam Raimi

Cast: Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Betsy Baker

Ashley “Ash” Williams, his girlfriend and three pals hike into the woods to a cabin for a fun night away from it all. There they find an old book, the Necronomicon, and the text reawakens the dead when it’s read aloud. The friends not knowingly, release a flood of evil and must fight for their lives or become one of the evil dead. Ash watches his friends become possessed, and must make a difficult decision before daybreak to save his own life.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%

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Best Of Best of Movies Featured Scary Movies and Series

The Best Supernatural Horror Streaming Now

Updated March 19th 2021

Have you been endlessly clicking through each of your streaming services looking for the best supernatural horror movies and series? Look no further as we have taken the time to watch them all and select the best supernatural horror currently streaming on HULU, NETFLIX, and AMAZON PRIME. You won’t find slasher films in this list because we prefer the supernatural. Included but not limited to hauntings, possessions, monsters, and complete and total psychological mind f#$%ks. We’ll keep updating so you don’t have to mindlessly scroll through endless movie lists like the zombie you might be someday.

Best Supernatural Horror on HULU

  1. The Wretched

75% Tomatometer “The atmosphere is eerie and there’s a nice twist I did not see coming.” Staci Layne Wilson

A young boy begins the journey of navigating not only his parent’s divorce but also fighting the old witch that has possessed the next-door neighbors. Great story and very well executed with a classic twist in the end. Like witch horror movies? So do we and here is our best of witch horror list.

  1. Pyewacket

82% Tomatometer “The director is out for blood, and while this is a slow-burn affair that craftily bides its time until just the proper moment to unleash a flurry of dexterously ominous thrills, the craven wickedness of it all is portentously intoxicating.” Sara Michelle Fetters 

The angst of a teenage girl mixed with a bumpy relationship with her mother leads to grim things. Out for blood, the young girl performs an ancient death curse. Whose demise will it really end in?

  1. Lights out

76% Tomatometer “A lean, mean scare-machine, and a surprise contender for horror of the year. Seek it out. Then, for God’s sake, buy a bedside lamp.” Simon Crook

Rebecca could never tell fact from fiction in the dark as a child, and now her young brother faces the same problem. A supernatural entity has come to torment the two holding a strange attachment to their mother.

  1. Thelma

93% Tomatometer “Thelma is a wonderfully composed work, one that involves you at a pace of its own.” Rhys Tarling

A college student experiences a series of extreme seizures resulting in new supernatural abilities. Her new powers are dangerous and frightening, seemingly triggered by her love for another student. (In Norwegian, only has English subtitles)

  1. Welcome to Mercy

70% Tomatometer “A rare horror movie whose creators seriously represent both sides of a dilemma, and is therefore more mature than it seems at first glance.” Simon Abrams

Madaline visits a convent and learns she is on her way to becoming the Antichrist. She must work together with her friend August to confront and fight and demons inside of her.

Best Supernatural Horror on NETFLIX

  1. The Ritual

74% Tomatometer “It is a haunting film, with immaculate direction, impressive creature design, as well as well-acted and well-realised characters.” Adi Pramana

After a death in their group, four friends go for a hike through the Scandinavian wilderness. When they become lost in the forest, a series of evil and mysterious events plague the travelers.

  1. His House

100% Tomatometer “His House is a terrifying debut that breathes a fresh voice into the haunted-house subgenre.” Robert Daniels

A refugee couple from South Sudan have just escaped the horrors of their world, only to be thrown into another. Evil hides in the corners of their new English town life.

  1. Girl on the Third Floor

84% Tomatometer “Stevens shows that he is ready to earn his chops in the directors chair and it’s easy to get excited about what he plans to tackle next. Girl on the Third Floor has a lot of heart and some of it might be bleeding out right on the living room floor.” Ryan Larson

A couple moves into a house with plans to renovate it. The house has other plans though. 

  1. Apostle

78% Tomatometer “Evans departs from his usual action fare to weave a gripping story centered around unique Pagan-like mythology steeped in blood and sacrifice. It’s folk horror, but with a new level of brutality and viscera unlike most of its ilk.” Meagan Navarro

Thomas Richardson comes home to discover that his sister has been kidnapped by a cult. Thomas infiltrates the cult and learns of the true evil lurking within it.

  1. Polaroid

The critics hated it but we really enjoyed it so it’s on our list. Give it 15 minutes and you decide if it really is that rottne!

A highschool girl who has an innocent interest in photography finds a vintage polaroid camera and begins to experiment with it. But the people who have their picture taken with the camera are mysteriously met with a sudden and gruesome death.

  1. Little Evil

92% Tomatometer “Little Evil is fast-paced, funny, and more clever than you think it will be.” Eddie Strait 

This one has a comedy twist but who doesn’t love a horror comedy? A newlywed couple is enjoying their life with their five-year-old son who may or may not be the Antichrist.

Best Supernatural Horror on AMAZON PRIME

  1. Annabelle: Creation

71% Tomatometer “It’s perhaps one of the most exciting connective twists I’ve seen in a horror film.” Jordy Sirkin

Based on the famous haunted Annabelle doll. A nun and 6 orphaned girls are welcomed into a new California home. The owner’s 7-year-old daughter had passed away in that home a few years earlier, leaving a mysterious doll behind in her bedroom. One of the curious orphans discovers it and the evil inside of it.

  1. Devil

50% Tomatometer  This is another one where we watched and really enjoyed it. Critics be damned for messing with the devil in an elevator. “A taut, expert and engrossing thriller with sense of visual restraint that is refreshing in this age of abhorrent overexposure.” David Keyes

5 strangers are on a normal elevator ride until it gets stuck in the Philidelphia office tower. Their normal ride turns dark when they learn that the Devil is among them.

  1. It

86% Tomatometer “In the end, Muschietti’s film is a big, fat, gorgeously produced love letter to King’s epic novel.” Sara Michelle Fetters

Based on Stephen King’s novel, this movie follows the journey of seven young outcasts. They meet the evilest ancient being out there that emerges from the depths of the sewers every 27 years. They all must overcome their fears to banish the clown, Pennywise.

  1. Midsommar

83% Tomatometer “Ari Aster’s approach to horror filmmaking seeps into your subconsciousness with great effect, lingering like an uninvited guest.” Wenlei Ma

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/midsommar

A young couple struggling with their relationship decide to go on a trip to a Swedish festival. It turns into a nightmare when the locals show their true colors.

  1. Possum

90% Tomatometer “[Possum’s] shiver-inducing, claustrophobic, hauntingly brilliant nightmare fuel, powered by an engagingly disturbing central performance from Sean Harris.” Joey Keogh

A puppeteer has to relive his childhood nightmares and past secrets.

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Indie Horror Indie Horror Creation Indie horror film makers Scary Movies and Series

THE UNITED STATES OF HORROR

The United States of Horror film logo

If there is one thing we love at Puzzle Box horror it’s a compendium of great horror stories. What better way to hear these terrifying tales than via short horror films. We’re anxiously anticipating this upcoming release from Dystopian Films.

Dystopian films is launching their biggest and most ambitious project to date; a horror anthology trilogy titled THE UNITED STATES OF HORROR. The films will be a nationwide collection of horror segments from every state in America.

We’re using a crowd funder platform to spread the word to the film community:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-united-states-of-horror-feature-film/x/8297675

Dystopian films is the production company behind the hit  Amazon Prime TV show Age of the Living Dead, and the upcoming horror The Nights Before Christmas!

Promoting the production Simon Phillips said “This is a personal passion project for Paul, Ken and I – we all love the horror genre so much and the horror community is like no other! I want to ensure that the trilogy we make this fall is something bigger than the sum of its parts, and we look forward to scaring people in a non-pandemic way in 2021.“

The big challenge for the team is to fill all the available state slots for the required horror segments. See the crowd funder for details on how to be part of this ambitious project.

The United States of Horror is due for release October 2021.

Check it out at:

https://www.facebook.com/usofhorror

https://instagram.com/usofhorror