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Best Documentaries Based On Horror Movies, Ranked

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Horror movies are a genre that everyone has contrasting opinions about. Love them or hate them, everyone ponders on the special effects, lore, and overall execution of these films. Sometimes, the knowledge that there are actual historical events tied to horror movies makes the whole experience even more chilling. For avid fans of the genre, horror movie documentaries are just another step further into the franchise they love.

From documentaries discussing horror as a genre to standalone franchise specials, here are some of the best documentaries based on horror movies, ranked:

Directed by David Gregory, this documentary takes a look behind the scenes with cast interviews and the set crew going about their work in developing each shot from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. From the props department to ...-production team, the anecdotes shared and the technology of the time really make for an invigorating watch. This highly entertaining documentary also offers a “Where are they now?” segment for the major cast and crew. A significant amount of time is also spent going into detail about the film’s success story and how it came to have a cult following of its own.

Directed by Stefan Hutchinson, this documentary, along with its unique format, is considered to be the initiator of documentaries based on blockbuster horror movie franchises. The documentary follows the evolution of the Halloween franchise over a span of 25 years until 2006. Revisiting original locations, exploring old sets, and meeting with locals to discuss the franchise’s impact is the focus here. Featuring interviews from the cast, crew, and even critics of the franchise, the overall experience is surreal in the amount of content the audience gets to see. This includes interviews from all the actors who played the role of Michael Myers across the eight films!

Directed by Michael Matessino, this documentary offers an all-access look into the cogs and wheels of John Carpenter’s The Thing. Considered one of the finest made horror movies of all time, this documentary had big shoes to fill, but it does so with grace. The almost 90-minute runtime offers an insightful, detailed look into everything that made the original film great. From the snow-capped terrain, to the grotesque horror effects, the documentary answers some of the most important questions from a logistical and technical standpoint. This makes the documentary an important watch for those working in the industry as well as avid fans of the genre.

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Directed by David A. Weiner, this documentary is the perfect starter pack for every horror movie fan’s dreams. Functioning as a lengthy discussion that offers commentary on some of the most popular horror films of the ’80s, this documentary is a wonderful celebration of the entire genre itself. Among the films featured, snippets are included from The Fog, Hellraiser, Day of the Dead, Halloween, and Friday the 13th. The documentary also conducts in-depth interviews with SFX artists, one of the most underappreciated, yet most tricky and noticeable parts of the horror makeup ensemble.

Written by Rob Goldberg, this documentary takes the camera deep underwater in a stunning, behind-the-scenes look at Steven Spielberg’s 1975 hit film, Jaws. The documentary explores the logistics of the film in detail, with a lot of time dedicated to Bruce the Shark, who made shooting impossible due to a lack of cooperation. The documentary also includes footage of actual US Navy soldiers sharing their thoughts on the film’s shooting and footage from the hiring process of the film’s main actors.

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Directed by Daniel Farrands, this lengthy documentary utilizes its runtime to the maximum degree to deliver a comprehensive history of the beloved Friday the 13th franchise. Seeking inspiration from the book Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th by Peter M Bracke, the documentary received critical acclaim upon its release. Taking viewers to 1980s New Jersey, the documentary binds together hours worth of archival footage, photographs, interviews, conceptual art for the villains, and outtakes from the actual film. It wraps everything up with a neat little bow that is a celebration of the love and care that went into the creation of this multi-million dollar franchise.

Directed by Daniel Farrands and Andrew Kasch, what makes this documentary deserving of the number one spot is how unbelievably terrifying it is, almost like its source material. Freddy Krueger is hailed as one of the most iconic horror movie villains of all time, appearing in people’s living nightmares. This documentary takes extra care in making sure that none of the evil is lost just because the audience is watching a documentary on the character. With an almost four-hour runtime that pays tribute to all the best parts of the franchise, from the characters to the locations to the individual nightmare special effects, this award-winning documentary is well-deserved of all its laurels.

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