I can’t be the only one that’s like this, because if I was, they wouldn’t be making the programmes in the first place, but I’ve become a bit obsessed with gritty, grimy, horrible movies and documentaries about the underworld, crime and weirdos who keep women locked up in their cellar on Netflix. What’s with that?
Part of my reasoning is because the novel I’m working on is based on an evil woman. Prostitution, for some reason, also tends to feature heavily in my writing, and not being either evil or… ahem.. a lady of the night, I have to do my research. At least that’s what I tell myself anyway.
I’m sure the real reason is more to do with being voyeuristic into a world so far removed from my own. And judging by the amount of crime novels and constant churning of documentaries about killers, us humans are pretty fascinated by those who operate outside our normal social values.
So, if you too find yourself drawn to disturbing material with no idea why, here’s some of the programmes you might like. The great thing about Netflix of course is that once you watch one programme, it recommends others in the same vein. I’m surprised they don’t have a ‘Recommended for you’ with a flashing ‘Sicko!’ after it on my Netflix profile.
This was a really interesting movie based on the kidnapping of Natascha Kampusch. Remember the girl who was taken at the age of 10 in Austria and kept in a tiny cellar for over eight years? She eventually escaped and reappeared, surprising everyone who thought she had likely been murdered. The movie takes us from the kidnapping right up to her escape and it was a fascinating insight into the time she spent locked in a tiny prison cell, suffering emotional, physical and sexual abuse from her captor Wolfgang Priklopil. I remember reading at the time that she suffered from Stockholm Syndrome after her ordeal and this is also explored in the movie. I loved the performances in it and for a movie mostly based in one tiny room, it was brilliantly done.
Josef Fritzl – Story of a Monster
This came up as a recommendation having watched the Natascha Kampusch story and it does make you wonder, what the hell is going on in Austria?! The documentary features interviews with members of Fritzl’s family and his close friends and looks at his violent background and upbringing. It gives some sort of insight into how his family were not aware that he had his daughter Elizabeth locked up for 24 years in an underground warren underneath his house and fathered seven children with her. The documentary is not rated highly but I thought it was well made and featured some really interesting interviews. It’s still hard to believe that he was capable of doing that to his daughter, for so long. Truly disturbing.
This was a documentary about the serial killer Aileen Wuornos, who is the woman the film Monster is based on. It was a fascinating documentary which is as interesting for the story of Aileen itself as well as the relationship that develops between documentary maker Nick Broomfield and his muse. Aileen shot and killed seven men, but she always claimed self-defense. It was sad depiction of a woman who had been born into a life of deprivation and abuse and who was left ravaged by a lifetime of prostitution and mental health issues. You certainly feel for her and the life she never really had.
I’ll be honest, these documentaries are the type you’ll see back to back late at night on reality channels and they won’t win any Oscars but they feature the stories of billions of women who’ve murdered, plotted and plundered. Tons of novel fodder right there, so of course, I’ll be watching.
So there you go. That’s just some of the gruesome viewing I’ve been carrying out over the past while. Are you too as sick as me? Let me know below.
I’m a member of the Netflix Stream Team and receive a complimentary subscription for review purposes