Why Does Netflix Keep Making Serial Killer and Doomsday Shows?

Over the past several years, Netflix has become more popular than ever. The streaming service features a wide variety of content for every interest, curated into categories that can appeal to any taste. The platform is becoming especially well-known for their selection of horror and serial killer movies and documentaries hit shows like Making a Murderer and Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes

What are the most popular horror shows on Netflix?

Brendan Dassey appears in Netflix's Making a Murderer
Brendan Dassey in Making a Murderer | Netflix

Arguably one of the most popular series ever to premiere on Netflix was Making a Murderer. The show debuted in late 2015 and detailed the story of Steven Avery, a man who served nearly twenty years in prison on a false charge. The show became an instant smash and thousands of viewers tuned in to stream the series, which ultimately became a pop-culture phenomenon. While critical reception was mixed, there was no doubt in the minds of the fans – Making a Murderer was the new, hot obsession. A second season was released in October 2018.

Following the surprise success of Making a Murderer, a plethora of true crime documentaries and series hit the platform, including Team Foxcatcher, I Called Him Morgan, Wild Wild Country, Amanda Knox, The Witness, and Casting JonBenet. One of the newest, and one that is attracting a huge amount of buzz is Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes. The series tells the story of American serial killer Ted Bundy through archival footage, interviews with reporters, historians, and those who survived his attacks. The four-part series has been hailed as both chilling and binge-worthy, and Netflix subscribers seem to agree – it’s become hugely popular in the weeks since it first debuted on the platform. 

Why do people enjoy horror movies and shows?

People love true crime and horror, and the powers that be at Netflix seem to be well aware of that. But why are people so drawn to frightening true crime tales? A recent Time magazine article zeroed in on the public’s fascination with serial killers, noting that the combination of adrenaline and fear that people feel when watching these movies or TV shows keep them coming back for more, in spite of the terrifying material. 

Another article went into detail about the impulse that draws people to stare at crime scenes is likely the same one that keeps them pressing “play” on frightening Netflix shows. It’s undoubtedly true that watching blood-chilling dramas can capture the public’s interest like romance movies or comedies can’t quite seem to, and in spite of the unsavory nature of many of these shows, as long as viewers keep tuning in, producers and artists will keep cranking out the fear-inducing programming.

What’s the next big crime movie for Netflix?

True crime fans have a big year ahead of them – in late 2019, Netflix will debut an all-new movie, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile. The movie tells the story of Ted Bundy and his crimes from the point of view of his long-time girlfriend. The film features an impressive cast, including Lily Collins (daughter of rock legend Phil Collins) as Bundy’s girlfriend, and Zac Efron, child star turned heartthrob as Ted Bundy.

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile has already been earning critical praise, most notably for Zac Efron’s impressive performance as the deceptively charming Bundy. Viewers can judge for themselves when the movie hits Netflix later this year – and in the meantime, check out our picks for top horror films available on Netflix. 

True crime aficionados can count on technology to anticipate their entertainment preferences – and Netflix seems to be on the cutting edge of audience anticipation.