Oct 24, 2020

More than the ghosts and ghouls in horror movies, what we should be scared of are the real-life evils that surround us. And by that, we don’t just mean the killers and perpetrators themselves, but also the unfair judicial systems that let them walk free, the society that makes them believe what they’re doing is right, the people who just stand on the sides and let them swing their knives at others and the perpetuations of discriminatory systems that serve as the root of various crimes.

For this year’s Halloween, we’d like to remind you that in real life, the evil isn’t a possessed doll or a faceless vengeful ghost. No, they’re more like our fellow human beings (…or are they? Do they deserve to be called human? We leave the decision to you) with blood on their hands—as you can see in these true crime films and series that you can stream online.


“Call Her Ganda”

This film about the murder of Filipina Jennifer Laude in 2014 proves to be relevant than ever as her perpetrator U.S. Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton was granted absolute pardon last month and now walks free of his crime. Told with the help of activist attorney Virgie Suarez, transgender journalist Meredith Talusan and Laude’s mother Julita Nanay, “Call Her Ganda” talks about the homicide case and helps shed light on the discrimination and dangers that the LGBTQ+ community faces.

Watch it online through these channels


“The Staircase” 

For some reason, I stumbled upon the docu-series “The Staircase” after re-watching “Gone Girl.” And it does have several similarities, starting with how its story is about a novelist named Michael Peterson, who was convicted of murdering his wife Kathleen. He insists that he is innocent through claims that Kathleen only fell down the stairs to her death, and his murder trial follows how the decision of whether he is guilty or not was made.

Watch it on Netflix


“The Chaser”

K-drama fans, this one’s for you. Directed by Na Hong Jin of “The Wailing” and “The Yellow Sea,” this action thriller film is inspired by the crimes of real-life Korean serial killer Yoo Young Chul. While names were changed in the film, the murderer’s character remains to be portrayed as the same sex offender who trafficks sex workers and murders them with a hammer.

Watch it on Amazon


“Strong Island” 

Racism is the center of this Oscar-nominated documentary which tackles the story of African-American teacher William Ford who was murdered by 19-year-old mechanic Mark P. Reilly. Directed by Ford’s very own brother, the film is told from the viewpoint of Ford’s family and shows how judicial systems are more of horror story villains than allies in real-life crimes.

Watch it on Netflix


“Wild Wild Country”

If stories about cults are your thing, then this film about the controversial Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and his followers in Oregon’s Rajneeshpuram community might pique your interest. Giving a real-life account of how a cult was able to grow to having thousands of followers, this true story docu-series will give you the creeps as it starts showing how the cult managed to orchestrate murders and other extreme scenarios.

Watch it on Netflix


“The Lilian Velez Story: Till Death Do Us Part”

Ah, yes, of course we have a murder done out of “love” featured on this list. Starring Sharon Cuneta and Cesar Montano, this film is based on the true-to-life passion crime by actor Nanding Anzures in the 1950s. Angered upon learning that the actress Lilian Velez who often played his leading lady in movies will be marrying another man, he brutally murders her in front of her young daughter.

Watch it on TFC


“The Keepers” 

We swear, this isn’t “The Conjuring”—although it does tell the story of a murdered nun. Back in 1970, the body of all-girls Catholic school teacher Sister Cathy Cesnik was found near a garbage dump with a skull fracture that caused her death. Up to now, Cesnik’s case stays unsolved, but the documentary series does point out a plausible suspect through interviews with some of her former students. 

Watch it on Netflix


Header photo by Elti Meshau on Unsplash

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TAGS: filipino true crime films Film halloween local true crime films movie murder movies netflix true crime films true crime films true crime movies true-to-life movie