West of Memphis
Three young boys were found mutilated and murdered in an Arkansas town in 1993. What followed was the strange trial and conviction of the West Memphis Three presented here by celebrated documentarian Amy Berg.
West of Memphis offers a harrowing look into a failure of the American justice system, shining a light on its flaws and sins in a way only documentaries can do. For more docs that look at disturbing elements of American life, we suggest this trio. One focuses on another man convicted in the court of public opinion. Another follows the fall of some insanely wealthy members of the American glitterati, and lastly a disturbing tale of American squeamishness and censorship.
Cropsey (2009) Be warned: this doc is not for the faint of heart. Documentarians Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio investigate the urban myth of their Staten Island home, and uncover the horrific rash of child abductions and criminal neglect that spawned these ghoulish local legends. It's a fascinating and disturbing doc that will demand your attention and haunt your nightmares.
The Queen of Versailles (2012) When the 2008 financial crisis hit, countless Americans were impacted, losing their savings, their jobs, and their homes. This is the story of one of them. Jackie Siegel, a personable and ever-chipper trophy wife with very expensive tastes was in the midst of building the U.S.'s largest private residence when her mogul hubby was hard hit by the recession. While it might seem hard to commiserate with millionaires, this doc has received fervent praise, and even made Katey's top ten for the year. A major part of the film's appeal is director Lauren Greenfield's mix of awe at the Seigel family's incomprehensively luxurious lifestyle and genuine compassion for the hardships they are forced to face when all of it is threatened.
Inside Deep Throat (2005) You might chuckle at this cheeky title, but the shocking story documentarians Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato uncover here will prove jaw-dropping and mind-blowing. The porn flick Deep Throat became a national sensation and controversy, hurling its sexy stars into the spotlight—for better or worse—and sparking a sexual revolution and seething backlash. But was what the makers of Deep Throat did criminal? The story is salacious, but what makes this doc a must-see is the spirited and witty way Bailey and Barbato unfold it with revealing interviews, through-provoking insights, and a heavy dose of wry and wild humor.