Authors and filmmakers have been exploiting other people’s tragedy for…well, forever. Truth was stranger than fiction back in the day, too.
Fritz Lang’s cinematic masterpiece — inspired by serial killer Peter Kürten, who he spent eight days with in a mental institution for “research” — is still studied by criminology students today.
The Wrong Man (1956)
This atypical Alfred Hitchcock flick — based on the true story of Christopher Emmanuel, who was falsely accused of murder — set the style for your favourite procedurals. Law & Order before Dick Wolf.
In Cold Blood (1965)
Truman Capote’s account of a quadruple family homicide in Kansas marked the birth of narrative-driven nonfiction (and noteless journalism).
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
This film is about Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, the notorious outlaw couple who captivated the minds of Depression-era America — and, unfortunately, Jay-Z and Beyoncé.
Helter Skelter (1976)
In his book, Vincent Bugliosi, prosecutor at Charles Manson’s trial, told all about the murder case that rocked mid-century Hollywood (and ruined a Beatles song).