Humanity’s Strange Fascination with Murder Cases


Documentaries like Making a Murderer and The Confession Tapes dive deep inside the minds of killers, which can be scarier than any horror story

Lancy Shi, Photojournalist

When we were kids, most of us probably heard scary stories before bedtime that terrified us deeply. This was our first introduction to the idea of fear, and this idea is essentially the thing that keeps humans alive. Without fear, we wouldn’t try to avoid cars on the streets or dangerous weapons because our consciousness won’t tell us that these things might kill us. As a kid, I always thought that the worst kind of monster was the kind that hides in the shadows with its sharp teeth gaping out of its mouth. As I aged, however, I slowly grew to realize that that was far from the truth. When I was 12, I installed Youtube for the first time and started binging documentary style videos about murder cases. That was my first introduction to the fascinating yet terrifying world of crime.

Even though most people share the common belief that taking another person’s life is immoral, viewers still tend to enjoy watching these documentaries and find them fascinating in a twisted way. Sophia Hsu (11) shares her opinion by saying, “It’s fun because I get to see what goes on behind the murder and the entire process.” We as viewers want to know not only what happened, but more importantly what the murder motive was. This is because the motive is what truly shows how twisted the world can be and how horrific life experiences can cause you to perform horrific actions to others. The thing is, we all know life isn’t just sunshine and rainbows. As people age, most tend to develop this curiosity for the darker parts of human history. The parts that show how it is humans, not ghosts or zombies, who are the scariest monsters in the world.

Even though this fascination in murder cases is justifiable, many fail to consider the negative effects these videos may have. Some people write almost fanfiction-like stories based on these cases, which some believe is absolutely disrespectful to the families of the victims. It is one thing to simply be interested in a murder case, but to write about it as if real life people didn’t suffer because of it is just morally wrong. On top of that, some families of victims aren’t even happy with the idea of the story of their loved one being publicized in the first place. Many argue that the purpose of these videos was to shine a light on the situation and bring justice to the victims, while others bring up the point that some of these videos are poorly presented in a way that does more harm than good.

No matter what you think about murder documentaries, it is clear that they have not reached their peak and will only continue to grow more and more popular. It is important that we have civilized discussions in school about these topics as they may be triggering to some students. Additionally, many YLHS students are at this age where we start learning more gruesome details about what evil humans are truly capable of, which means it is important for us to try and learn a lesson to create a better and safer environment for the next generations to come.