After reading Louis Theroux’s Facebook post on his favourite documentaries, I thought I’d post us some of my own. I’m going to balance out this list with some more light hearted ones over the next few days, as some of these are definitely not for those with a weak stomach and are pretty bleak. But hey! Such is life!
Let’s get started!
Vice: The Cannibal Warlords of Liberia
The story of the messy remains of a country ravaged by 14 years of civil war. Vice speak to Joshua Milton Blahyi, better known by his nom de guerre ‘General Butt Naked’, one of the murderous warlords who once led children in cannibalistic rampages, who is now a born again evangelist, preaching where he once murdered, and trying to rebuild the shattered lives of those he commanded during the war.
Adam Curtis: The Power of Nightmares
The Power of Nightmares, subtitled ‘The Rise of the Politics of Fear’, is a BBC documentary film series, written and produced by Adam Curtis. Its three one-hour parts consist mostly of a montage of archive footage with Curtis’s narration. It argues that the threat of radical Islamism as a massive, sinister organised force of destruction, specifically in the form of al-Qaeda, is a myth perpetrated by politicians in many countries—and particularly American Neo-Conservatives, in an attempt to unite and inspire their people following the failure of earlier, more utopian ideologies.
Louis Theroux: Law and Disorder in Johannesburg
Louis Theroux travels to Johannesburg, where the residents find themselves increasingly besieged by crime as he looks at the issue of law and disorder, and the actions of the general public to take action themselves against would-be criminals. If you are looking for the authentic within this obscure world, then this is some of the best footage documentary you will ever come across. Check the full documentary on youtube here.
The Pharmacratic Inquisition
The pharmacratic inquisition looks into the origins of astronomical knowledge surrounding the sun, stars, and zodiac, religious and cultural celebrations. It gives historical insights into the Christian persecution of archaic religions based on sacramental ingestion of entheogenic plants and the consequent personal access to ecstatic states. From the destruction of the Eleusinian Mysteries at the end of the fourth century, to the persecution of witches in the Middle Ages, into today’s Pharmacratic State in the guise of a public health “War on Drugs.”
Graham Hancock: Quest For The Lost Civilization
In this set of three videotapes, writer Graham Hancock traverses the world and explains his controversial theory that an ancient civilization, highly intelligent people who sailed the planet as early as 10,500 B.C., spread advanced astronomical knowledge and built ancient observatories. Hancock raises some puzzling questions, and even if you don’t buy his arguments, bolstered though they are by mathematical equations and astronomical diagrams, the Quest for the Lost Civilization is an entertaining mixture of archaeology, astronomy, and speculation.
Jeffrey Dahmer: The Monster Within
The life and crimes of American serial killer and sex offender, Jeffrey Dahmer. Jeff developed a dark sexual obsession that involved control, curiosity, dismemberment, cannibalism, and necrophilia. On November 28, 1994, he was beaten to death by an inmate at the Columbia Correctional Institution, where he had been incarcerated. Extremely disturbing, and probably one of the sickest serial killer stories ever.
VBS.TV: True Norwegian Black Metal
True Norwegian Black Metal is a 2007 documentary produced by VBS/Vice Magazine. They take a look into the history of the Black Metal scene and interview Gaahl, lead singer of the band Gorgoroth, dubbed “the most evil man alive”
Welcome to North Korea
Welcome to North Korea by Peter Tetteroo and Raymond Feddema is documentary about North Korea and about how life is in the Orwellian nightmare-state. In this country like no other, gigantic monuments to heroic leaders are seen by almost no one, deluxe hotels hold next to no guests, and traffic police direct traffic that does not exist. Those few foreigners who do visit the country are told straightforwardly about the superhuman feats of the supreme leader Kim Il-Sung, and his son, the dear leader Kim Jong-Il.
BBC: Long Way Round
This documentary series follows actors Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman on a motorcycle trip around the world. The two friends will travel from the United Kingdom through such places as Siberia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Alaska, before finally ending the journey in New York. The filming will be done by on board cameras and one ride along cameraman.
DMT: The Spirit Molecule
The Spirit Molecule explores the enigmatic dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a molecule found throughout nature, and considered the most potent psychedelic. In 1995, Dr. Strassman completed the first government-sanctioned, psychedelic research on DMT, with results that may answer humanitys greatest questions. Check out the full documentary with excerpts from Rick Strausmann’s research on Youtube here.
Touching the Void
An amazing story of a man’s survival as his mountaineering expedition goes haywire. Joe Simpson and Simon Yates take a perilous journey up the west face of Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes in 1985. Disaster struck on the descent when Joe slipped down an ice cliff and landed awkwardly, smashing his tibia into his knee joint, thus breaking his right leg. The pair, whose trip had already taken longer than they intended because of bad weather on the ascent, had run out of fuel for their stove and could not melt ice and snow for drinking water. With bad weather closing in and daylight fading, they needed to descend quickly to the glacier, about 3,000 feet below.
The Battle of Cherynobyl
The Battle of Cherynobyl dramatically chronicles the series of harrowing efforts to stop the nuclear chain reaction and prevent a second explosion, to “liquidate” the radioactivity, and to seal off the ruined reactor under a mammoth “sarcophagus.” These nerve-racking events are recounted through newly available films, videos and photos taken in and around the plant, computer animation, and interviews with participants and eyewitnesses, many of whom were exposed to radiation, including government and military leaders, scientists, workers, journalists, doctors, and Pripyat refugees. The consequences of this catastrophe continue today, with thousands of disabled survivors suffering from the “Chernobyl syndrome” of radiation-related illnesses, and the urgent need to replace the hastily-constructed and now crumbling sarcophagus over the still-contaminated reactor.