The Parapod: A Very British Ghost Hunt [AKA The Parapod Movie] (2020, dir. Ian Boldsworth)

Two podcasting comedians – a skeptic and a believer – investigate the existence or otherwise of ghosts. This fine documentary spin-off from the Parapod podcast balances comedy, exploration of the value of evidence and the power of belief while probing tensions in male relationships, largely through testing the limits of the wind-up. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror (2021, dir. Kier-La Janisse)

A history – and a geography – of this mode of storytelling in film and television. More folk than horror, this overlong documentary is somewhat unfocused (depth is sacrificed for breadth), but nevertheless interesting. Feels like a TV series re-edited without titles: something to dip into rather than watch in one go. Worth your time though.

Here’s the trailer.

In Search of Darkness, Part II (2020, dir. David Weiner)

A continuation of the documentary exploration of 1980s-made (mostly) US horror. Much more (4.5 hours) of the same, though with some deeper cuts this time around. Depth is sacrificed for breadth, and the pattern of trailer clip plus talking head per movie gets repetitive, but there’s affection on display for the genre throughout.

Here’s the trailer.

Hollywood Bulldogs: The Rise and Falls of the Great British Stuntman (2021, dir. Jon Spira)

A documentary about now-veteran stuntmen from the UK. Straightforward but fascinating tribune to the likes of Ray Austin, Vic Armstrong, Jim Dowdall, Rocky Taylor, Nosher Powell and Paul Weston: familiar names – if not faces – from TV and movies. A niche and worthwhile, backed with plenty of clips and a a geezerish Ray Winstone narration.

Here’s the trailer.

Out Of Print (2014, dir. Julia Marchese)

A documentary about revival cinema (and the need for there to be 35mm prints of movies), focusing on the New Beverly cinema in Los Angeles. A straightforward but charming little film about cinema, the communal experience of watching together, and about movie-going. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

Seaspiracy (2021, dir. Ali Tabrizi)

A documentary filmmaker investigates whaling, to uncover a global network of criminal and climate-challenging practices liked to commercial fishing. Seaspiracy doesn’t really connect the dots (there isn’t a conspiracy – it’s just plain greed) or land all of its punches, but there’s some interesting material and footage presented, even if the subject matter doesn’t fit with the film’s structure.

Here’s the trailer.

Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb (2020, dir. James Tovell)

A documentary covering a season’s dig at Saqqara outside Cairo, focusing on the tomb of Wahtye. Excellent, compassionate, and detailed overview of an archaeological dig, keen to emphasis the humanity of the participants and links between Egypt’s ancient past and its present. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

Class Action Park (2020, dir. Seth Porges & Chris Charles Scott III)

A documentary on Action Park, a notoriously dangerous New Jersey amusement park, and on its charismatic criminal owner. A straightforward and largely enjoyable overview, though one that struggles to balance the human impact of negligence with fond and at times gung-ho 80s nostalgia.

Here’s the trailer.

Death Zone: Cleaning Everest [AKA Everest Death Zone) (2018, dir. Marina Martins)

A team of Nepalese clear Everest of detritus left by climbers, while also retrieving bodies. Slightly clumsy, but well-meaning and with a strong central message, this Patrick Stewart-narrated documentary makes clear environmental points as well as commenting on wasteful adventure tourism.

Here’s the trailer.

Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2019, dir. Justin Pemberton)

A history of capitalism with projections for the future, based on Thomas Piketty’s bestseller. A clear and accessible overview, engaging and brisk, documenting continuity and change in economic terms between the Industrial Revolution and now. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.