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.

Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken! (2017, dir. Morgan Spurlock)

Thirteen years after its predecessor documentary, Morgan Spurlock re-investigates the fast food industry, this time by opening a chicken burger restaurant. Following farm-to-fork, marketing, health, and animal welfare themes, this is another sprightly overview, reinforcing multiple industrial aspects of food.

Here’s the trailer.

Friedkin Uncut (2020, dir. Francesco Zippel)

A documentary on film director William Friedkin, centred on interviews with its subject. Very pleasant overview of Friedkin’s work and perspective on filmmaking, supported by focuses on his 1970s output in particular. No huge surprises, and little criticism, but a decent watch nevertheless.

Here’s the trailer.

Haunters: The Art of the Scare (2017, dir. Jon Schnitzer)

An overview of haunts – pop-up Halloween haunted house attractions – and of those who create and act in them. A decent little crowdfunded doc that explores a horror subculture, offering insight into the needs of those who get involved, as well as some of the risks (relationship, psychological, financial, other).

Here’s the trailer.

American Murder: The Family Next Door (2020, dir. Jenny Popplewell)

An archive documentary time-lining the 2018 murder of Shannan, Celeste, and Bella Watts by Shannan’s husband Christopher, and the subsequent police investigation. Grim and compelling, and well-assembled from news coverage, social media posts, police and court interview videos, and from text conversations.

Here’s the trailer.

Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race & America (2016, dir. Matthew Ornstein)

A documentary portrait of US musician Daryl Davis, who has made it a personal mission to befriend and understand Klan members. An interesting biography on a personalised mission to undo the Klan. Both the strengths and flaws of Davis’s approach are explored in an even-handed manner; a fascinating case study.

Here’s the trailer.

Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror (2019, dir. Xavier Burgin)

An overview of black representation and industry participation in (mostly) US horror films. An excellent documentary, clear and straightforward, but with some weight to its ideas as well as being accessible to wider audiences. Plenty of clips, plus interviews with genre figures and academics. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

In Search of Darkness (2019, dir. David A. Weiner)

An overview of 1980s – mostly US mainstream – horror movies. Sacrificing depth for breadth, this lengthy (4-hour) documentary offers annual summaries and some thematic commentary. Light on analysis, but strong on genre industry interviews, this fan service-tastic offering acts as an elegy for late directors Stuart Gordon and Larry Cohen.

Smoke and Mirrors: The Story of Tom Savini (2019, dir. Jason Baker)

A documentary on the life and career of SFX legend and actor Tom Savini. Straightforward and positive overview, with plenty of supportive talking heads and clips from across Savini’s output. Everyone seems to like him, and he comes across well, though a little grit in the oyster might have produced something more valuable.

Fat Fiction [AKA Big Fat Lie] (2020, dir. Jennifer Isenhart)

An exploration of the failure in the US of the government advocating a low-fat, high carbohydrate diet. Clear and focused documentary that evidences the value of fat to diet, weight loss, and diabetes management. While its key messages are dietary, the links to Big Pharma and the food industries in promoting obesity-friendly foods and diet are well-made. Effective.