“Dr. Death,” “My Favorite Murder,” “Crime Junkie,” and, of course, “Serial:” These podcasts made regular appearances in the 2020 popularity charts, and surprise, surprise! They’re all true crime podcasts.
True crime is one genre that never goes out of style — be it TV shows, documentaries, or podcasts. I’m sure everyone reading this remembers some time when they were glued to their TV watching true crime of some form, unable to look away for hours on end.
It’s gruesome, bloody, gory, and definitely off-putting, so why are we still so captivated by this genre?
For a long time, I thought it was abnormal that I found true crime so fascinating, but I came to realize that I wasn’t the only one. There are countless people like me who like listening to true crime podcasts to spice up their boring laundry routine.
Truth is stranger than fiction, because fiction is obliged to stick to believable possibilities, and truth isn’t. What attracts most people to true crime is the fact that it is indeed true. The very notion that people like Ted Bundy and the Golden State Killer once walked among us gives you goosebumps.
True crime bewilders people. I, for one, am always shocked when I learn of the extent to which the perpetrators go to satisfy their depraved desires.
True crime strips naked the worst minds of humanity before us. It shows us things we can’t imagine, and in this way it’s similar to fantasy — until you remember that the fact that the whole point is these stories are real.
Apart from the rarity of these gruesome instances, audiences are drawn to true crime due to an evolutionary instinct.
Humans are programmed to feel safer when they’re more aware. When people learn about the modus operandi of the craftiest criminal minds from the comfort of their home, they feel more primed for the world outside. They’re compelled to be more wary of strangers, to lock their doors at night, and this is what makes them feel more secure. Perhaps true crime, in a very ironic way, prevents more crimes from taking place.
And true crime is just plain entertaining.
True crime awakens everyone’s inner armchair detective. After a few episodes of any true crime offering, every person is so engrossed in the story that they want to figure out the whodunnit part before the show gives it to them. If they’re right, the feeling of satisfaction and victory compels them to stream the next episode. And if not, the disbelief and astonishment coerce them into trying again by jumping into the next installment. Either way, true crime always manages to keep its audience invested.
This Spooky Season, get yourself a tub of popcorn, snuggle into your couch, and find your new favorite true crime show. It may be gruesome, macabre, and horrific — but we both know that’s why you’ll like it.