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If You're Obsessed With 'Tiger King': Here Are Five Documentaries You Need To Watch

Unsplash | Thibault Penin
By Adreon Patterson

There’s nothing quite matches the zaniness of Tiger King, the Netflix docuseries that invites viewers into the strange world of big cat lovers.

It spins the tale of Joe Exotic (aka Joseph Maldonado-Passage), a tiger enthusiast with a private zoo, a penchant for guns, and a vendetta against his nemesis Carole Baskin, who runs a big cat rescue.

While nothing will come close to watching Joe Exotic calmly tell a crowd of people in his zoo’s gift shop that one of the tigers has just ripped off an employee’s arm, these documentaries may offer a pretty wild ride.

1. Don’t F--k With Cats

Gettyimages | VALERIE MACON

Before there was Tiger King, there was Don’t F--k With Cats, another Netflix true-crime docuseries about cats and murder.

It followed a man named Luke Magnotta who posted disturbing videos online that showed him killing kittens. The three-part series showed how a group of internet sleuths horrified by the young man’s animal torture videos worked to track him down, though unfortunately not before his crimes took another terrifying turn.

All three episodes of Don't Fck With Cats* are currently streaming on Netflix.

2. Evil Genius

Gettyimages | Neilson Barnard

The 2018 true-crime series was about one of the most bizarre bank robberies in American history.

It told the 2003 story about a pizza delivery person named Brian Wells, who walked into a bank in Erie, Pa. He walked in with a bomb fastened around his next and a note demanding tellers hand over $250,000. The police were called, and they had Wells surrounded when the bomb went off, killing him.

The subsequent investigation led to the discovery of a strange and twisted plot, as detailed in the four-part docuseries currently streaming on Netflix.

3. Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened

Gettyimages | Craig Barritt

The story began In 2017 when boatloads of revelers descended on the Bahamas for what was billed as the party of the lifetime. Instead, they were greeted by chaos, disaster tents, and the world’s saddest cheese sandwiches.

The infamous Fyre Fest became the subject of a documentary courtesy of Netflix. Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened tracked serial entrepreneur/con artist Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule’s attempt to stage a fabulous party on Great Exuma, only to watch the whole affair implode.

While Fyre streams on Netflix. Hulu created a competing documentary Fyre Fraud.

4. Gates to Heaven

Giphy

Filmmaker Errol Morris decided to focus make two pet cemeteries in California the center of his debut documentary.

While there are some oddball characters in this film, it is less about cheap laughs and more about a sincere look at people’s complex relationships with their pets, their thoughts on death, and more.

Film critic Roger Ebert wrote, “This 85-minute film about pet cemeteries has given me more to think about over the past 20 years than most of the other films I’ve seen."

It is currently available for rent on Amazon or streaming on IFC Films Unlimited.

5. Blackfish

Gettyimages | Michael Kovac

This 2013 documentary casts a critical eye on theme parks such as SeaWorld and the practice of keeping killer whales in captivity.

It focused on a wild-born whale named Tilikum kept at Sealand of the Pacific in Vancouver, B.C., and SeaWorld in Orlando. Over more than 30 years in captivity, he was involved in the deaths of three people. The film explored how the behavior of highly social orcas changes dramatically when they are kept in confined spaces.

The film's release caused a serious drop in attendance at SeaWorld parks along with forcing a change in the company’s practices. Today, the parks still have whales in captivity but have phased out breeding programs.

The documentary is currently streaming on Hulu.

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