A shockumentary is a documentary film that seeks to shock and disturb the audience by showcasing controversial, graphic, and extreme content. It derives its name from the combination of "shock" and "documentary" and typically explores taboo and contentious subjects, including death, sex, violence, and the macabre. Shockumentaries may also include real footage of disturbing events, such as accidents, disasters, and executions.
During the 1960s and 1970s, shockumentaries became increasingly popular, featuring films like Mondo Cane, Faces of Death, and Cannibal Holocaust. These films received criticism for their sensationalized and exploitative portrayal of real-life events, leading to bans and censorship in multiple countries. However, despite the controversy, shockumentaries developed a devoted following among those attracted to their disturbing and provocative content.
Shock sites and shockumentaries both aim to provoke a strong reaction from the audience, but their methods differ. Shock sites use graphic and often gratuitous images for shock value, while shockumentaries focus on taboo subjects. MDPOPE is an example of a work that can be classified as both a shockumentary and a shock site. Although it is a long-form production featuring a mix of shocking footage, it was primarily distributed through online mixtape sales like shock sites. The film includes extreme and disturbing content, such as graphic violence and sexual content, with the goal of shocking and disturbing viewers. However, it also has a narrative structure and commentary on the subject matter, which is more typical of a shockumentary.