The Story That Started The True Crime Genre

In the trailer for Cold Blooded: The Clutter Family Murders, SundanceTV’s two-part documentary special airing this weekend, an announcer says, “Discover the murders that made true crime an American obsession.” While usually that kind of pronouncement might come off as a cheesy marketing ploy, in the case of the Clutter murders, it’s actually true. The senseless, horrific murder of an entire family in Holcomb, Kansas, occurred in the year 1959 — and we’re still talking about this crime today because of Truman Capote’s book, In Cold Blood.
Along with the rest of the nation, Capote read about the Clutter murders in the newspaper. Intrigued, the author traveled to Kansas to begin research on what he sought to be the first nonfiction novel. He ingratiated himself into the small community, interviewed the murderers, compiled 8,000 of pages of notes, and ended up writing the first true crime book in publishing history.
The SundanceTV special, airing November 18 and 19, is set to add to the legend by featuring archival footage of the Clutter family, as well as first-ever interviews from their relatives. Here’s what you need to know before watching.
Pictured: Herb and Bonnie Clutter, far left, at their daughter Eveanna's wedding
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