One of America’s grisliest crime stories is headed to the small screen with the Nov. 18 premiere of SundanceTV’s Cold Blooded: The Clutter Family Murders. It’s a story that has captivated the country for nearly six decades now, and this docuseries should give viewers a better understanding of the crime.
The Clutter family — well-known farmer Herbert Clutter, wife Bonnie May, and teenaged children Nancy and Kenyon — were killed on Nov. 15, 1959, at the hands of Richard Hickock and Perry Smith, two parolees from the Kansas State Penitentiary who were later executed for the crime. The men broke into the Clutter home in Holcomb, KS, to find the money Hickock’s former cellmate claimed was stashed in a safe. That intel turned out to be false, and the two men bound and gagged the Clutters before killing them one by one.
The murders shocked the small town, and nearly a thousand people attended the Clutters’ funeral. For the rest of America, however, the morbid story is best remembered as the basis for Truman Capote’s 1966 nonfiction novel In Cold Blood, a book that broke new ground in the true crime genre and became a staple in high school English classes. In fact, the author’s fixation on the Clutter murders inspired two movies, 2005’s Capote and 2006’s Infamous.
Now SundanceTV is examining the shocking story with new insights. “Cold Blooded: The Clutter Family Murders draws from the first-hand accounts of relatives, family friends, townspeople, and law enforcement — some of whom have never spoken publicly before.” the cable network says in a press release. “[The series] presents never-before-seen details such as original photographs, audio recordings, and documents from the case, as well as memoirs and letters from the murderers and their families. Through this immersive investigation, the true crime docuseries deepens our understanding of this notorious crime and explores the role it played in the American psyche.”
Cold Blooded: The Clutter Family Murders premieres on Nov. 18 at 9 p.m. ET on SundanceTV.