Netflix is back with another true crime documentary series to keep us glued to our sofas – and the case of Richard Ramirez may be the most bone chilling yet.
Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer focuses on the case at large, and as a result keeps Ramirez as a ghost overarching the series for three of the four episodes.
Led by detectives Gil Carrillo and Frank Salerno, who were in charge of the case, Night Stalker follows the one-year killing spree of Ramirez and the people that he affected along the way.
Raping, murdering and robbing his way around California, his victims ranged from a six-year-old girl through to a woman in her 80s – he broke into people’s homes and left behind dead bodies and trauma that could never be repaired.
In a chilling difference to other cases put before a true crime audience, the Night Stalker had no specific target – he would attack male, female, young, old, rich, poor, or any race.
This made Ramirez a certain type of dangerous, because for the first time, no one was safe.
In the four-part series Night Stalker, director Tiller Russell did a good and deliberate job of shining a focus on the crimes themselves, rather than Ramirez.
In the years since his capture, Ramirez has been considered somewhat of a ‘rock star’ of the serial killer world thanks to his Satanic showmanship, Jim Morrison haircut and ever-present sunglasses.
He even became a character in two series of American Horror Story: Hotel and 1984.
Even at the courthouse, admirers and wannabe lovers would parade themselves in front of him and support his case – even though chances are, he would’ve killed them given half a chance.
The series is a baffling watch, especially as to how he managed to still prove charming despite the fact he has committed some of the worst crimes known to man.
But you can’t hear the woman that survived his horrific attack as a child and not feel chilled, or look at the photos and evidence of him and not agree with those involved that this man was sheer, unadulterated evil.
As a reviewer and a true crime fan, being exposed to the atrocities of serial killers is nothing new – but this series hits differently and makes you genuinely horrified at what occurred.
It makes you feel involved somehow, and you’re left shaken and double checking your doors before you go to bed.
Let’s just hope that whoever thinks Ramirez might be some cool rock star because he has nice hair, watches this and sees him for who he is – a raping, murdering psychopath with whom no one was safe.
- Viewers please be aware there is a lot of content and detailed descriptions of rape and assault that some may find upsetting.
- Gil Carrillo, one of the investigators of the case, has such an interesting interweaving story that he’s easily the leading man.
- There are some incredible testimonies from survivors that have to be seen to be believed.
Night Stalker Verdict:
The Ramirez story is bone-chilling and the team do well to make sure that they don’t victimise, or even particularly prioritise, the serial killer.
In a perfect two fingers to his quest for infamy, Ramirez is relegated to a side character in the story he helped create, with Night Stalker rightly focusing more on the investigation and victims, and how their lives were irrevocably changed.
Harrowing at times, the four-part series could’ve maybe benefitted from being a little tighter or even an episode shorter, but ultimately it gives an interesting look into a vile case.
Over the years, it could be argued that Ramirez has been somewhat romanticised as a rock star, satan-loving killer – but Night Stalker reveals him for what he is, a cold-hearted and sickening villain whose victims ranged from six years old through to people in their eighties.
It’s sure to be another true crime hit for Netflix.
Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer airs January 13 on Netflix.
Credit: Original article published here.