- Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer -Netflix's 'Night Stalker' Trailer Teases The Chilling Story Of Richard Ramirez
Look, I'm no true crime novice. I watched Making a Murderer and Unsolved Mysteries, I know what goes bump in the night. So when I tell you that the trailer for Netflix's Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial Killer scared me to my core, I'm telling you the truth.
Netflix's newest true crime docuseries follows the terrifying tale of Richard Ramirez, a man who terrorized the L.A. area, starting in 1984 and culminating in a summer of brutality in 1985. A jury would later determine that, in that time, he committed at least 13 murders, 11 sexual assaults, and 14 burglaries, among other offenses. He has since been declared one of the most notorious American serial killers. He was even immortalized by Ryan Murphy in American Horror Story: 1984, which included a plot line revolving around a fictionalized version of Ramirez.
Watching the trailer, it's not surprising. Ramirez's unpredictability — his victims ranged in age, sex, and ethnicity, and his weapon of choice also changed frequently, making his M.O. difficult to track. He was such a menacing presence in Southern California that Night Stalker director Tiller Russell believes he permanently changed architecture. "Everybody kept their windows open and he was crawling in windows," Russell told People. "So to this day in L.A., when you drive around, that's why there are bars on the windows." (Have fun double checking your window locks tonight, kids!)
Night Stalker will follow the investigation into the killings and Ramirez's eventual capture, with the help of testimonials and interviews with various law enforcement officials who worked the case, as well as a few survivors. "He stared at me like a killer clown," says one survivor in the trailer. "It's the only time in my entire life that I slept with a gun," confesses Frank Salerno, who led the Night Stalker task Force in the LA Sheriff's Department. (Ramirez himself will not be making an appearance. He died in 2013 from lymphoma at the age of 53, still on death row.)
Fans of true crime can expect the usual mix of interviews, old original footage, and stylized reenactments — think more I'll Be Gone In The Dark and less Making A Murderer. Putting a more creative spin on reenactments is sometimes risky — it can feel a little too fake and out of place in what is supposed to be a documentary — but Russell said that he wanted Night Stalker to be a definitive telling of Ramirez's crimes. And part of that meant creating a menacing atmosphere through re-enactments and certain creative touches, like the moth drowning in a puddle in the trailer. "We wanted to make it as present tens as possible so that it's unfolding in a way where you're able to ... evoke the moment-to-moment horrors and chills that people were experiencing," the director told People.
All four episodes of Night Stalker will premiere on Jan. 13. In the meantime, if you need me, I'll be installing bars on all my windows.
Image: Courtesy of Netflix