Netflix’s most recent true crime docuseries Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer shocked even some avid fanatics of the genre for its graphic depiction of the horrific crimes of serial killer and rapist Richard Ramirez.
The series’ four 40-minute episodes, directed by Tiller Russell, features interviews by detectives who investigated Ramirez’s case, reporters and survivors, including Anastasia Hronas, who was six years old when Ramirez abducted her from her home in 1985.
Ramirez’s reign of terror began in the mid-‘80s in the neighborhoods of Los Angeles and San Francisco, where he went on a spree of murders and rapes—grisly crimes that he was unremorseful for. He brutally attacked random victims—men, women, and children—who were aged six to 83 from different communities and killed them with a wide range of weapons.
The news media coined Ramirez’s moniker “Night Stalker,” as he did most of his crimes at night. He is also known for leaving satanic symbols where he killed his victims.
The series showed gory reenactments and victim crime scene photos, unsettling scenes that some viewers questioned if it’s necessary to include. With this, other viewers think the show went too far and called it “tough viewing.”
“I hope the makers of the Night Stalker documentary got permission from the victims’ families to have such lingering shots of graphic crime scenes,” a viewer tweeted.
One viewer said in a tweet how it made him uneasy after watching the series. “Documentaries are never graphic and I feel like (Night Stalker) don’t really make you understand what this person did. But the Night Stalker documentary made me feel so uneasy. It was graphic and just straight facts about the terror he brought to California.”
Some found it “extremely dark and twisted” and acknowledged its graphic nature but admitted that they could not stop watching it.
“Night Stalker is one of those docs I’m going to think about for days. I recommend watching, but it is very graphic, detailed, and violent. Thinking about his surviving victims, and the adults walking this earth who endured his horrors as children,” a viewer said.
The story of Ramirez’s unspeakable crimes had been retold numerous times, including in the series American Horror Story.
It was believed that at the time when Ramirez was terrorizing neighborhoods in Los Angeles, he lived in the infamous Cecil Hotel, which was shrouded by a long, dark history, including the mysterious death of Canadian student Elisa Lam, whose documentary is set to be released soon by Netflix.
As despicable as he was, Ramirez had scores of “groupies” who visited him in prison, one of which he eventually married. Ramirez received numerous love letters and marriage proposals since he had been convicted of 13 counts of murder and 11 counts of sexual assault.
After 23 years on death row in San Quentin Prison, Ramirez died in 2013, at 53 years old, due to complications related to B-cell lymphoma.
Images from Netflix