Many viewers of the new Netflix true crime documentary Night Stalker about serial killer Richard Ramirez think the series goes too far with the gore and the exploitation of Ramirez’s many victims.
The four-part series was bound to involve a good deal of graphic images simply based on the subject matter. Ramirez was eventually convicted of 13 counts of murder, five counts of attempted murder, 11 counts of sexual assault, and 14 counts of burglary. His victims ranged from young children to octogenarians. He attacked them with everything but the kitchen sink, using guns, knives, garrotes, a machete, a tire iron, a hammer, and his own hands.
Ramirez, who claimed to be a Satanist, was absolutely brutal in his attacks and in the end was sentenced to 19 death sentences.
However, the new Netflix documentary, while riveting (I have watched it) does seem to revel in showing crime scene photos of Ramirez’s victims with a the bare minumum of censorship – something that many viewers believes goes too far and shows little sympathy for the deceased.
Watching the new Netflix Night Stalker series. No need for them to include the victim crime scene photos, and slo-mo blood splatter shots, it's not necessary.
— Danielle Voss (@DanVoss) January 13, 2021
I agree. People like seeing gore, and others will cater to that. But at a point, ethics must prevail over the desire for viewers/money in the decisions of entertainment makers. There are, no doubt, other killers who could get "turned on" by watching.— Nehmo Sergheyev (@Nehmo) January 14, 2021
We started watching the Night Stalker show and I feel like it’s SOOOO exploitative. The amount they use the crime scene photos is frankly, gross. So focused on being stylized— jazz 🍔 (@sleeper9) January 15, 2021
Currently watching night stalker documentary and I’ve never felt so scared .... and also how could this documentary have families of victims talk so loving and highly of the victims and them BOOM show pics of the real crime scene photos?!— jordiXXX 🦂 (@shedesires_sin) January 15, 2021
the night stalker doc is pretty problematic tbh. it luridly recycles crime scene photos of victims like it's the opening credits to a david fincher movie rather than real life. it's a shame as the reporting is really good, but i guess those true crime cliches need to be followed— thomas hobbs (@thobbsjourno) January 14, 2021
Netflix's NIGHT STALKER: THE HUNT FOR A SERIAL KILLER is a well-made retelling of a scary summer in LA. But unlike most prestige true-crime, it's un-critical of law enforcement. It also gleefully displays horrific crime scene images on screen.
My Review: https://t.co/bSW8ac0vPh
— eric anders (@MrEAnders) January 12, 2021
They’re not wrong. However, it’s not terribly surprising given the nature of Ramirez’s crimes.
In an interview (below) discussing the making of the documentary series, director Tiller Russell discussed how he tried to not glorify Richard Ramirez or his crimes.
Interestingly, one way in which Russell says they tried to not celebritize Ramirez was by not even saying his name until the police discover his identity.
[Possible spoilers below. Perfect to watch after you’ve gotten through the entire four-part series.]