There’s a meme doing the rounds about how the Great British public have become serial killer documentary dependent during the Covid-19 pandemic and casting my mind back across everything we have watched, it’s scarily accurate.
However, the Night Stalker has left a lot of what else is available on Netflix and Prime behind in scorched Earth by deconstructing the story of an evil mind who would find a place alongside Ted Bundy and Charles Manson in the Devil’s Hall of Fame.
The frantic nature of the way this story is presented accurately reflects the real life disorganised scramble facing California and San Francisco Police Departments as they raced to stop a heinous murderer. Amidst the chaos are two pragmatic, organised and innovative police detectives – veteran Frank Selerno famous for catching the ‘Hillside Stranger’ and Gill Carillo, a green but ambitious former beat cop- who team up to unpick each crime and battle with incompetence, miscommunication and institutional arrogance while the perpetrator’s atrocities accelerate. The show is richer for both now retired officers contributions as they accurately recall unfolding events in scary detail.
Moreover, another advantage Night Stalker holds over it’s rivals is the amount of victims and affected families that come forward to share experiences, even if at times this can lead to some uncomfortable scenes.
The show highlights that the media have a lot to answer for as their unhelpful involvement across the timeline undoubtedly cost many more lives. It is jaw dropping that a few of the journalists responsible for sabotaging the case actually fronted up to defend their meddling and hearing from them will have undoubtedly upset those who continue to suffer.
Well done to the producers who managed to blend a documentary with the horror genre. Well worth your time.
Viewed: January 2021