The four-episode series centers on Richard Ramirez, the serial killer who terrorized Los Angeles and San Francisco in the 1980s. Ramirez didn’t have a certain “type” of target; he murdered young people, old people, women, men, and across races. He also sexually assaulted women and children. He was a monster; there’s no other way to describe him.
Netflix goes into detail about Ramirez’s crimes, sharing testimonials from survivors and their families, as well as photos from the actual crime scenes. The images are disturbing, and many are presented in dramatic slow motion. BuzzFeed calls the series a “gory mess.” Others on Twitter are using different words.
“Maybe, yes, Netflix went too far in filming Night Stalker,” one person tweeted. Someone else added, “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.”
“Not sure if I can get through all of #NightStalker on Netflix. This is tough viewing,” a third person wrote.
Some, however, are defending the show’s intense approach. “Ramirez was glorified by groupies and ‘fans’ for a long time,” one person said. “Showing what he did—literally—as well as detailing the more horrendous things are necessary to show that he is not someone to be revered but is a monster.”
According to Today, The Night Stalker has a TV-MA rating for “nudity, sexual violence, language, and smoking.” That being said, the episodes don’t start with warnings about graphic content, and perhaps they should. Maybe the criticism wouldn’t be as sharp.
All four episodes of The Night Stalker are now streaming on Netflix. Consider this your warning to tread carefully.