Worshiper of the devil, he engraves pentacles on the walls and orders his victims to turn to Satan. Details like these, the documentary is full of them thanks to excellent investigative work, archival footage and news clips. The series plunges viewers into the hidden side of Los Angeles, a schizophrenic city, which harbors both glamor and horror. Composed of 4 chapters, The Nightstalker retraces the whole affair told, among others, by detectives Frank Salerno and Gil Carrillo of the criminal brigade. If the point of view of the two men constitutes the common thread of the episodes, other fascinating testimonies come to flesh out the facts.
Journalists recall the media treatment of the time, while survivors share their memories and trauma. Realized by Tiller Russell, the program portrays Richard Ramirez without ever showing it during the first 3 episodes. Yet the confessions of his victims and his voice, recorded on cassettes, are enough to impose his presence and a feeling of terror. “We never met such a person in the history of crime“, certifies Gil Carrillo.
The rhythmic and electric editing transforms the documentary into a real thriller that can be devoured in the blink of an eye. Always in search of a total immersion, certain sequences recreate the scenes of crime in digital effects. The realism is stunning, even if it means creating an uneasy effect. Very dark, the series sometimes falls into sensationalism. A more humane treatment, in particular with regard to the victims, could have given more depth to the investigation, like the excellent The Keepers. The Nightstalker nonetheless remains a complete and interesting document for the curious and amateurs of the genre.