Los Angeles

‘The Night Stalker' Movie to Premiere in Santa Ana Near Serial Killer's Last Crime

Richard Ramirez, infamously dubbed "The Night Stalker," was known to Californians as the satanic serial killer, rapist and burglar whose crimes occurred all across the greater Los Angeles area from April 1984 to August 1985.

The newest film about the serial killer, directed and written by Megan Griffiths, is making its way back home to Southern California. Matt Brady, one of the producers, said the film had to be premiered in Southern California, where people remember the crimes of The Night Stalker the most.

"They instantly have a visceral reaction," he said. "People get goose bumps. Some shake. This was California's boogey man. They remember the hottest summer, the terror and randomness of this man's killing spree."

The film, starring Lou Diamond Phillips in the title role, is set to premiere early June at The Frida Cinema in downtown Santa Ana, about 20 miles from the neighborhood in Mission Viejo where Ramirez committed his last crime before his arrest.

Ramirez, who was convicted of 13 murders, 11 sexual assaults, alongside charges of burglary, was dubbed by the news media as "The Night Stalker" because he invaded people's homes and attacked them. He often made his victims swear to Satan and used a variety of weapons to kill them.

Everyone who lived during that time has their own Night Stalker memories, Brady said. Griffiths was 10 years old and living in Southern California during the crime spree.

On Aug. 24, 1985, Ramirez was spotted by a teenager in a Mission Viejo neighborhood, where, Ramirez hours later broke into resident Bill Carns' home. He raped Carns' girlfriend and shot Carns three times in the head.

Six days later, while attempting to steal a car, Ramirez was chased by an angry mob in East Los Angeles and was pinned down and taken into police custody. Brady said the arrest scene was filmed on the same street where Ramirez was captured, and the people who captured him were the extras.

The film, which also stars Bellamy Young of "Scandal," will portray a fictionalized story of an attorney who tries to convince a dying Ramirez to confess to an early crime to save another man from death row.

The exact date of the premiere has yet to be determined.

The film's box office receipts will be donated to the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Brady said.

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