The Real Story Behind the Night Stalker Killer in ‘MaXXXine’

This week, “MaXXXine” rounds out the “X” trilogy, introducing a new mystery killer to the horror film franchise.

In the final film, aspiring movie star Maxine Minx (Mia Goth) runs around Hollywood after surviving a massacre six years prior in the first film, 2022’s “X.” She’s joined by Kevin Bacon, Giancarlo Esposito, Elizabeth Debicki, Moses Sumney, Lily Collins, Halsey, Michelle Monaghan and Bobby Cannavale in the end to the trilogy.

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But, as the former adult film star explores 1980s Los Angeles, people around her start popping up dead left and right.

The culprit? According to the news outlets in the horror flick, it’s the Night Stalker. And while he’s not mentioned by given name in the film, here’s the story of the real life serial killer.

Who was the real Night Stalker?

Richard Ramirez, dubbed the Night Stalker by the media, was a serial killer, rapist and burglar who murdered at least 13 people in California in 1984 and 1985, the year “MaXXXine” is set in. Some outlets also called him the Walk-In Killer or the Valley Intruder.

Ramirez grew up in El Paso, Texas in an abusive household and was later influenced by his older cousin, a Vietnam War veteran who committed multiple war crimes in Vietnam. He showed Ramirez graphic Polaroid photos of women he had killed, which Ramirez later said fascinated him rather striking fear within him.

Ramirez started to use drugs and alcohol at a young age, and witnessed the same cousin shoot and kill his wife. He dropped out of high school around the same time.

After moving to Los Angeles in 1982, he began abusing drugs and committing crimes including theft and burglary. He committed his first known murder in June 1984, although in 2009 his DNA was found and linked to an earlier murder in San Francisco that he was never charged for.

Most of his crimes occurred in and Los Angeles and its suburbs, where he broke into homes and sexually assaulted and killed multiple women. Satanic symbols, most notably the pentagram, were often found at the crime scenes of his murders.

Ramirez’s string of crimes came just a few years after another brutal string of murders had L.A.on edge in 1977 and 1978. The Hillside Strangler, later found out to be two people — cousins Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono Jr. — killed 10 women and girls within the five-month period, and the murderers left many of their victim’s bodies in the hills surrounding the city.

How was he caught?

Ramirez broke into the Mission Viego home of Inez Erickson and Bill Carns, both of who survived the attack. Erickson later gave a detailed description of Ramirez, and police found a car he had used in the robbery. They found a single fingerprint on the car, and released a mugshot of him on Aug. 29, 1985.

Two days later, Ramirez returned to L.A. from a trip he had taken to Arizona. He walked into a convenience store in East L.A., where he saw a picture of himself in a newspaper and fled. He tried to escape, but was chased down by multiple Boyle Heights residents after trying to steal a car. They beat him severely, and police later arrived and took Ramirez into custody.

How was he prosecuted?

After being arrested, Ramirez continued to reference his Satanism throughout his proceedings. He was convicted in September 1989 of 13 murders, among other crimes, and never showed remorse. He was then sentenced to death. After spending numerous years on death row at San Quentin State Prison, he died in 2013 from cancer.

What is his connection to ‘MaXXXine’?

Although Ramirez is never mentioned by his real name in the film, mysterious murders and Satanic symbols at the scene of the crimes are ever-present.

“MaXXXine” trailers name the Night Stalker as an imminent threat to L.A., with newscasters stating that the killer is terrorizing the city.

An unknown figure seems to be haunting Maxine throughout her rise to Hollywood stardom, but is it the true Night Stalker? Only time will tell.

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