Monday, 5 April 2021

RECENTLY WATCHED TRUE CRIME DOCS

(Photo credit: Netflix)

If I've not been around much lately, it's most likely because I've spent so much free time watching true crime documentaries and getting my money's worth out of Netflix. It's becoming a problem...

After watching so many recently, and casually reminding myself that yes you're an entertainment blogger too, Sam, I had to compile a list of them all to share with you guys, and hopefully prompt some true crime fans to watch one they may not have seen yet. 


THE RIPPER (NETFLIX)

I went into the documentary not knowing an awful lot about The Yorkshire Ripper, of course I’ve heard about the serial killer, but I didn’t know the ins and outs, nor did I really know any of the surface details. What I found out was of course a majority account of what had happened, there were first hand accounts of victims who had managed to escape the jaws of death at the hands of Peter Sutcliffe, badly handled police investigations, and just how Sutcliffe managed to commit such heinous crimes for so long, whilst terrorising the female population in Northern England. 


The four-part limited Netflix series seemed like it was intent on telling the story in an attempt to justify actions from law enforcement, almost as if they should be given a free pass for botching the investigation up from the get-go. In all honesty, it made me angry and it wasn’t what I’d come to expect from a Netflix documentary.


Not recommended 



JONBENET RAMSAY: WHAT REALLY HAPPENED (DISCOVERY+)

The story of beauty pageant child star, JonBenet Ramsay, shook the world in 1995 when the six year old was found murdered in the basement of the Ramsay’s home. Much speculation has taken place in the following 25 years, from the suspish 911 phone call to that 3 page long ransom note - I’m sorry, letter - that have put JonBenet’s parents and one of her brothers under scrutiny and left us all wondering, what really did happen that Christmas night of ’95?


Despite how high-profile this whole case has been, and virtually everyone with an interest in True Crime knows of this piece of history, I was a little hazy on most of it, so as soon as I saw the ad for this documentary, I took out a free trial for Discovery+ so I could learn more about the case and the happenings surrounding the little girls death.


To be quite frank, I wish I hadn’t wasted an hour and a half of my time.


It was a completely biased account of the story, hell-bent on proving the innocence of the Ramsay family (whether you believe that is your own interpretation) and centered around one individual who went against every other law enforcement official, Lou Smit. Maybe I disliked it because I truly do believe the family had a hand in JonBenet’s death, but I want to be able to see it from both sides. I should have known it would pan out that way as soon as John Ramsay appeared on screen for interviews.


To brand it as ‘What Really Happened’ is essentially clickbait of the television world and I don’t care for it one bit.


Not recommended 



THE TRIALS OF GABRIEL FERNANDEZ (NETLIX)

Gabriel Fernandez, a sweet eight year old boy from Palmdale, California, was brutally abused and tortured over a series of months which led to his death in 2013 following a fatal beating for his abusers. Those abusers were his mother and her partner. His. Own. Mother.


From the Netflix ad, I knew this was a documentary that would be thorough and interesting, yet deeply disturbing. An episode in and I was bang on the money, utterly heart wrenching and devastating, and the tears were rolling before the credits were. 


I’m usually okay watching murder documentaries, trials, listening to retellings of heinous crimes, I’m able to separate myself to the situation and remain relatively unaffected (despite the pain and sorrow we inevitable feel), but this documentary really broke me down. 


Over a series of 6 episodes, the story is told of how deeply this young boy was grossly mistreated, not by just by those two individuals who ultimately brought his life to an end, but also by social workers (of which four were put on trial for how horrifically they handled calls and reports of abuse) and other family members who I do believe were within their right to step in. There are accounts from first responders, a security guard at DCFS, the negligent social workers, Los Angeles District Attorney and many more people involved in the story of Gabriel Fernandez, and the series explores the public trials that brought some justice.


I haven’t been that enthralled by a docu-series in a long time, it was incredibly documented and worth investing your time into, just please proceed with caution.


Highly recommended



NIGHT STALKER (NETFLIX)

For those not yet familiar with the Night Stalker, one of the most prolific serial killers/serial rapists from ‘80’s California, this Netflix documentary showcases everything you need to know (of course, all gory details included) in 4 1-hour episodes.


It’s quite sick that I feel this bizarre sense of excitement when a new crime documentary comes out - I know I’m not alone in this and there’s millions of true crime junkies out there that feel the same - and it’s not the acts of the crimes because they’re devastating and I truly wish murder and heinous crimes never happened, but unfortunately we don’t live in a perfect world, and nor will we ever. The thing I find the most interesting about the retelling of tales of these horrific criminals, is what makes them tick, what prompted them to take this path and when did they stop?


Heading into this documentary series (on the third attempt because I kept getting stopped for various reasons) I was intrigued and heavily interested, because Richard Ramirez is basically a household serial killer name, and although I knew the basics about the crimes he’d committed and terror he’d reigned on the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas, there was so much to learn.


The first thing I must say is, although this has a focus on the accounts of what happened during Ramirez’s active 16 months and his victims, the primary focus is on law enforcement’s hunt to catch this taunting killer and their successes and failings along their search. I dare you not to want to applaud Gil Carrillo for his persistence.


Highly recommended



Others recently watched and recommended; 

Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel (Netflix)

The Innocent Man (Netflix)

Murder Among the Mormons (Netflix)

Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich (Netflix)

Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal (Netflix)


S xo

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