‘The Night Stalker’: Lou Diamond Phillips Is Diabolical In Lifetime True-Story Movie Based On Serial Killer Richard Ramirez

The Night Stalker, the gripping new movie based on the true-crime book by Philip Carlo, will come to the Lifetime channel this weekend. Get ready to see a chilling performance by Lou Diamond Phillips as the diabolical “Night Stalker,” aka Richard Ramirez. Lifetime’s The Night Stalker, which is directed and written by Megan Griffiths, will detail the reign of terror heaped upon California in the 1980s with the mysterious deaths of young women by serial killer Richard Ramirez. Then, the movie will pick up with Ramirez’ time serving on death row, where a bold female attorney wants to talk to him about another possible victim.

In addition to Lou Diamond Phillips, the terrifying Sunday night movie stars, Bellamy Young as Kit, Alice Rietveld as Inez, Mark Kelly as Joe, Louis Herthum as Jed, Annalisa Cochrane as Mary, Austin Fryberger as Eric, Jennifer Lafleur as Young Elena, Victoria Cruz as Motel Victim, Zoe McLane as Julia, Eddie Ramos as Ruben, Elester Latham as Charlie, Evan Kishiyama as Youko, Samantha Neyland as Emily, Bernardo Badillo as Roberto, Eddie Martinez as Mike Ramirez, Chelle Sherrill as Young Kit, David A. Garcia as Nightstalker Capturer, Kimberly Jürgen as Doreen/Young Doreen, Benjamin Barrett as Richard Ramirez, Andrew Ruiz as 12-year-old Richard Ramirez, Mattias Ramos as Latino Man, and Tony Hernandez as Victor, as listed at the Internet Movie Database (IMDB).

The Night Stalker Movie Official Description, According To Lifetime

“This thriller tells the story of Kit, an attorney who travels to San Quentin on an impossible mission to clear the name of a death row inmate in Texas — someone she believes has been wrongly accused of murders actually perpetrated by Ramirez. Kit herself lived in Los Angeles during the fear-tinged summer where Ramirez terrified its citizens, and confronting him again dredges up old and frightening memories of her own past. As the days count down to the innocent Texas man’s execution, Kit confronts Ramirez about his unspeakable crimes in search of an elusive confession.”


Richard Ramirez’ Background

Richard Ramirez was almost doomed to have a bad life from the beginning. He was born into what people call a “hardworking Mexican family,” but there was some dysfunction, according to those who knew them. His father would often have outbursts of anger, and at times, he was abusive to Richard Ramirez, whom everyone called, Richie or Ricky. He was also heavily influenced by his older cousin, who often boasted about raping and killing women overseas. The cousin even showed the young Ramirez photos of his victims, including a photo of a woman’s severed head. It is also documented that Richard was present when this same older cousin shot and killed his wife. CNN explains it this way.

“Richard witnessed the murder of Mike’s wife, Jessie, when Mike shot her in the face in his kitchen with a.38 caliber revolver during an argument. Mike was found not guilty for the murder of his wife by reason of insanity and was released after four years of incarceration at the Texas State Mental Hospital in 1977, continuing his influence over Richard.”

For certain, his upbringing had a major impact on his life, and before long, he had dropped out of school and was engaging in illegal activities, which eventually escalated to murder. Richard Ramirez savagely murdered 13 people (later changed to 14), even though it is believed that this number is much higher. Sent to California’s Death Row in 1989, Richard Ramirez died in 2013 from an illness believed to be hepatitis. Philip Carlo’s book, The Night Stalker, is a compelling read for anyone interested in the case. After three years of research, Carlo dug deep to get to the core of what made Richie, “The Night Stalker,” tick. Those who have read the book say they couldn’t put it down. Spine-tingling and graphic, it’s a story that stays with you for days on end.

In the Lifetime movie, Lou Diamond Phillips, is perfectly cast as the adult Richard Ramirez. To prepare for the role, Phillips studied the case and captured the very essence of the serial killer. Ramirez’ stare, his mannerisms, his charisma, and his intensity is delivered precisely by Lou Diamond Phillips throughout the film. A report in the OC Weekly states that a former death row guard who knew Ramirez was impressed by Lou Diamond Phillips’ portrayal.

“They were really impressed by how Lou channels Ramirez. For instance Phillips tapping his fingertips on a table whenever his character lies, something Carrillo noticed while interrogating Ramirez the first time.”

Richard Ramirez’ evil legacy continues, and the public’s fascination about the murders and the serial killer’s disturbing persona, is a testament to that legacy.

Other than The Night Stalker 2016 Movie, there are several other movies that are based on the ‘Night Stalker’ case.

  • 1989 — Hunt For The Night Stalker, aka Manhunt: Search For The Night Stalker
  • 2002 — Nightstalker
  • 2009 — Nightstalker

The Night Stalker 2016 is produced by MRB Productions with music by Matthew Emerson Brown, Jeramy Koepping, and Joshua Morrison. Do not miss this Lifetime premiere event. It’s going down this Sunday, June 12, at 9/8 p.m. Central on Lifetime.

[Photo by John Mabanglo/AP]