Turning to scary stuff of the more real variety, today’s Halloween week review looks at I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, a recent miniseries from HBO (available on Sky/NowTV in the UK).
This series looks at true crime writer, Michelle McNamara and her obsession with a violent criminal known over time as the East Area Rapist, the Original Night Stalker and the Golden State Killer.
It’s told through the eyes of the associates she worked with, law enforcement, friends, family, survivors and her husband, comedian, Patton Oswalt and also through snippets from her own diaries and notes.
In one way it’s a story of the horrific crimes committed by a violent and twisted criminal who committed at least 13 murders, 50 rapes, and 120 burglaries over 40 years. In another way its a story of his victims, in particular those who survived his brutal attacks, and their search for justice. In yet another way it’s about all women and the perception of rape, blame and the lack of understanding of the devastating impact sexual violence has on a person and those around them.
Most of all its about one woman’s desire to follow her passion while overcoming her own fears of inadequacy as well as some past disturbing experiences. That and the grief of a loving family struggling to come to terms with her absence.
I found this documentary gripping, chilling and absolutely heartbreaking. Oswalt’s love for his wife and his belief in her is absolutely beautiful to watch. McNamara’s willingness to be vulnerable gives such an insight into her as a person and her dogged determination is both admirable and worrying making you wonder if ones art always comes at a price. I also had no idea that there are so many informal crime “investigators” out there and how much of an impact they are making on cases. I wonder if without McNamara and her co-investigators the Golden State Killer case would ever have been closed.
If you enjoy true crime documentaries this is one if the best I have seen and its made me want to read McNamara’s book. I would highly recommend it to any murderinos out there but it definitely has appeal if you’re just after a really good story.