The strange saga of Richard Ramirez, the serial killer known as the "Night Stalker," who died Friday, had all the earmarks of a grungy low-budget thriller come to life. With his random, sensationalistic crimes, his startling capture by an angry mob and his notorious legion of admirers, Ramirez's rampage of death and mayhem was a disturbing tale seemingly tailor-made for Hollywood.
There had already been a lineage of slasher and serial killer movies, from
Ramirez, who was ultimately convicted of killing 13 people, has remained a tantalizing target for Hollywood through the years. Though
The movie that perhaps best captured the mood of the times and the anxiety created by Ramirez's crimes was the 1986
As the cult terrorizes the city from its underground lair, the gang sets their sights on a model played by Brigitte Nielson. The film's ever-quotable tagline was "You're the disease, and I'm the cure."
"Cobra" also featured Andrew Robinson as a liberal, rights-minded police official, something of a twist for the actor who played the killer in the original "Dirty Harry" -- itself loosely based on the Zodiac serial killer.
There have of course been many other films tied to true-crime tales, including 1967's "In Cold Blood," based on
The 1983 Charles Bronson film "10 to Midnight" drew from the murders committed by