Brooke Blair & Will Blair
Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer
Maisie Music Publishing, LLC
I became a tiny bit obsessed with the Night Stalker story when I saw a framed, signed picture of Richard Ramirez in a Sydney record shop. It was $1,000 and I was super-keen to own it. A bargain I figured. Just wait for the glut of true-crime docos and float it online – we’ll be rich! Though, more likely, we’d have been haunted by it – felt bad owning it and sold it for something like $65 on TradeMe. So, you know, happy to have never actually thrown down cash on it. But as its eyes followed me around the store I was intrigued. I visited it three or four times that week. A story that only sounds worse when I point out that this was during my honeymoon.
Sorry, potential suitors, I’m still married.
Anyway, the Night Stalker story stayed with me – I still feel the eyes of that photo on me some days.
But the recent Netflix four-part series is a fucking joke. The nadir – in an era of over-cooked but under-delivering true crime podcasts and shows, all of them at least two episodes longer than they need to be and offering nothing but a bit of side-hustle soft-creep porn – and I want no part of this show. Nor any such true crime series’.
But hold up.
Its soundtrack is fucking spectacular! I’ve been listening to this for weeks – I finally finished the show, walking away halfway through then returning to it in a weak moment, figuring an unwatched Netflix cue would only grow. It was easy enough to auto-pilot through it.
But what caught me and held me was the music.
So much so that I’ve been listening to it as part of a steady diet of film score the last month or two. Brothers Booke and Will Blair have made a lot of horror-adjacent TV and film music which places them correctly in the milieu. But this might be their best work to date.
There’s a perfect level of tension in these cues (Tip Toe) and just the right amount of release (Track of the Night Stalker). As with Alexander Taylor’s excellent music for the documentary “Scream, Queen!” – which I’ve been pairing this with – the Blair brothers do such a great job of evoking the 1980s setting without resorting to cliché.
I bang on about loving film music – and I really do, I’m obsessed – but some scores do not work out on their own away from the images the music was created for. Not the case here. I reckon this Night Stalker soundtrack stands up on its own. Which is just as well because I didn’t really want any lasting reminder of the gutless and voyeuristic feel of the doco mini-series.
So I just listen to this music as its own thing entirely – great instrumental music that sits in the background for me when reading or working or zoning out. Music I’ve used in the car, music I’ve carried with me on walks around town. Music that now lives on away from the overly long TV shitshow it was made for. Music that also helped its very best to carry that show somewhere.