MaXXXine and the Night Stalker — theories and true story

Trudie Graham
Mia Goth as Maxine in the MaXXXine trailer.

The MaXXXine trailer was full of horror homages, but the Night Stalker references stood out. Here’s the true story and theories about how the movie could twist the real events.

MaXXXine‘s trailer confirmed reports it would be a whodunit slasher movie, but nobody suspected it would use a real and tragic part of Hollywood’s history as a backdrop to the story.

If the “Night Stalker” chatter in the trailer caught your attention, it’s because that mantle isn’t fictional.

The horror movie has taken a big swing by including an infamous Los Angeles serial killer, but there might be more to it than meets the eye.

MaXXXine Night Stalker explained

MaXXXine’s trailer references the real-life serial killer the Night Stalker (Richard Ramirez). He was active in Los Angeles in 1985, which is when the movie is set.

The MaXXXine trailer shows news clips of anchors reporting on the rise of a new serial killer, who the media nicknamed the Night Stalker.

In reality, the Night Stalker was active from 1984 to 1985 and murdered at least 13 people. His name was Richard Ramirez, and he’s one of the most infamous serial killers in history.

The choice to use his crimes as the backdrop is bold, as Ramirez was particularly well-known for his extreme cruelty, and therefore anything surrounding it is a rightfully touchy subject.

However, Ti West might subvert our expectations in the finale of his X trilogy.

MaXXXine Night Stalker theories

MaXXXine could be setting up Maxine as the movie’s Night Stalker, subverting the true story.

If we know anything about Maxine, it’s that she’s going to do whatever it takes for that Hollywood star.

She plainly says in the trailer that she won’t let anyone or anything get in her way. She’s not a horror movie scream queen to mess with.

As she lunges towards fame and fortune, starlets are slain around her. This is the first detour from the true story — the Night Stalker didn’t target up-and-coming actresses.

It’s also worth noting that one of Ramirez’s victims was called Maxine (full name Maxine Zazzara) in real life.

Hopefully, that’s purely a coincidence because using someone’s death like that would be insensitive.

A screenshot from the MaXXXine trailer: a news anchor shows a police sketch of The Night Stalker.

Another important detail is how the trailer avoids a face reveal for the killer, we only see gloved hands.

Additionally, if someone has been cast as the Night Stalker, it has been kept under wraps; there’s no mention of an actor in that role in any of the film’s production notes.

Multiple routes are possible here. Maxine herself could be the film’s fictional Night Stalker, who is hunting down her competition.

Or, Maxine could be using the ongoing murders in Hollywood to do some killing of her own, hoping the crimes will be wrongly lumped in with the Night Stalker’s.

Is the Night Stalker targeting Maxine?

It’s possible Maxine is an ‘innocent’ victim… we do see her bound in the trailer, so someone is trying to hurt her.

Mia Goth as Maxine in MaXXXine.
Maxine could be the hero or villain.

Could an obsessed fan be clearing her path to fame? Is she going to be the final girl and eventually slay the killer herself?

We’re curious how this will all shakeout.

Until then, here are the other 2024 horror movies to get excited about, and if you’re interested in new documentaries and true crime, we also have a list of the best serial killer documentaries.

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About The Author

Trudie is a TV and Movies Evergreen Writer at Dexerto. She has years of experience in entertainment journalism, with bylines at The Digital Fix, Collider, PCGamesN, Zavvi, and more. She likes the weird and the wonderful more than anything, especially if it's sci-fi or fantasy.