‘Last Call: When a Serial Killer Stalked Queer New York’ Review: Death, Prejudice, and Hate in New York City

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Since forever, it seems like the gay community has been the object of persecution in one way or another. So, it is nothing surprising when we refer to cases of hate crimes against this community that go back four decades. Even in 2023, the gay community is still the target of hate crimes. The entire LGBTQ+ community has a lot on their plate, between fighting for their rights and also trying to survive the hostile environments that exist in our current society. Last Call: When a Series Killer Stalked Queer New York is a new documentary series released on HBO Max, and it brings a ton of information on one of the most brutal cases of violence against the gay community.

Last Call: When a Series Killer Stalked Queer New York is a documentary series directed by Anthony Caronna, a filmmaker who has mostly concentrated his efforts on creating visualization for the gay community in recent years.

However, with this documentary series, the director has gone far and beyond in putting forward one of the darkest aspects of being gay. The documentary series will contain episodes that are spread out throughout the month of July.

The documentary series focuses on several murder cases that seem to be connected when the police identify a modus operandi. Thus making it clear they had a serial killer in their hands.

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Last Call: When a Series Killer Stalked Queer New York is a classic crime documentary series. We are told some facts about the crimes and given the proper historical context to understand the climate when these crimes were committed.

This is very important and needs to be set up pretty well because these are not random attacks on human beings but attacks aimed at a specific target, which in this case is the gay community inhabiting the state of New York. As the documentary series progresses, we get an actual clash of interests, between treating these cases as just some other murder or starting to treat them as something that goes beyond detective work.

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This clash seems to be very important for the core of the show. We are told, with many examples, that the NYPD never really treated the murders as more than simple murders, especially at the beginning.

This originates from a common disregard for the gay community and its needs. While not every instance of incompetence can or should be linked to malice, instead of just incompetence, the documentary also shows how, during the time of the crimes, it was definitely not the right place or moment to come to light as a homosexual person. In fact, it was the opposite, putting a target on your back for multiple reasons.

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The cases themselves are quite brutal. Each of the murders is explained in detail, and we get background information on the victims and how they lived. Seeing the victims’ situation before they were killed puts many things into perspective, which is quite interesting. The cases themselves and how the information is delivered align with what every crime documentary does.

There is nothing new here regarding these aspects of the filmmaking process. The perspective is also not unique. At this point, there exists a lot of content out there with the LGBTQ+ perspective in front of it. It is all very interesting and intriguing, however.

The documentary also uses the same format as countless other documentary series. We get many interviews with experts and the people involved in the cases, and their perspectives are all very useful in painting the entire picture.

There were and still are many factions when it comes to investigating these cases. So seeing the different perspectives makes everything feel much more real and close to reality, and thus to the viewer, who will probably feel identified with any of the perspectives presented here. It is hard to put prejudice aside and see things with fresh eyes.

Thankfully, the documentary really leaves a lot of things in the clear. Especially when it comes to the gay experience during the murders, it is baffling that while some things have really changed in the past decades, there is still a lot of hate and prejudice against these communities at the core of our society.

These issues might never disappear from our reality, but we can be sure to make them known so they can be avoided. Education is the weapon against this type of situation, so the documentary does a good job.

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Last Call: When a Series Killer Stalked Queer New York might not be the most entertaining or unique crime documentary series, but it is effective at what it is trying to do. The case approaches are brutal and not for the faint of heart. In general, this is a very solid view of how darkness can act against our own interests.

The filmmaking is solid, and the different perspectives on the murders and their events are appreciated. This is an important documentary series that should be watched if you are interested in the subject.

SCORE: 7/10

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