- Directed by Joshua Zeman
- May 5, 2021
This documentary series chronicles investigative reporter Maury Terry and his quest to uncover what he believes to be the truth behind the Son of Sam killings.
Sons of Sam is one hell of a rabbit hole to go down. I stumbled across this one Sunday afternoon on Netflix while with my girlfriend. To be honest I am not particularly thrilled about the movie selections on most streaming services so I tend to gravitate towards true crime or historical documentaries on subjects I am familiar with. This one came up as a suggestion (on her account) so I said, “Why not?” Love you, Michele.
This documentary series is based on the work of Maury Terry. Terry is best-and probably only-known for his book The Ultimate Evil which chronicled his theories on the Son of Sam killings (originally referred to as the “.44 Caliber Killer”). And in the end, I think there is enough of a case for someone to say “Maybe.”
Terry did not believe David Berkowitz acted alone. As this documentary series shows Terry came to believe that Berkowitz was part of a Satanic cult called The Children and that Berkowitz was one of several killers involved. That seems possible enough given the multiple descriptions of a possible shooter given by witnesses at the time. That little bit of information also helps to make the ever-growing and ever more convoluted conspiracy that is laid out go down a little easier in the mind of the viewer.
Early on Terry began to see connections everywhere from one coast to another. This cult was everywhere and in everything. What he laid out would put any conspiracy theory crafted by George Noory and any guest on Coast to Coast AM to shame. The goal of this Satanic murder cult per Terry was to simply create chaos. They had members everywhere killing regularly according to him.
This series is also a bit of a portrait of Maury Terry. In the background of this documentary you can see how his quest became an all-consuming passion. It became his life. It became his reason for existence and at points they make you feel a little sad for the guy. It is because of it being all-consuming that you feel bad that he never got proven right even though he believed it in his heart of hearts. Undeniable proof seemed so close to him if only he could get a little more support or authorities to take a look at something.
In Sons of Sam, they interview friends and family and people he encountered along the way. The interesting thing is that Terry seems to have made friends with most if not all the people that he encountered. There are a handful that have little if anything good to say about him and they tend to be individuals that worked on the case. However, those that at the minimum had similar thinking about the case liked him and perhaps even respected him. Some believed he was on to something while others believing there was more themselves thought he was a loon.
His passion though is evident and truthfully I found myself by the end a little envious that I have never been that passionate about something. But you also feel bad for this man whose biggest flaw was not being able to take a step back and give himself something other than his passion for this pursuit. It became his life.
They include a little addendum at the end where they talk about how he helped people though how exactly he helped them is not clear. Was it because he listened to them on their thoughts about the Son of Sam killings? Or did he help them in some other way after he encountered them on his own quest?
During the course of the series they discuss a case involving a woman named Arlis Perry. Her death was rather disturbing to say the least. I will not go into the details here but Terry was convinced that this killing was somehow linked to the vast conspiracy he saw connected to the Son of Sam and he suspected a security guard was behind at all. Turns out in 2017 he was proven right, and it leaves you wondering if he might have been right about other things.
This series works because of the conspiracy theory aspect. We as a species have trouble believing that one person will do terrible things because they are a terrible person. It is easier for us to believe that it is some kind of plot. One person in our minds cannot be that evil but all too often one person is
This will pull you in and not let you go. It is very binge worthy. With the dramatic voiceover of Paul Giamatti as Maury Terry you feel as if you are getting to know him and taking part in his multiyear journey.
Sons of Sam is an interesting documentary series that is probably closer in reality to Ancient Aliens than it is to something more reality based. That does not make it any less entertaining or less engrossing. You will watch this and come away thinking maybe-even just a little-that possibly he was right.