HBO’s Last Call tells chilling true story of serial killer who targeted gay men in New York

HBO Max to release new docuseries Last Call_ When a Serial Killer Stalked Queer New York.

A brand new HBO Max docuseries, Last Call, is set to explore how 1990s serial killer Richard Rogers targeted New York City’s gay community and evaded a corrupt criminal justice system.

The ever-expanding true crime genre is showing no signs of slowing down. Ryan Murphy’s 2022 Netflix series Dahmerwhich saw backlash from victims’ families for its portrayal of gay serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer – shone a spotlight on the decades-old institutionalised homophobia within the United States police force.

Now, HBO Max are following suit with a four-part docuseries, Last Call: When a Serial Killer Stalked Queer New York, which was teased in a brand new trailer that dropped on Wednesday (28 June).

Directed by Anthony Caronna (Pride), Last Call is based on Elon Green’s 2021 book Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York, which won the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime for its “harrowing” account of the decade-long chase to bring Rogers to justice.

Dubbed ‘The Last Call killer’ in the media, surgical Rogers murdered and dismembered at least two gay and bisexual men between 1992 and 1993 after meeting them at Manhattan piano bars late at night.

He was convicted of to counts of first degree murders in 2001, and is suspected of carrying out other murders.

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The official synopsis for Last Call reads: “In the early 1990s, with homophobia and hate crimes on the rise as the AIDS crisis worsens, a serial killer preys upon gay men in New York City, infiltrating queer nightlife to find his victims.”

The “gripping” documentary also tackles “prejudices and attitudes of the times, when deep-rooted biases in the criminal justice system and the media’s distorted public perception of the victims undermined the investigation and enabled a brutal killer to prey on a marginalised populace.”

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It continues: “The complexities of the closet combined with a long-standing mistrust of law enforcement further complicated the case. It also highlights the heroic efforts of activists, including the NYC Anti-Violence Project, to force law enforcement to recognise and protect the queer community.”

The latest two-minute trailer delves into testimony from the friends and family of victims, raw reflections from LGBTQ+ members who lived in fear during the time and the endless struggle for justice in the face of countless structural barriers.

“Queer bars were one of the few places where we could come and feel safe … and then, all the sudden, everything was taken away,” said one person says in the trailer.

“At this time we wouldn’t put it past the police to kill us,” another added.

Last Call is executive produced by two-time academy-award nominee Howard Gertler and actor Charlize Theron, among others.

Last Call: When a Serial Killer Stalked Queer New York premieres on HBO Max on 9 July, 2023.

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