As the city was gripped by growing fear, police embarked on what was then one of the biggest manhunts in the city’s history. Eventually, they arrested David Berkowitz, a young man living in Yonkers who greeted law enforcement by saying, “Well, you got me.” He would go on to confess to all of the shootings and claim that “Sam” was a spirit who spoke to him through a black Labrador that belonged to his neighbor, who, it should be noted, was also named Sam.
However, a new Netflix docuseries, which is largely based on the writings of the late crime journalist Maury Terry, looks into the theory that Berkowitz likely didn’t act alone — and that he was actually part of a wide-spreading Satanic cult.
It sounds outlandish enough that “The Sons of Sam: A Descent into Darkness” director Joshua Zeman said that, at first, he thought that it was just nonsense.
“Of course I didn’t believe it,” Zeman told Salon in a recent interview. “Not in the least. I thought it was all Satanic panic.”
However, the more Zeman started digging into Terry’s work, including his book about Berkowitz called “The Ultimate Evil,” the more plausible it became. “And honestly, it scared the s**t out of me.”
However, while some law enforcement officials agreed with Terry, and pointed to evidence that there had potentially been different shooters during some of the attacks, many just wanted the case to be closed. Amid the tension, Terry’s reputation — and ultimately, his sanity — was under attack.
Zeman spoke with Salon about the making of the four-part docuseries, how the Son of Sam murders changed the face of tabloid journalism, and how Maury Terry made a “deal with the devil” in his reporting,
There are several main throughlines in “The Sons of Sam”