Home Entertainment Every Horror Movie Reference in Ti West’s MaXXXine

Every Horror Movie Reference in Ti West’s MaXXXine


The 1985 Los Angeles of “MaXXXine” is not the same ’80s California as the one seen in “E.T.” or “The Karate Kid.” Given how Maxine Minx (Goth) finds herself shooting a horror movie while attempting to evade the attentions of a mysterious, vicious serial killer, “MaXXXine” belongs to the proudly disreputable tradition of LA Sleaze. 

The West Coast sister to NYC Sleaze, two of LA Sleaze’s finest are Gary Sherman’s “Vice Squad” from 1982 (which West has name-dropped as one of his influences for “MaXXXine”), and 1984’s “Angel,” directed by Robert Vincent O’Neil. Both of those films, like “MaXXXine,” focus on the street- and night-life of Hollywood, a twilight world where sex workers, cops, and other hunters and prey are stalked by deviant maniacs. A little later in the decade, Katt Shea’s “Stripped to Kill” continued this tradition with aplomb, and, like “MaXXXine,” explored the dynamic between female sexual liberation and making oneself an unwitting target.

Adding some exploitation-style reality to the mix, “MaXXXine” uses a real-life serial killer of the period, Richard Ramirez aka The Night Stalker, as a red herring for its own fictional killer. Although Ramirez only operated between April ’84 to August ’85, there were several films in the late ’70s and early ’80s that were shot and set in California which were heavily inspired by other real-life serial killers. These films, such as “Killer’s Delight,” “The Toolbox Murders” (both 1978), 1980’s “Don’t Answer the Phone” and 1983’s “10 to Midnight” all use their true crime elements to salacious, exploitative — dare I say sleazy — ends.

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