The biggest news in the wide world of creepy things this week is that after 25 years the mysterious disappearance of a freshman Cal Poly student is very close to being officially solved. On Tuesday, a 44-year-old man named Paul Flores was arrested and charged with the murder of Kristin Smart. In 1996 it’s alleged that Paul interrupted two friends bringing a drunk Kristin back to her dorm and instead brought her to his own nearby dorm where she was killed during a sexual assault. Both Paul and Kristin were 19-years-old at the time. Paul’s 80-year-old father, Ruben, was also arrested and charged with accessory to murder.
Police specifically thanked the 8-part true crime podcast Your Own Backyard for the work they did investigating Kristin’s disappearance. Police said that the podcast unearthed new witnesses that police were then able to interview leading to additional interviews, new search warrants being issued, and eventually police being allowed to read text messages between Paul Flores and his parents which culminated in the arrest of Paul and his father. This isn’t the first time a true crime podcast has solved a cold case.
If you’re like me and love to immerse yourself in a story, here’s a few other places you can watch or listen to Kristin Smart’s story and the case as it was before this week’s developments:
- Your Own Backyard (8-part podcast dedicated to Kristin Smart)
- 48 Hours (Season 33, episode 16)
- If you don’t have CBS or Paramount+, you can listen to the audio of the 48 Hours here.
- True Crime Storytime
- Crime Stories with Nancy Grace
- Bailey Sarian on Kristin Smart
If you’re more in the mood for fictional scares, here’s the best horror movies streaming this weekend:
Best of Netflix
Crimson Peak (2015). New on Netflix on Friday, this is Guillermo del Toro’s gothic horror movie about star-crossed lovers. American Edith marries Thomas against the wishes of her family and runs away with him to England. At his definitely haunted countryside castle, she begins to regret her decision. To be honest, this movie is so visually beautiful I don’t even care about the plot.
Why Did You Kill Me?. Also new on Netflix, this docuseries follows the family of Crystal Theobald, a 24-year-old mother of two who was mistakenly executed by a gang in Riverside, CA in 2006. Crystal’s family wanted answers about why the mom was was murdered. They created fake social media accounts and began catfishing gang members.
The Conjuring 2. Added last month, this horror movie follows real life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren as they investigated one of the most sinister hauntings of all time, the Enfield Haunting. Also, casual reminder that this movie is so scary, someone literally died watching it.
Best of the rest
Girl. (2020). Bella Thorne’s murder mystery thriller is on Hulu this weekend. She stars as the titular girl who returns to her hometown with plans to murder her abusive father. However, when she discovers her father has already been murdered, she instead tries to solve his murder.
Straw Dogs (2011). Definitely not for the faint of heart but this is a horror movie that I think about whenever I’m home alone (especially if I’m visiting somewhere remote). It’s about a woman who inherits her father’s home in rural Mississippi and moves there with her scriptwriter husband. My warning is that this movie is pretty violent, even exploitative, but it’s also very successful in making home invasions horrifying.
This week’s Horror Happenings:
- More on this week’s Kristin Smart news.
- True stories of people who found out a hidden camera was recording them.
- The story of Heather Teague, a woman whose abduction happened to be witnessed by a peeping Tom.
- An explainer about how a camera trick made famous by Stanley Kubrick in The Shining (1980) was used for the scariest movie on Netflix, It Comes at Night.
- Ryan Murphy is wondering whether y’all would rather have “AHS Bloody Mary” or “AHS Sirens”?
Happy Streaming and Stay Spooky!!