I Am The Night Review: The Fascinating Story Of The Hodel Family And The Black Dahlia Murder - GMonsterTV

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I Am The Night Review: The Fascinating Story Of The Hodel Family And The Black Dahlia Murder

"I Am The Night" originally aired on the TNT channel and is currently available on Hulu. From director Patti Jenkins "Wonder Woman", it tells the fascinating story of a young girl in search of her birth mother. Fauna Hodel travels from Reno to Los Angeles where she hopes to meet her mother. The series is based on Fauna's autobiography "One Day She'll Darken". 

Fauna has had a rough life. She grew up Patricia Anne and believed her adoptive mother (Jimmie Lee Greenwade) was her birth mother until seeing her birth certificate. Fauna believed she was of mixed race until encountering her grandfather's ex wife who told her otherwise.

Fauna teams up with reporter Jay Singeltary (Chris Pine). Note: This character was created for dramatic effect. Jay originally covered the incest trial of Fauna's mother Tamar (in which she accused her father of rape). George, a prominent gynecologist, who runs a sex clinic, knows all the secrets of the rich and powerful in LA. He hires people to testify that Tamar is mentally unstable and a pathological liar. He is acquitted of the charges. But Jay cant let it go. He keeps after George. George sues him for libel and ruins Jay's career. We later learn this is AFTER George got his daughter pregnant and she had an abortion. Is Fauna the daughter of her grandfather? No one is sure. I believe IRL it was confirmed via DNA testing that she is NOT. 

And if all that weren't bad enough, Hodel might be responsible for the most infamous murder in LA-- the killing of Elizabeth Short (AKA the Black Dahlia). She was found dead on January 15, 1947. Her nude body had been posed and was lying in two sections. She had been precisely severed in half at the waist. It appears she had been held capture and tortured for several days before being killed. Her body was completely drained of blood.  

Jay continues to look for clues to prove George's guilty. He skulks around George's famous house-- the Sowden house built by Frank Lloyd Wright Jr. This Mayan Temple replica is where George threw extravagant debauched parties and pimped out Tamar for sex. 

Jay and Fauna travel to Hawaii where they find Tamar. She gives Jay the paintings that
George keeps sending her. They are all of woman she believes he has killed (including one of Elizabeth Short). Jay believes the mutilation of the women reflect the paintings of Hodel's friend May Ray and other surrealist painters (such as Salvadore Dali). 

Corrine spikes Fauna's drink. She wakes up in the basement and barely escapes being painted/killed by Hodel. He flees to the Philippines. Fauna makes peace with her life. Jay has moved to Hawaii. She writes to him and hopes he does the same. This is where the TV series ends. 

There is a companion podcast to the series called "Root Of Evil". It is by Fauna's daughters Yvette and Rasha. I highly recommend it. The Hodel family tree is a complicated one.  Here are the main players just so you know who is who. Let's start with George Hodel. He had 11 children by 5 women. 

  1. Professor's wife- We dont know her name but she was the wife of a med school professor that George got pregnant. The son's name is Folly.  
  2. Emilia Berman- common law wife- Gave birth to Duncan.
  3. Dorothy Anthony- First legal wife and ex model, gave birth to Tamar. 
  4. Dorothy Huston Hodel- Second legal wife, called Dorero so as not to be confused with the other Dorothy. She gave birth to Steven, Michael, Kelvin and John. She is also the ex wife of the director John Huston. She is renamed Corinna in the mini series. 
  5. Hortensia Laguda- George married her after moving to the Philippines. He stayed there for 40 years and had four children with her. They are Teresa, Diane, Ramon, Mark. She was later a member of the Philippine Congress. 
  6. June- married to Hodel in 1990 and stayed with him in San Francisco until his death in 1999.. 

Tamar had five children, all by different fathers (after having an illegal abortion to abort her father's child). 
  1. Fauna- the focus of the TV series. Tamar gave birth to Fauna at age 16 and gave her to another family. Fauna has two children-- Yvette Gentile and Rasha Pecoraro. Fauna passed away in 2017.  
  2. Deborah (whose name was later changed to FaunaElizabeth). Also known as Fauna II. Her father was singer Stan Wilson. She was also abused by George at the age of 13. Her mother Tamar pushed her into sex work at a very young age. Man, this family!  
  3. Peace- Yes, that is really his name. 
  4. Love (a pro surfer)
  5. Joy To The World 
Due to the abuse she suffered as a child, Tamar's life was a mess. She tried to take her life on multiple occasions and had fractured relationships with all of her children. She died in 2015. 

Now that that's out of the way, on to the specifics of the crimes. George's son Steve grew up to be a LAPD detective. He is now retired but has maliciously collected evidence that he believes proves his father killed Elizabeth Short. He has written several books on the topic. Check out his website https://stevehodel.com/ 

George left for Asia while he was under investigation by the police. His phones had been taped and he was also being looked at for the death of his secretary Ruth Spauling. She died of a drug overdose. It was suspected that George murdered her to cover up his medical office's fraud, his performing of illegal abortions, payoffs to law enforcement personnel, and any other secrets she might know. According to the Steve, even though Hodel lived in the Philippines for the next 40 years, he visited the US at least once per year. George died at the age of 91 and was never charged with a crime.

Steve later asserted that not only did George kill the Blach Dahlia but he was also Chicago's Lipstick Killer in 1945-46, Manila's Jigsaw Murderer of 1967 and even San Francisco's Zodiac Killer in 1968-69. Not sure I'm buying all that but its still fascinating. This is a story well worth investigating.  

Grade: 5 Monsters (out of 5). Patti Jenkins "Wonder Woman" delivers another masterpiece. The actors are great and the story is completely mesmerizing. "I Am The Night" is one of those rare cases where the truth is MUCH stranger than fiction. It begins as the story of a girl Fauna Hodel (played by India Eisley) looking for her birth mother. And with the help of reporter Jay Singletary (Chris Pine) it turns into the uncovering a possible serial killer. I dont know if Hodel killed Elizabeth Short but the facts presented point to his guilt. Any way you slice it, George Hodel was a horrible human being. Besides the TV series, check out the companion podcast "The Root of Evil". It's hosted by Fauna's daughters Yvette and Rasha. It depicts the intergenerational trauma that is visited upon this family because of George. It might be even be more interesting than the TV series (and that's saying a lot).

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December 29, 2019
I Am The Night Review: The Fascinating Story Of The Hodel Family And The Black Dahlia Murder Reviewed by GMonsterTV on 7:01 AM Rating: 5 "I Am The Night" originally aired on the TNT channel and is currently available on Hulu. From director Patti Jenkins "Won...

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