Captive Viewers director Jessica Dimmock remembers seeing I Know My First Title Is Steven on TV as a child when it aired in 1989. All these years later, the made-for-TV film in regards to the kidnapping and eventual escape of Merced, California boy Steven Stayner was nonetheless caught in her reminiscence.
So when the producers of the brand new Hulu true-crime docuseries Captive Viewers requested her to direct the collection and she or he discovered that Stayner’s daughter Ashley was concerned, Dimmock (The Ninth Ground, The Pearl) knew that this was the challenge for her.
“I’m a child of the 80s, so I keep in mind,” Jessica Dimmock informed MovieMaker. “After I consider a made-for-TV film, I type of image I Know My First Title Is Steven. I didn’t keep in mind the small print a lot, however I had some type of like recollection about it. In order that was the type of step one, and once they introduced the story to me and I re-familiarized myself with it, there was lots about it by way of simply the story that’s so compelling, but additionally the layers of Ashley Stayner being concerned.”
The story of the Stayner household and all the pieces they’ve been via — from Steven’s abduction by convicted little one molester Kenneth Parnell and his escape seven years later in 1980, to Steven’s older brother Cary Stayner’s arrest and conviction for the murders of 4 girls in Yosemite Nationwide Park in 1999 — is sufficient to give anybody nightmares.
Jessica Dimmock says two particulars of the case, specifically, have caught together with her essentially the most.
“There’s a stage of cruelty [by] Kenneth Parnell of psychological manipulation that he put Steven via. It’s like, you recognize that somebody has been kidnapped, and you recognize that that’s merciless. However there’s only a stage of — he informed him that his dad and mom didn’t need him. He informed him his dad and mom couldn’t afford him,” Dimmock mentioned.
“There’s at all times these questions on, like, ‘why didn’t he run away?’ And it’s like, in the event you had been seven and also you had been informed — I imply, I’ve an nearly five-year-old, and if somebody began to inform her that I didn’t need her, the ache of that… it’s only a sort of psychological cruelty that’s really surprising to me,” she added. “It’s past the bodily — and the bodily was so horrendous — however that basically shocked me, simply fascinated about what a horrible factor it’s to do to a toddler.
“The opposite half is how very publicly Steven needed to return to the world. So it’s like, he comes again and he’s a hero. However these actually horrible issues that had occurred to him, in fact, turn out to be public within the yr 1980 when it was a really homophobic society. And there have been no boundaries about it. I imply, they adopted him to high school, they had been there, and he was a child. He was 14 years previous.”
Major Picture: Steven Stayner is pictured reuniting together with his dad and mom in Captive Viewers courtesy of Hulu.
All three episodes of Captive Viewers at the moment are streaming on Hulu.