It’s been a banner year for fictionalized depictions of serial killers from the 1970s and ‘80s. First, Zac Efron terrified and, err, stole hearts as Ted Bundy in Netflix’s Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. Then, the 50th anniversary of the Manson murders was marked by the cult leader’s twin appearances in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Mindhunter, while that series also featured a bevy of throwback murderers including Son of Sam and Wayne Williams. And now, American Horror Story: 1984 is featuring another killer who terrorized California and horrified the nation: Richard Ramirez, also known as the “Night Stalker.”
The murderer, who killed 13 people in 1984 and 1985, appeared during Wednesday’s AHS season premier, played by Zach Villa. In real life, Ramirez was a drifter who broke into homes while their residents slept, robbing, raping, and sometimes murdering those he found inside. When Ramirez was apprehended in 1985, the fact that he was an avowed Satan worshipper only increased the national frenzy sparked by his brutal crimes. During his trial, Ramirez was fond of displaying for photographers a pentagram drawn on his palm.
In the episode, Ramirez attacks Emma Roberts’ character Brooke in her apartment and later appears at the summer camp where she works as a counselor. It's not the first AHS portrayal of Ramirez, who died in 2013—his ghost was featured in Hotel, the fifth season of the show, and was played then by Anthony Ruivivar. (That time around Ramirez, among other exploits, danced to “Sweet Jane” with the ghost of fellow murderer Aileen Wuornos. Yep.)
According to Entertainment Weekly, IMDB credits suggest Villa will appear in every episode of this season of AHS, which means we can probably expect to see a lot more of the killer. And, as with almost all of these depictions of some of the most monstrous men in American history, that means a lot of people on Twitter will be calling him hot.
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