The ninth season of American Horror Story premiered last night and re-introduced its audience to Richard Ramirez, a real-life serial killer otherwise known as “the Night Stalker.” In 1989, he was convicted of 13 counts of murder.
In the latest season, he’s played by Zach Villa. Diehard American Horror Story fans may recognize the actor from the fifth season of the horror anthology, Hotel, where he briefly featured in Episode 4. In the episode, the ghost of Ramirez arrives at Hotel Cortez after being invited to Devil’s Night by James Patrick March (Evan Peters). There, he’s joined by several other prominent serial killers like John Wayne Gacy and Aileen Wuornos.
The latest season of American Horror Story takes place in 1984 Los Angeles, which accurately represents the real Ramirez’s murder spree that took place between 1984 and 1985.
— AmericanHorrorStory (@AHSFX) September 19, 2019
In last night’s premiere, Brooke (Emma Roberts) and her friends take jobs as counselors at a summer camp. Before they leave, however, Brooke is assaulted in her apartment by Ramirez (Villa) before he takes what looks to be a wedding ring. He then calls himself the Night Stalker and makes Brooke “swear on Satan.” This is pretty true to reality, as Ramirez was a devout satanist and would introduce himself to his victims in the same way.
“You’re going to be famous,” he then says to Brooke. “You’re going to die by the hands of the Night Stalker. I will find you. Satan will show me the way.” He’s then seen again at the end of the episode as Brooke spots him at the camp.
How real is Richard Ramirez and the Night Stalker?
AHS’s representation of Ramirez’s life is pretty accurate throughout, the only deviation being the summer camp, but this may be explained more as the rest of the season plays out. According to IMDb, Villa is seen appearing in all 10 episodes of the season.
Several other serial killers are featured in the episode as well, both fictional and real. Before Brooke was assaulted in her apartment by Ramirez, she and her friends were discussing the Night Stalker and another notorious serial killer, David Berkowitz, also known as the Son of Sam. Berkowitz gunned down six people in New York City during the summer of 1977. He was recently dramatized in Season 2 of Netflix’s Mindhunter.
Additionally, Mr. Jingles, a fictional serial killer, was also seen in the episode. What remains unclear, however, is how Mr. Jingles’ story ties in with that of the Night Stalker’s. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait too long to find out.
American Horror Story is available for streaming on Netflix