American Horror Story: 1984 Star on Playing a Real-Life Serial Killer

American Horror Story: 1984 may be terrorizing the camp counselors at Camp Redwood with Mr. [...]

American Horror Story: 1984 may be terrorizing the camp counselors at Camp Redwood with Mr. Jingles, but he's not the only killer this season on the FX horror anthology series. As fans saw during last week's season premiere, the Night Stalker Richard Ramirez is also part of the season, having already threatened Brooke (Emma Roberts), and could end up being another lethal threat for the counselors at camp. Portrayed by Zach Villa, Ramirez is different from Mr. Jingles, though. Richard Ramirez was a real-life serial killer and now, Villa is opening up on what it's like preparing for and playing the killer.

In a recent interview with The Wrap, Villa explained that it was a bit tricky getting into character, both in terms of the mindset as well as actually inserting the character into the story.

"It's a questionably healthy process to get into the mindset of what the character requires," Villa said. "That should tell you something about where things are going, you know. And obviously seeing him with Brooke in that first scene is, you know, pretty terrifying. He's not the best guy."

"You know, it's tricky, there's a lot of historical reference for what his movement was," Villa continued. "Richard was, I mean, obviously, a real person, and so I think it's interesting, like why he found his way to Camp Redwood. You'll just have to watch and see I guess, at the end of the day. She gets away, I mean, I feel like, if anything serial killers do tend to get obsessed with their victims."

In real life, Ramirez was a serial killer, rapist, and burglar dubbed the "Night Stalker" by news media. His first known murder occurred in April, 1984 where he killed a 9-year-old girl in San Francisco. Between April 10, 1984 and August 24, 1985, Ramirez carried out a series of rapes, burglaries and murders largely in Los Angeles. He was given the name "Night Stalker" as most of his crimes saw him breaking into people's homes at night and using a variety of weapons to torture and kill them. 1984 actually referenced his first Los Angeles-area murder in the season premiere.

For Villa, preparing for the role included going over "a lot of source material", and it's something that he explained he does for any role he plays, though his portrayal ultimately ends up being its own thing.

"At the end of the day, when I prepare for any role, I always try to just devour as much as possible and there's this moment where whatever we're creating on the show takes over and suddenly it's not really based on anything, it just kind of exists," he said.

American Horror Story: 1984 airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on FX.