With American Horror Story: 1984 premiering tonight, FX has released official character photos for the highly anticipated ninth season of the horror anthology season along with the names of the characters fans will be following during their nightmarish time at Camp Redwood. It is now confirmed that Zach Villa will be playing Richard Ramirez, a character who briefly appeared in Hotel. Ramirez is more than just a "repeat" American Horror Story character, however. He's also a real-life serial killer whose own story is as terrifying as anything on television.
While it might seem like an unusual choice to have Ramirez as part of American Horror Story: 1984, the series could be setting the stage to bring in a true crime element to the season. 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.
He was ultimate captured in 1985 when, after being identified by a group of elderly women at a convenience store, Ramirez took off, attempted three carjacking’s, and was subdued by a group of residents who beat him down until police arrived. Ramirez was ultimate convicted of 13 counts of murder, five counts of attempted murder, 11 sexual assaults and 14 burglaries and received 19 death sentences for his crimes. He died of complications from B-cell lymphoma. He notably never showed any remorse for his crimes.
With American Horror Story: 1984 being set in 1984 Los Angeles, it's possible that the series will tie Brooke Thompson's (Emma Roberts) backstory to Ramirez as a fictional victim of the real-life killer. Thanks to the official trailer for the season, we know that Brooke has already had her own experiences with a killer and a brief sequence in the trailer appears to show Brooke being attacked by a blade-wielding figure that looks an awful lot like Villa's Ramirez while she sleeps. It's a situation that would track with the Night Stalker attacks -- and could be setting up for the possibility that Mr. Jingles (John Carroll Lynch) isn't the killer we expect him to be.