'American Horror Story: 1984' paints Richard Ramirez as a millennial bad boy instead of a depraved 'Night Stalker'
If anything, 1984's Richard Ramirez is a mix of Danny Zuko and 2016-Harry Styles with leather and curls and a smile to die for.
Serial killers and serial rapists are abominable people, that's no secret. What is also not a secret, yet extremely preposterous to even ideate, is how people sometimes go gaga over them. The number of times Ted Bundy's fans wrote love letters to him when he was waiting on the death row testifies for the extremely insane fact. And in more recent times, killer dad Chris Watts, who murdered his pregnant wife and two toddlers, receiving the same amount of romantic attention during his trial attests to the theory. So why should American Horror Story's very slasher season, '1984' be any different, right? The show romanticizes one of the most gruesome, depraved, Satanist serial killer and rapists - the Night Stalker, aka Richard Ramirez, and while they might have his backstory and MO correct, there are way too many things wrong about the way he is portrayed on screen.
In AHS: 1984, Ramirez is more of eye-candy than a serial killer, which easily makes him more likable and way more welcomed than what the real-life Night Stalker was. Played by Zach Villa, who reprises the role from his season 5 appearance, the Ramirez in Ryan Murphy's show neither has a demonic instability about his stance, nor the crooked teeth arrangement that he did in real life. On AHS, Ramirez is your leather jacket donning, black sunglass rocking bad boy who could give Grease's John Travolta a run for his money. If anything, he is a mix of Danny Zuko and 2016-Harry Styles with leather and curls and a smile to die for.
Things get even weirder when you observe how easily manipulated by women Ramirez is on '1984'. Sure, real-life Ramirez did have a striking feet fetish which he has attested to in confessions, but did he really go around flirting with any and every freaky blonde that crossed his path, allowing them to direct his next murder the way he claimed Satan lit his path? The world will never know. Deplorable as the serial killer was in real life, there was a certain intelligence in his evil. When elucidating his Satanic beliefs in interviews, the real Ramirez has spoken about how he is "beyond good and evil. I will be avenged. Lucifer dwells in us all.” Sadly, in '1984', even with tragic references to his abusive past where his father beat him up and a cousin who served in Vietnam exposed him to polaroids of women he ruthlessly raped and murdered, Ramirez is anything but terrifying. He is at best a typical Tumblr bad boy decked in all black who murders in the name of Satan but couldn't be more vanilla inside.
Just three episodes in, and '1984' has barely shown Ramirez in a light where he isn't being manipulated as a pawn by a woman. Granted it's AHS in a nutshell, with turns and twists more than a meandering river, and at this point, it's too early to pass judgments based on its portrayal of the role. But this man almost beat a woman to death attempting to steal her car to flee from LA when he realized he was a wanted man there, but on '1984' he is seeking love and affection from a Jesus worshiper before being coaxed by her into murdering another killer on the loose. And when not busy doing that, he is making out with another woman who seems to be the one supervising his kill list.
The fact that '1984' calls this washed down puny version of the insidious monster 'the Night Stalker' when that moniker wasn't even coined a year after the show's current timeline makes this portrayal an even bigger scam. He was a dangerous man who raped and murdered at least 13 women and some more men, not the cover boy for a flashy fashion outlet with a jawline that could cut rock and ravenous locks of hair perfectly cupping his chiseled face. Here's hoping AHS follows its signature trajectory and gives us a Night Stalker we can actually be terrified of, instead of the cardboard cutout bad boy fantasy he resembles now.
'American Horror Story: 1984' airs on Wednesdays at 9pm, only on FX.