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Why Fans Have A Big Problem With Richard Ramirez In AHS: 1984

After nine seasons, creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk continue to push the envelope with the villains that pop up on FX's "American Horror Story." The duo is known for concocting the best monsters, and even drawing inspiration from true serial killers such as the infamous Axeman of New Orleans (Danny Huston) on "Coven" or Aileen Wuornos (Lily Rabe) on "Hotel." There's never a shortage of criminals or villains on "AHS," and in the most recent (and best) season, "1984," Murphy and Falchuk decided to take it back to the '80s in more than just setting.

"1984" takes notes from slasher classics such as "Sleepaway Camp" and "Friday the 13th," so it makes sense a villain would come from the 1980s, too. Richard Ramirez, known for brutally torturing and killing women throughout Los Angeles in the 1980s, is played by Zach Villa. In his "AHS" incarnation, he sticks around for most of the season, wreaking the same kind of havoc that the actual Night Stalker wrought in real life. 

Even though "AHS" is known for shocking and, at times, disgusting depictions, the show's portrayal of Richard Ramirez didn't sit well with fans. Here's why.

His character is distasteful and glamorized

According to Reddit user u/711_truther, the portrayal of Ramirez in "1984" is "disgusting." They mentioned that even though this isn't the first time "AHS" has based a character on a real-life serial killer, the way the show depicts Ramirez is insensitive. Because this era wasn't all that long ago, it's still fresh in peoples' minds, especially because most of Ramirez's survivors are still living today; for that reason, the whole narrative comes off as insensitive and terrifying.

Throughout the thread, several Redditors agreed and found the use of Ramirez distasteful, especially since he's depicted as "sexy" and "cool" in this season. u/711_truther makes a good point by referring to other classic horror movies, and marveling at their approach to characters like Buffalo Bill in "Silence of the Lambs" or Norman Bates in "Psycho," both of whom are based on Ed Gein. 

Reddit user MadamMarshmallows added that "AHS" could've easily used that approach by calling him the "Moonlight Stalker" instead of the Night Stalker, while still incorporating the actual killer's characteristics. Their whole point is that the story should have been fictionalized out of respect for all the people Ramirez actually killed, and the many survivors he tormented.