The newest installment of Ryan Murphy's anthology series American Horror Story: Hotel has all the makings of an awesomely creepy season: A hotel that is home to multiple sinister occurrences, the addition of Lady Gaga as a cast member, and a serial killer known as "The Ten Commandments Killer." But the biblically inspired murderer won't be the only serial offender featured this season — Lily Rabe will return to the show as Aileen Wuornos. If that name rings a bell, you may be asking yourself if Aileen Wuornos is a real person. The answer is yes, and this isn't the first time she's been portrayed on screen. In fact, Charlize Theron brought home an Oscar for her role as Wuornos in the 2003 film Monster.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Rabe will only appear in the two-episode Halloween arc of Hotel — and she'll be in the company of other infamous serial killers including John Wayne Gacy. Rabe recently explained that the depiction of Wuornos will be all about how she would behave in the world of American Horror Story: "[It's] such a specific world, so it really is Aileen Wuornos in that world."
It's safe to say there will be a whole lot of artistic license involved in the depiction of Wuornos, so let's take a look at the real story behind America's most infamous female serial killer:
She Killed At Least 6 Men
Wuornos, who worked as a prostitute in Florida, killed at least six men between 1989 and 1990. Her first victim was Richard Mallory and she claimed that she killed him in self defense after he sexually and physically assaulted her. Mallory had previously served 10 years in prison for sexual assault. Wuornos initially claimed that the other five killings were also in self defense, but she later recanted those allegations. It's believed that she's also responsible for the death of a seventh man, Peter Siems, but his body has never been found.
She Shot And Robbed Her Victims
Her modus operandi was to bring men to secluded locations for sex, then shoot and rob them. Although Wuornos is not America's first female serial killer (she is sometimes referred to as such), her behaviors were different than the "typical" female murderer. According to The New Yorker, most female serial killers murder relatives, while men target strangers. Additionally, women reportedly prefer to poison their victims rather than shoot them — so Wuornos didn't fit the profile of a "typical" female serial killer. For this reason, Wuornos garnered far more media attention than other women who murdered multiple victims.
Some Critics Felt Her Depiction In Monster Was Too Sympathetic
Although Monster generally received positive reviews and Theron's performance was hailed as nothing short of amazing, the film also received some criticism for being too sympathetic to Wuornos. The Atlantic noted that, although Theron was transformed to become physically unattractive, the film itself "consistently casts Wuornos in the most positive light possible" and criticized the director for making "quasi-justifications" for all of Wuornos' actions. In particular, the film emphasized her horrific childhood, treated her initial rape allegation as fact, and implied that she consistently felt threatened by the men she ended up killing. It will be interesting to see how Murphy chooses to handle this character, but since this is American Horror Story, I think we can expect a depiction of Wuornos that is more creepy than sympathetic.
She Was Executed In 2002
Wuornos was executed by lethal injection in October 2002. She declined a last meal, but she did make a final statement and it was beyond eerie: "I'd just like to say I'm sailing with the rock, and I'll be back like Independence Day, with Jesus June 6. Like the movie, big mother ship and all, I'll be back."
For more on Lily Rabe's role on this "insane" season of American Horror Story, check out her recent interview with Shine On Media:
Image: Michele K. Short/FX