The 13th Floor

Five Things About AMERICAN HORROR STORY: HOTEL, Episode 504 — “Devil’s Night”

Rather than just recapping the most recent episode of AMERICAN HORROR STORY: HOTEL, each week we are going to break it down into the most interesting, weird, delightful, and mind-boggling bits… like these!

1. The Wineville Chicken Coop Murders

As a Los Angeles native, I pride myself on being well versed in the city’s murderous underbelly. But I was unfamiliar with the Wineville Chicken Coop Murders until I saw this episode. In 1928, Gordon Stewart Northcott, a Canadian who came to California to raise chickens, was arrested for the kidnap, rape, abuse, and murder of at least four boys. With the permission of his sister, Northcott took his 13-year-old nephew, Sanford, to California to help on his farm. Sanford was molested and abused by his uncle and grandmother, who also forced the boy to partake in the murders and disposal of the bodies. After two years, Sanford’s sister, Jessie, became worried because she hadn’t heard from him. Her visit yielded enough concern that she reported what she saw to the Canadian police, who then contacted the Los Angeles police and uncovered a farm of horror. Though Northcott and his mother were only convicted of four murders, they may have been responsible for up to twenty murders. By 1930, the bad PR caught up with Wineville and the city changed its name to Mira Loma.

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2. The Murderer’s Banquet

This came out like the demonic version of that game, “Who would you have at your dinner of greatness?” In addition to Patrick Marsh, aka H.H. Holmes, guests included Richard Ramirez, The Night Stalker, a Los Angeles killer in the early 1980s who was convicted of 13 murders, 11 rapes, and a host of other felonies, though he is suspected of at least a dozen more murders; John Wayne Gacy, an Illinois birthday party clown who raped and killed at least 33 young men; Jeffrey Dahmer, the Milwaukee Cannibal, who was convicted of rape, murder, dismemberment, and occasional eating of 17 young men; Aileen Wuornos, the Florida prostitute who killed 7 men and is considered by many to be America’s first female serial killer; and the Zodiac, an unidentified killer who terrorized the San Francisco area in the 1960s and ’70s with 5 confirmed kills ,and suspected of up to 37 murders. Zodiac was never caught, and thus has virtually no role in tonight’s episode — he is basically a seat filler. There are plenty of other modern monsters who could have filled that seat: Ted Bundy, David Berkowitz, the Hillside Stranglers, or Henry Lee Lucas.

3. Mother’s milk

When Gaga – I mean, Countess Elizabeth – turns someone, she always does it by slitting her breast and essentially nursing her new offspring. I sense that is more of a character decision rather than something necessitated in the show’s vampire mythology.

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4. John Carroll Lynch

The actor who played John Wayne Gacy in tonight’s episode also played Twisty the Clown in last season’s FREAK SHOW.

5. Jasper the dog

Let’s take a minute to mourn the loss of Jasper, who fell victim to young Holden’s bloodlust.

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