Spooky Little Girl

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"Spooky Little Girl"
American Horror Story episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 9
Directed by John Scott
Written by Jennifer Salt
Featured music
Production code 1ATS08
Original air date November 30, 2011 (2011-11-30)
Running time 40 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Rubber Man"
Next →
"Smoldering Children"
American Horror Story (season 1)
List of American Horror Story episodes

"Spooky Little Girl" is the ninth episode of the first season of the television series American Horror Story, which premiered on the network FX on November 30, 2011. The episode was written by Jennifer Salt and was directed by John Scott. This episode is rated TV-MA (LSV).

In this episode, a famous murder victim visits the house while Constance (Jessica Lange) learns of Tate's (Evan Peters) bad behavior. Kate Mara guest stars as Hayden McClaine. Taissa Farmiga is absent in this episode.



A young, aspiring actress (Mena Suvari) arrives in Los Angeles, and prostitutes herself to a dentist (Joshua Malina), who lives and works out of the house. He puts her under anesthesia and rapes her, but finds her unresponsive afterward. Panicked, he drags her down to the basement, and encounters Dr. Montgomery (Matt Ross), who offers to help her, but instead dismembers her. Her remains are found in a field by a mother and child (Caitlin Dahl & Ava Kolker), revealing her to be the Black Dahlia, Elizabeth Short.


A detective (Geoffrey Rivas) and Hayden's sister, Marla (Tanya Clarke), arrive at the house, believing she has been murdered. However, Hayden (Kate Mara) appears and assures them she is fine, and intends to live with Ben (Dylan McDermott). After they leave, she tells Ben she had an abortion and leaves. Elizabeth appears later as a new patient, but their appointment is interrupted by a call from the doctor (Eve Gordon), who tells Ben that he is only the father of one of Vivien's (Connie Britton) twins. Moira (Frances Conroy) mocks Constance (Jessica Lange) by telling her that Tate (Evan Peters) is the father of the other twin. Constance furiously berates Tate, stating that if Ben finds out, he will never help him and Tate will never be able to pass on. Ben walks in on young Moira (Alexandra Breckenridge) and Elizabeth trying to seduce him and has enough; he fires Moira and throws Elizabeth out. Hayden comforts Elizabeth, assuring her that her dreams of fame came true in death as the Black Dahlia.

Believing that Vivien cheated on him, Ben visits her in the ward. Thinking she is asleep, he expresses his anger and disgust with her hypocrisy and says he will never help her leave. At home, Hayden tries to comfort Ben, but he firmly rebuffs her and tells her that he never loved her. Heartbroken, she accepts this, but tells him that Luke (Morris Chestnut) slept with Vivien.

Constance tries to make up with her younger boyfriend Travis (Michael Graziadei) and proposes to him, believing they can raise Tate's child together as a family. When he refuses, she mocks his dreams of becoming famous and he goes off to sleep with Hayden, who murders him. Travis' body is dismembered by Dr. Montgomery and taken away by Larry (Denis O'Hare). Two teenagers playing basketball (Joshua Allen & Dennis Hill) discover his body in the same mutilated manner as the Black Dahlia. Elizabeth assures Travis' ghost that he may find fame like her.

Constance, desiring the child, visits Vivien in the ward, expressing her support for her. Vivien confides in her that she was raped by the Rubber Man, but will pretend it was a hallucination in order to be discharged from the ward. Ben confronts Luke, but learns that he is sterile and therefore could not be the father. As Moira leaves, Ben finds the Rubber Man mask and demands to know the truth, now believing that Vivien is not crazy and was indeed raped. Moira congratulates him for finally starting to see the truth, appearing to him for the first time in her "true" elderly form.

While having tea with Billie Dean Howard (Sarah Paulson), Constance asks her what might happen if a child is conceived between a ghost and a human. Billie Dean states that a Catholic papal secret foretells that such a child is the Antichrist and will usher in the Apocalypse.


Mena Suvari portrays the Black Dahlia in the episode.

The episode was written by co-executive producer Jennifer Salt, and directed by John Scott.

About using the Black Dahlia storyline, series co-creator Ryan Murphy said he's always been interested in unsolved L.A. crimes. "The thing that fascinated me about the case is that there were more than 60 people who claimed credit for that murder," he said. "I've always been obsessed about that idea, that our culture [wants to know] what fame is about. Once I started researching the Black Dahlia for this episode, it made sense for me that she was killed in that house and I wanted to explore the '40s."[1]


Rotten Tomatoes reports an 89% approval rating, based on 9 reviews.[2] Matt Richenthal of TV Fanatic commented on the bizarre events of the episode, "Nothing much happened on American Horror Story this week, except for an appearance by The Black Dahlia, a cameo by The Pope and the revelation that Vivien might be giving birth to the Antichrist, just your basic episode of the FX drama."[3] The A.V. Club's Todd VanDerWerff said, "We learned a bunch of things that will likely be important going forward, but they were also things that didn't really matter... It's been a bit of a step down since that brain-eating episode. This episode was a step in the crazy direction."[4]

In its original American broadcast, "Spooky Little Girl" was seen by an estimated 2.85 million household viewers and gained a 1.7 ratings share among adults aged 18–49, according to Nielsen Media Research. The episode was up one tenth from the previous episode.[5]


  1. ^ Stack, Tim (November 30, 2011). "'American Horror Story': Ryan Murphy talks the Black Dahlia and whether Violet is alive... or dead -- EXCLUSIVE". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 17, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Spooky Little Girl – American Horror Story: Murder House, Episode 9". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 21, 2016. 
  3. ^ Richenthal, Matt (November 30, 2011). "American Horror Story Review: Baby by Beelzebub?". TV Fanatic. Retrieved December 16, 2011. 
  4. ^ VanDerWerff, Todd (December 1, 2011). "Spooky Little Girl". The A.V. Club. Retrieved December 16, 2011. 
  5. ^ Seidman, Robert (December 1, 2011). "Wednesday Cable Ratings: 'American Horror Story' Tops Night + Captain Kirk Boosts 'Psych'; 'Hot In Cleveland,' 'Full Throttle Saloon' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved December 2, 2011. 

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