Is Totally Killer Based on a True Story?


Is Totally Killer Based on a True Story?

Mai K. Sosa

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‘Totally Killer’ by Prime Video introduces the audience to a new masked serial killer, joining the ranks of renowned figures such as Michael Myers, Ghostface, Jason Vorhees, and Leatherface, to mention a few.

In the film, the Sweet 16 murderer targets 16-year-old females and stabs them 16 times. The film follows Kiernan Shipka as Jamie, who travels to 1987 to apprehend the killer before he kills again in the future.

The horror comedy creates a legend around the serial murderer, which plays extremely well into the premise of the movie. If you’re wondering whether the movie’s writers drew inspiration for this character from any real-life serial killers, here’s what you should know.

What is Totally Killer about?

The film stars Kiernan Shipka as Jamie Hughes, a typical Gen Z girl who rarely agrees with her overprotective mother, Pam (played as an adult by Julie Bowen and as a teen by Olivia Holt). Pam was 16 when the infamous Sweet 16 Killer murdered three of her pals.

Pam became the unpleasant and excessively cautious parent she is as a result of the incident. Jamie slips away to go out with her friends on Halloween, and when she returns home, she discovers her mother has been murdered by the Sweet 16 Killer, who has finally caught up with her after all these years.

Fortunately, Jamie’s closest friend built a time machine for a school project, so the girl journeys back to 1987 in the hopes of stopping the Sweet 16 Killer and saving Pam’s life.

Is Totally Killer Based on a True Story?

No, Totally Killer is not based on a true story. The Sweet 16 Killer, the film’s villain, is entirely fictitious and adds a terrifying element to the plot. It depicts the victims’ ages and pays homage to ’80s star Molly Ringwald, further complicating the story. In the film, a murderer known as the “Sweet 16 Killer” specifically targets 16-year-old females, stabbing them exactly 16 times.

Is Totally Killer Based on a True Story?

The screenplay for Totally Killer was written by David Matalon, Sasha Perl-Raver, and Jen D’Angelo. All of the imaginary characters, including the Sweet 16 Killer, were developed by them. Nahnatchka Khan worked on the killer’s mask, attempting to merge retro and current aesthetics. The mask was inspired by Rob Lowe, Kiefer Sutherland, and Dolf Lundgren. Khan stated during an interview at Fantastic Fest:

“Obviously, in slasher films, the mask is so important that it lives and dies, so it has to have a presence.” It had to be terrifying. It has to feel unique.”

Khan also wanted the serial murderer to stand out in the crowded horror genre. She collaborated with makeup artist Tony Gardner to create a one-of-a-kind but horrifying look. They were inspired by ’80s Hollywood heartthrobs and even opted for a blonde mask.

Aside from the mask, the filmmakers paid close attention to the Sweet 16 Killer’s persona and murdering method. Khan used references to classic horror films and was inspired by certain frames in those films, which she incorporated into ‘Totally Killer.’

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The director referred to them as “touchstones,” naming ‘Scream,’ the original ‘Halloween,’ the original ‘Friday the 13th,’ and the original ‘Evil Dead’ as the titles that had the most effect in creating the killer persona.

With all of this in mind, it’s evident that the writers of ‘Totally Killer’ looked to fictional serial murderers, particularly those in the slasher genre, to build another serial killer who could become a part of pop culture. So, if the Sweet 16 Killer scares you, don’t be alarmed. It has no real-life counterparts and is purely fictitious.

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