Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

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Totally Killer (Prime Video) is a fun horror film that pokes fun at the ’80s while equally hitting ’80s nostalgia and delivering on tropes like slasher films, Final Girl, fictional true crime podcasts, fictional serial killers, time travel, whodunnit murder mysteries, and friends or frenemies.

Decades ago, while in high school, Pam’s three best friends were murdered by a killer eventually dubbed the Sweet 16 Killer. Now it seems that the killer is back on Halloween for Pam. Her teenage daughter, Jamie, teams up with her best friend Lauren to time machine back to the ’80s to stop the original killings and thus the future one. Jamie, a modern teen, quickly finds out that in the ’80s, there were many more slack rules allowing you to pretend you are a transfer student, and that would be enough to infiltrate a school. But it won’t be easy to convince her teen mom and her friends that they’re in danger as she tries to uncover who the knife-wielding killer is. And, more importantly, how does she get back out of the ’80s?!

The humor is great, especially from Jamie, who is constantly shocked by the difference in decades — including the quality of weed. Like in the film Scream, you’re playing along to find out who the masked killer is, while also screaming, “look behind you” and “get out of there” because they’re about to die. With that in mind, I thought I’d round up books that hit on different fun elements and tropes from Totally Killer, from humor in the ’80s to a slasher film in a book!

If You Loved The Fun Humor in the ’80s

We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry

The girls on the Danvers High School varsity field hockey team had a disastrous season, so to ensure their 1989 season ends in going to State, they each pledge themselves to the dark forces in a notebook with Emilio Estevez on the cover. If that’s not enough to sell you (!), one of the girls is referred to as The Claw, a name for her bangs. If you know the ’80s, you’ll understand.

Things in common with Totally Killer: the humor! group of teenage girls! dash of SFF!

If You Loved The Slasher Film Scenes

Security by Gina Wohlsdorf

Manderley Resort is a high-end hotel on the coast of California where currently the staff is in super stress mode of getting every final last touch done right before its grand opening. What they aren’t aware of is someone is picking them off one by one…

Things in common with Totally Killer: the scenes where you’re screaming “look out behind you” and “don’t go in there” at the characters before eeeh eeeh eeeh!

If You Loved The Unsolved Whodunnit And Fictional Serial Killer Is Back Mystery

Your Lonely Nights Are Over by Adam Sass

What if your high school’s queer club was suddenly being targeted by a serial killer who had been inactive for years? And everyone thinks you and your bestie are the copycat killers? That’s what happens to Dearie and Cole, who will not only have to navigate friendship, love, and high school but also stay alive while figuring out who is killing people…

Things in common with Totally Killer: slasher horror! fictional serial killer is back! unsolved past murders!

If You Loved The Modern True Crime Podcast Looking At A Past Unsolved Case

The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson

This is a fantastic reimagining of Carrie for all the ’80s kids who grew up with the horror classic. Almost an entire town was massacred following its first integrated prom in 2014. Currently, a true crime podcast is finally sifting through everything — from survivor interviews to articles — to find out what really happened. And then there are the chapters that follow Maddy in high school as we watch all the events leading up to prom…

Things in common with Totally Killer: horror tropes! high school setting! modern true crime podcast!

If You Loved The ’80s Setting And Nostalgia

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

Starting high school does something Abby and Gretchen — best friends since middle school — thought would never happen: test their friendship. Abby has come to believe that the only explanation for Gretchen’s strange behavior is demonic possession, and as her best friend, she won’t quit on Gretchen. No, she’s going to make sure to free her from the devil!

Things in common with Totally Killer: high school best friends! ’80s nostalgia! horror!

If You Loved The Halloween Setting

Night of the Living Queers: 13 Tales of Terror Delight edited by Shelly Page and Alex Brown

Anthologies are absolutely the best way to find new-to-you authors and fit great into busy life schedules where you need something you can dip in and out of. Here you get 13 (!) YA horror stories starring BIPOC teens all set on Halloween night…

Things in common with Totally Killer: horror stories on Halloween! teenage MCs!

If You Loved The Mix of Time Travel And Fictional Serial Killer Plot

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

Imagine not just being hunted by a serial killer but by a serial killer who, thanks to a Depression-era house in Chicago, can time travel to find victims! Being able to jump to another time period to avoid being caught allows Harper Curtis to continue killing until Kirby Mazrachi survives and comes for him…

Things in common with Totally Killer: time travel! fictional serial killer! you can also watch it — it was adapted into an Apple TV series!

If You’ll Totally Just Watch Or Read Anything With A Nod to The ’80s

32 Candles by Ernessa T. Carter

Davidia uses Molly Ringwald movies to escape her terrible childhood and wants nothing more than a “Molly Ringwald Ending.” But instead, she gets a cruel high school prank and ultimately flees for a better life. Watch her navigate life as you root for her to learn from mistakes and get the ending she wants!

Things in common with Totally Killer: based on ’80s nostalgia!

Did I leave you in nostalgia land? Check out Explore These Totally Rad ’80s and ’90s Kids Book Series and When I’m Nostalgic for the ’80s and ’90s, I Read These Books!

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