Totally Killer and The Types of Nostalgia

Totally Killer Movie

I took a simple movie and analyzed the two types of nostalgia in it.

There is a new comedy slasher movie on Amazon Prime Video. Simply titled Totally Killer, it’s a mashup of Back to the Future and Halloween. The film stars Kiernan Shipka, Olivia Holt, Julie Bowen, and Randall Park. Following Jamie (Shipka), after her mother’s friends are murdered on Halloween by the Sweet Sixteen Killer, she travels back to 1987 to stop the young would-be assassin before she is trapped in the past forever. 

I never expect much from a time travel film. There’s usually an oxymoronic plot hole that won’t make sense. I recommend coming to this movie without expectations, as it will not be a classic or break any new ground in the horror genre. What I’m interested in is the nostalgia factor. 

The two types of nostalgia are restorative and reflective. In this movie, restorative nostalgia is all about rebuilding Vernon. It’s an idealized version of the 80s with colorful yoga pants, clean theme parks, and no crime. It is the past that Jamie wanted to build. As opposed to that, there is reflective nostalgia, which I think makes this feature more interesting. 

Vernon’s 80s look is reminiscent of a restorative nostalgia period. The reflective side of this film is what’s interesting to me. More than fighting the Wish version of Michael Myers (Sweet Sixteen is such a funny name for a killer, by the way) with the mask of the bastard son of Max Headroom and George Michael, the biggest fight of this movie is a triple threat of the lack of emotional intelligence of Baby Boomers, the cynicism of Gen X, and the sensitivity of Gen Z.

How does this compare to Back to The Future?

The clash of personalities is the main reason I would recommend this film. In Back to the Future, the 50s nostalgia is restorative, an ideal version of the post-war American Dream in a small town. The reflective nostalgia for racism is very subtle. It is there, but we are too distracted by Marty McFly’s mother wanting to have sex with her son.

In Totally Killer, we’re not bewildered by any incestuous behavior. We’re watching Jamie’s mother being a bitch, and wanting to get dirty with her future dad earlier than intended. It’s not as implicit and brilliant as BTTF, but it’s still absorbing and easy to follow. It’s an Entry-level time-traveling narrative before we get to the big fight in the third act. 

In conclusion, Totally Killer, though as simple as its title. Observing generational behavior and watching slasher action makes it a fun watch. Some nights, it’s good to restore our collective memories by forgetting about Reganomics and dressing like Molly Ringwald. 

I just talked about the Back to the Future part of this movie’s inspirations. But here’s a meme illustrating what I think about the Halloween part:

Ironic, isn’t it?

You can feel nostalgic and watch Totally Killer on Amazon

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *