Director Nahnatchka Khan went back in time for her latest horror comedy, ‘Totally Killer’

What if the movies Back to the Future and Scream had a baby? That’s basically the elevator pitch of the new movie Totally Killer, says director Nahnatchka Khan.

The film, out this weekend on Prime Video, stars Kiernan Shipka, who time travels from present day to 1987 to try and stop a string of murders — and the year is important because it means Back to the Future had already been out for two years, so the teens in the film would have seen it.

“You know, if you and I went back in time, you know, I’m not a scientist, I’m not a physicist, so I wouldn’t be able to like have a chalkboard scene where I’m like breaking down or whatever,” Khan tells ABC Audio. “But I could be like, have you seen Back to the Future? You know, and kind of use our, like, pop culture currency, I guess, as a way to bridge the science element.”

Khan was heavily influenced by the horror classic Scream, which she says, reinvented the genre, explaining, “The idea of a mash up, that something can be genuinely scary and also really funny and meta, you know, referencing other movies, and that the characters have the knowledge of entertainment that we all have I think is really amazing.”

Khan says she and her crew “made their best effort” to make sure they got the time travel element right, but understands “there’s going to be things of like, wait, what about this? And what if this it happened?” 

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