Is Longlegs Inspired By A Real Serial Killer Case? True Story Connections Explained


  • Longlegs is a completely fictional character and is not inspired by real-life serial killers.
  • The film attempts to avoid direct inspiration from true crime stories to keep a fresh approach.
  • Longlegs does incorporate some traits of the real world, drawing parallels to the Satanic Panic era.

Horror fans are no strangers to true crimes inspiring some of the genre’s most prolific killers, leaving some to wonder if Osgood Perkin’s Longlegs is inspired by any real-life serial killers. Played by Nicolas Cage, the titular killer and the mysterious surroinding him is at the center of Longlegs. Longlegs follows Maika Monroe as FBI Agent Lee Harker, who joins the investigation and starts actively looking into the killer and his unexpected connection to her life. Cage brings an unsettling edge to the character, giving him a frightening mixture of glee and volume that leaves audiences unsettled.

Plenty of other horror movie serial killers were either directly or partly inspired by true life stories, with infamous figures like Ted Bundy being so prolific that they ended up getting film adaptations directly exploring them on the big screen. While Nicolas Cage’s Longlegs killer is purposefully different from those kinds of characters, there could be some influences from an infamous era of true crime and moral panic that help explain the conception of the character and how he works.


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Longlegs Is Not Inspired By A Real Life Serial Killer Case

Longlegs Is An Entirely Fictional Character, Which Makes Him Scarier

A character screaming while driving a car in Longlegs
Image via NEON

Longlegs isn’t directly inspired by any real life serial killers. In the film, Nicolas Cage’s Longlegs is a mysterious serial killer who has been targeting families for years. Cage’s Longlegs is a harrowing figure whenever he actually appears on screen, operating in the shadows and avoiding any identification by the authorities. His only contact with them is a series of letters written in a cipher, setting up a lenghty manhunt that builds to a head in Longlegs. However, Longlegs is not directly based on an any specific killer, and his murders across the Pacific Northwest don’t seem to be taking any direct inspiration from true life.

This separates Longlegs from other famous cinematic serial killers like Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs or Norman Bates from Psycho, who took direct inspiration from true crime stories. While Buffalo Bill was fictional, he was influenced by the specific crimes of Ed Gein, Ted Bundy, and Gary M. Heidnik. By contrast, Longlegs is a unique creation of the film that shares his name, giving him an unpredictable edge. This notably allowed the filmmakers to deliver a wholly unique take on the concept and give Nicolas Cage a fully original character to play with.

Longlegs Has Similarities To Many True Crime Stories

The Satanic Panic Of The 1980s & 1990s Might Have Influenced Elements Of Longlegs

Although Longlegs doesn’t take direct inspiration from any real life serial killers, the film does utilize some of the traits and attributes that can often be found in that archetype. The 1990s setting of Longlegs and extended focus on the Satanic intentions behind his actions draws comparisons to the Satanic Panic. Beginning in the 1980s and continuing throughout the subsequent decade, the Satanic Panic was a global moral panic that was particularly prevalent in the United States.

While many elements of the cultural hysteria were later disproven, there were some real life killers from this era whose Satantic beliefs could be seen as a direct parallel to Longlegs’ Satanic ideology. Killers like the Chicago Ripper Crew and Richard Ramirez (aka the Night Stalker, who actually plays into fellow 2024 horror film MaXXXine) all professed Satanic leanings that the said helped inspire their actions. While Longlegs isn’t directly inspired by any of them, the titular killer seems to share a motivation with them.


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Longlegs’ Director Purposefully Avoided Using Real Life Inspiration

Osgood Perkins Had No Interest In Using Longlegs To Make A True-Crime Film

Maika Monroe looks out a window with one hand covering her mouth in shock in Longlegs

According to writer/director Osgood Perkins, there was never any desire on his part to make Longlegs feel too similar to any true-crime stories. During an interview with Games Radar, Perkins revealed that he actually doesn’t like true-crime stories. He explained that Longlegs “couldn’t be more fictionalized and totally made up. That’s part of the fun of it [for] me… It’s part of what keeps it light for me, honestly. I’m not interested in what these sickos do. To me, this is a different kind of poem, you know, and it’s totally just make believe.”

The result is that Longlegs could entirely unique from other serial killer stories, which ultimately benefits the film. Instead of remixing history or being directly influenced by any single killer, Longlegs is able to exist as its own thing. It allows the film to also retain its sharp character focus and central mystery, as it’s free of any of the natural weight that comes with directly associating the film with any specific case or killer. Longlegs benefits from not being based on any specific true-crime story even if it embraces similar ideas.

Source:Games Radar

Longlegs 2024 Movie Poster


Longlegs is a horror thriller film by writer-director Osgood Perkins. When FBI agent Lee Harker is assigned to a serial killer cold case, their investigation leads them down a rabbit hole riddled with disturbing discoveries and the occult at the center of it all. When the trail of evidence reveals a personal connection, it becomes a race against time to prevent another murder.

Oz Perkins

Oz Perkins

Maika Monroe , Nicholas Cage , Alicia Witt , Blair Underwood

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