For quite some time, Lifetime Channel has been airing a whole lineup of cheerleader murder mystery movies in a series called ‘Fear The Cheer.’ One of these thrillers is ‘Who is Killing the Cheerleaders?’ Purely judging by the plural in the title, we can safely assume that this whodunit movie has multiple cheerleaders dying at the hands of a serial killer, but there is a twist!
There are two series of murders that take place ten years apart – once when our protagonist is part of the cheerleading squad at her high school, and then again, she returns to her alma mater as a teacher, ten years later. But is ‘Who is Killing the Cheerleaders’ based on a true story? Let’s find out!
What is Who is Killing the Cheerleaders About?
‘Who is Killing the Cheerleaders?’ follows the intriguing story of Elliette Oliver, who almost gets killed in a series of murders taking place at her high school. Someone had it out for the cheerleading squad, and Ellie soon discovers that many of her fellow cheerleaders had been brutally murdered. She escapes but returns to the same school as a teacher, ten years after the previous murders took place.
In a strange and suspicious turn of events, the murders start occurring again, and a fresh batch of cheerleaders start getting killed. Since Ellie’s arrival at the school has triggered the murders again, it is clear that she is involved somehow. It is up to Ellie to solve the mystery and figure out who the killer is before they come for her again.
Is Who is Killing the Cheerleaders Based on a True Story?
No, ‘Who is Killing the Cheerleaders?’ is not based on a true story. The makers of the film have not mentioned that the events of the movie are even loosely inspired by any real-life events. We did a little digging ourselves while researching this piece to try and see if we can find a real-life case about cheerleaders being murdered by a serial killer. Nothing came up, apart from a fictional novel by Gary Dillman titled ‘The Cheerleader Murders.’ And while there have been real cases of cheerleaders being killed, of course, we were thankfully not able to find any case about a serial killer who specifically targeted cheerleaders.
One of the most infamous cheerleader murder cases is that of Kirsten Costas from June 1984, when one of her classmates – Bernadette Protti – stabbed her five times with a butcher knife. Protti confessed that she was jealous of Costas and initially wanted to befriend her but Costas rejected her proposal of friendship, telling other classmates (brother-sister duo Alex and Mary Jane Arnold) that Protti was “weird”. Kirsten Costas was on the school’s varsity swim team apart from being on the cheerleading squad and used to be quite popular before her death. Her tragic story has been depicted multiple times in different films and TV shows, most recently, Lifetime’s ‘Death of a Cheerleader‘.